Saturday, November 20, 2010

AEDM Day #20

Ok, so my Art Everyday Challenge has turned into Art Every Several Days Challenge but I just splurged on a new laptop so it is my intent to blog more often now that I'm no longer confined to my spare room. So it's Saturday at 1:00pm and I have not created any art as of my last post. I did however venture out to Kaarma Last night for Indian food and to watch my belly dance teacher, Shannon, and the Pepper Lotus Tribal Dance Troupe perform. One word...exquisite.

Dancing is one of my favorite art forms and I have been involved in dance of some form all my life. My mom has always loved to dance and still does. She used to dance with my friends and I in our living room and teach us some of her favorite moves. I started at nine years old taking tap and jazz, later getting involved in ballet, admittedly predominantly for the shoes. I spent fifteen years with the same teacher and during that time, joined her local dance company. I was involved in that for several years and during my last six months in that area, I substitute taught dance to children for her school. It was extremely rewarding. And I suspect it's much easier to teach children who are doing something they love to do.

So when I moved to State College, there was a little bit of a hole in my life where dance used to be. Sure we'd go out and dance but it wasn't quite the same. Three years ago when I was going through a divorce, I decided it was more important than ever to bring dance back into my life. I started taking salsa and tango lessons from the Penn State Ballroom Dance Club and met so many amazing people, from all over the world, who are now my friends. We became a little family for a while. It was an amazing time in my life. We still keep in touch but most have moved on. Which is something that always happens living in a college town. It's very transient. Thank goodness for Facebook so I can keep track of them.

So for three years, salsa has been a staple and I love it. It's energizing, sexy, and just plain great fun. It's simply not possible to be crabby while salsa dancing. I loved tango too but I left that behind for a while. It may make a comeback. But let's bring it back around to my latest dance fascination, belly dancing.

I've been curious about it for some time. I wouldn't say I'm overly girly but I definitely love plenty of girly things. I truly do not mean to oversimplify it's meaning or cultural history, but for me, belly dancing was one of those art forms that had it all, sensuality, beauty, and costumes that jingle and sparkle. I think I was a crow in a former life. I also found that it was a dance form that women often did together and I loved that. In salsa, an opposite-sex partner is pretty much a requirement but in belly dancing, you can be alone or in a group. It's very empowering and great for bonding with other women. I've only had two formal classes in my friend's yoga studio but I've already been bitten by the belly dancing bug. I have to admit, as my friend Jen put it last night, it appears deceptively simple in it's beauty. We purchased finger cymbals (zils) and started to practice. I can walk and use them, but I cannot turn my wrists, walk and use them...yet. Such is life. Sometimes things seem deceptively simple but they require a little more effort than we previously believed. And that is good. It's good for us to be challenged.

So here's a little homework if you so choose, find a new art form that empowers you. Try several in fact. I like to have some that challenge me to practice and gain competency through experience and others I love because I can let my mind wander as shapes and colors pour out of my pencils and paints. Most importantly of course, have fun and let me know what you come up with. Maybe I'll give them a try myself :-)


  1. That photo is fabulous. It really jumped out in my RSS feed. I had to click to see what it was all about. Maybe I'd have stuck with belly dancing if I would have bought some cuter outfits!

  2. Very powerful photograph. Great clarity and color

  3. That's so funny and interesting that the photo was what caught your eye. I was searching in some free stock photography for a belly dancer but none spoke to me. So I just took out my skirt and my zils and put them on my couch pillow and took a photo with my iphone. I was pretty pleased with it too. I'm glad you both liked it. Thanks for the comments :-)


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