Last November 2020 I was invited to give a talk at The Embodiment Conference, a unique online event with more than half million attendees!. My aiming was to share a bit of my experience as a Bellydance Teacher of with Domestic Violence, Refugees and Sexual Abuse survivors.
For almost two years I was the main teacher of the project Bellydance For Joy, created and coordinated by Charlotte Deshorger, a wonderful bellydancer and better woman based in the UK. Then, in early 2020 certain virus made to carry on with the project impossible.
The Embodiment Conference 2020
When I was first approached by Charlotte to participate in the Bellydance For Joy project I felt that it would be a big challenge. These women suffer the consequences of big traumas for life and I didn’t have more than my own experience to help them.
As a trauma survivor myself, I know how difficult it can be sometimes to get out of the comfort of your body language and start moving in a different way. My students of Bellydance With The Moon know this very well.
Not to speak about exposing emotions through dance, emotions that are pretty much always there.
So I felt the responsibility of learning further about trauma (I’m a natural self learner). The first book I got was The Body Keeps The Score, by Dr. Bessel van Der Kolk, which was such a great starting point.
I was very honoured and surprised when I found out that Dr. Van Der Kolk was one of the speakers of The Embodiment Conference 2020, along with Gabor Maté, Peter Levine and Alanis Morrissette, just to mention a very few.
The Embodiment Conference schedule
The schedule of the conference was mental, 10 days, 24 hours of talks about every topic Embodiment related: coaching and therapy, martial and healing arts, meditation and breath work, and of course Dance and Creativity.
I decided to make my talk free and available for everyone for a couple of reasons:
Raising the standards of bellydance:
As you might know if you’ve been following me for a while, I am committed to change the portrayal of bellydance in the world. Bellydance is usually understood as a low quality dance form by fellow dancers. Bellydance is also often related with prostitution in people who just don’t know many things about life (I’m being gentle here).
Just to clarify, I do no have anything against anyone using bellydance as a seduction tool by any means. What I don’t like is the patriarchal portrayal of a woman dancing solely for the pleasure of a man. Bellydance, as many other stuff women do, is much more than a seductive and sexual way of dancing.
Benefit for the women:
As a convinced feminist and after all these years of experience teaching and learning bellydance, and dancing myself (I started back in 2001 as a teacher!), I know about the benefits of Bellydance practise in so may levels: from the personal freedom gained by women to themselves, to the social aspect of bellydance.
I’ve done videos and articles about alleviating menstrual cramps and bellydance for weight loss. There are certainly million more benefits of bellydancing, and the more you practise the more you realise.
So here you have my humble talk about The Potential of Bellydance in Trauma Healing.
I really hope this talk helps loads of people to change their minds about bellydance. Please do share this talk with whoever you think might benefit from it.
And after watching it, I’d love to read your opinion in the comments:
- Has bellydance helped you with a personal struggle?
- Why do you bellydance or want to start bellydancing?
Sending you all the good vibes I can gather at this very moment. I hope you ave a beautiful day.
Thank you so much for sharing. I can happily say belly dance has helped me on my healing journey or birth trauma and connecting to my feminine aspects I have hiddened or felt Shane towards expressing.
Zahida Palma says
Thank you very much for sharing your experience. It always makes me very happy to see the good results of bellydance again and again.
Keep on dancing!! Zahida