Our dance is changing and there’s nothing we can do about it. Whether it changes the way you like it or not we have to go with the flow and change with it. Sometimes when I see the changes I want to scream and yell, “What was wrong with the old ways”? But there are new dancers who bring with them a new sense of style and a new modern vision of how they want belly dance to be.
I like this but because I am an old fart in this dance, well I would of liked them to ask me first! Yeah, right but there’s a part of me that wishes the changes in our dance were more subtle. I think when you put in so many years training to be your best it is disconcerting when a dancer who has been dancing only a fraction of your years makes it big and brings with her “change”.
Sometimes I feel like where the Hell have I been all these years and was my head in the sand for too long? I remember I asked a belly dance magazine editor about what it takes to be on the cover of her magazine. She told me you have to make a difference in your community and have enough years of experience under your belt. So I’ve been dancing for over 24 years now and have done charity events, benefits, put on benefits etc. I was wondering is this not enough?
The next cover of her magazine that I saw kind of blew me away because she had a dancer on the cover who had been dancing fraction of the years than most of my contemporaries. Oh alright……..maybe I was a little jealous but I was also a bit perturbed. Maybe there are many dancers………let me rephrase this there are many dancers like me out there who have worked in their communities for years and aren’t recognized for their contributions. Don’t feel too sorry for me because “The Chronicles” belly dance magazine has put my photo on their cover twice. And Jareeda even put me on their back page.
Down the line when you been dancing as long as I have there comes a point in time when you say, “Have I made it”? I don’t know and to tell you the truth I may never know because my dance is a work in progress. But it finally donned on me that I have to make the changes I want to see. So does getting on the cover of a belly dance magazine make a difference……..you bet it does!
It doesn’t mean you have arrived, it means that you are appreciated. There’s no belly dance law that says if you have been dancing less years and are the end all in belly dance that you can’t be on a cover of a magazine. It’s just there are so many dancers who are hidden for one reason or another but who are their communities power houses.
But I am wondering with this new renaissance of today if the new dancers want older dancers like myself out of the way? Sometimes I don’t see the same appreciation that I gave my former teachers in some of my new students of today. I would never of thought of being late or not showing up at all with no phone call. As a matter of fact I had one student who had family issues that she would talk to me about.
A few months later she was at a show that I was dancing at and she was talking during my performance. I put my finger to my mouth and insinuated for her to be quiet but I did it with a smile on my face. Also after the show I was teasing her about not returning my phone calls (which she didn’t) but I did it in a humorous fashion. The next day I got a phone call with her yelling at me. I thought it was funny myself and told her it was her issue and that I was putting it back on her lap. She’s gone now but I wonder if this is the new renaissance happening today?
I just recently had another student not show up for class or return phone calls. Is this also the new Renaissance? The issues with the students in the past 5 years has been the same just different faces. What is our future in belly dance if some of the dancers and students of today have no etiquette? From where I stand it doesn’t look good but than this is why I am still here. And this is why I don’t just linger in my dance anymore, I am making a way into a new Renaissance of my choosing. I stand for what I feel is important in dance. And my job is to make sure that each student that I am coaching understands her dance. It’s obvious that sometimes I hit home runs and other times I strike out with my students. But in the end because I am apart of this new renaissance than I’m going to make sure that dancers remember the old ways as they create their own unique path. And instead of my (you know what) up in the air I’ve got my head out of the sand. New Renaissance here I come!