Monday, February 15, 2010

Chapter Six: Allegory

In the last chapter, I discussed how dancing solo is easier and more to my style. Sadly, the romani way is to travel in packs together, but it does not seem as though I will be able to do that. Not because I do not wish too, but because there are no packs to travel with other than my immediate kumpania, who I love. But this does not help me with dance.
Yes, I have had time to think of this over the ridiculous holiday that was yesterday. The Holiday of red and hearts and flowers. A happy time no doubt for someone who has a special person to share it with. I am not begging for a man, however, I simply stating what nearly every person is thinking on this White Day.
When dancing alone (mostly raqs sharqi for me) I find myself free and able to do whatever I want. If I want to dance fast, I do. If I want to move slowly and sensually I do. I so adore ballroom dance, but that requires something I do not have; a partner. Though this is the main point, let me elaborate on another similar subject for a moment.
Dance comes from many traditions and lifestyles. I have spoken in brief about the lifestyles I lead: gothic, romani, and lady-like manners. All of these aid in creating a better me. I know more about ballroom dance than the average person because I studied it for almost 5 years. So hear me when I say what I saw at Louis’ Dance Studio that night was appalling. First, all of the Swingsters are ugly men who, and my best friend agreed with me, are only swing dancing because it’s the only way to touch a pretty girl. Yes, they are very talented but I have to wonder why, in a world of American opportunity they chose to be dancers.
So that’s point one. Secondly, the music they mostly dance to is what they call East Caoast, but really is simply rock music. Excuse my vulgarity here, but they freakin danced to that “boots with fur” song! That is not ball room music. That is my second point; they have lost the true meaning and soul behind that dance. It is a dance of elegance and passion, not sluttyness and lust. But that is all that dance has turned into these days. It is lust. Ballroom used to be a dance of respect between a man and woman. The man would lead and the woman was brave enough to let him lead and he took her on an adventure. It was an allegory for life. It still is, but all modern standards though. It had just evolved into something grotesque. Sex, lust, and dirt passion.
Belly dance has met with these people as well and it will take many of us purist dancers to bring it back to the light. Like ballroom is about a journey between a man and a woman, belly dance can be that as well, or simply a celebration of the voluptuous woman. A praise for the goddess in us all. It is not bawdy and sexual, it is beautiful and sensual. It is pure. It is feminine. We, as female dancers must never dance before an all male audience and we must offer ourselves as something to be bought; no sex for sale. We are strong, beautiful, independent women, who do not yet have a man to take us on our journeys. And that may never be your future. Or maybe you are a belly dancer and you have one man who you love for whom you can dance. Stick to that man and love him with all of your strong feminine passion.
All of my other posts seem ridiculous compared to this one. I am still trying to figure out what this blog is for. So if you are reading, then thank you.
Until the dust settles from your journey, may O’Dell bless you and keep you.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Chapter Five: Dancing Solo

Aysu was standing in the back of the room like she had years ago. The dance studio was a live with music, flashing lights and the beat of the East Coast Swing was familiar and it called to her muscle’s memory. Elhira had asked her to come and dance. It had been years since Aysu stood in the room, the large dance floor lined with mirrors was so familiar. But it wasn’t the same without her brothers there. Once, she and her older brothers had come here every weekend and they were good dancers. She danced for about four years in this style. She had once been good.
But now, here she stood not even remembering the basic step. “Once on the floor, I’ll remember,” she told her best friend Elhira. “Muscles have memory, you know.” She had been so excited about coming and dancing all night and now here she was. No one to dance with. No one good, any way. So she went and began to dance the familiar steps with one of Elhira’s friends. He was just fine. He wasn’t amazingly good, but he knew some stuff.
After almost an hour of beating about the room and bordly dancing with Elhira’s friend,s he stood back and watched, remembering the nights she had stood just like this. Only never for this long. She had three brothers to dance with and now they had all moved on. She was bored, longed to dance like times of old and had no one to do it with.
Finally, she spotted a boy from her acting class who had been something of a stalker a year ago. But she was desperate. She knew he was a great dancer…and so did he. She asked him to dance and they did. It was amazing. He was not attractive at all, but his movements were elaborate and strong; he knew what he was doing and knew that she could follow along. It was like old times as she flew across the dance floor, her arms twisting and her legs stylishly bending and kicking. Her body came a love again.
But it was too short lived. The song ended and she was back to standing and watching. It was like being her old 14 to 18 year old self again’ moody, depressed and hanging back. It was awful. Then Anika, her sister, came up and said, “Let’s go out and belly dance! No one is asking me to dance.”
“Sure,” Aysu thought. “You’ve dance more than me, skinny thing.”
Aysu really did love her sister, but after battling her anorexia for 3 or more years had made Anika something of a given enemy. She was thin and fragile but insisted on dieting all the time and working out. Belly dancing was one way she did this and that angered Aysu.
“Fine,” Aysu said outloud. “But only for a few seconds.” She really didn’t feel like showing her raqs sharqi to hand full of West Coasters on the dance floor. But that didn’t last. Aysu and Anika hit the floor and didn’t stop undulating and swimming through the air until the song ended.
Aysu came off the floor thinking, “This is why I belly dance. I can do it alone.”
Sad, but true. That’s the way it was. Belly dancing was beautiful and feminine and passionate; and you could do it alone. You depended on no one. It was freeing.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chapter Four: Hypocrite!

There is one thing that ties all of the things Aysu was trying to live together. She was trying to live "in the world and not of it", the good life of the cultures she loved (the philosophies of belly dancers), a follower of O'Dell and the gothic lifestyle. That one thing was this "Do not be a hypocrite."
Aysu had so many brothers and sisters growing up and she still had many that she had to be a good example for. She always tried in her own power to be "good" and to "do the right thing" so that the little ones might learn from her. But as you know, that was already difficult.
So some of the rules of wanting to be a real belly dancer (other than knowing the history, studying the roots and knowing the differences of the dances) is to be a lady. To be polite and to know that you really are beautiful and strong. So be a lady.
One of the gothic philosophies is to be honest and accept as much as you can. Alright, so honest might seem easy and maybe it was. Once Aysu started on that path (not that she was dishonest and a liar before) she found she liked it well. Being honest made you sweeter, nicer and made people more comfortable around you and you more comfortable around other people. The harder part for people was the accepting bit. Aysu tried it and found that not judging people and keeping meaner thoughts in her head and not through her mouth was nice as well. She stopped gossiping and simply accepted people. Now some may think that this clashes with O'Dell's teaching to spread the Word, but it doesn't. Once people see that you are not "out to attack and convert them" they are at ease in your presence and will accept you as well. Then you're life will be the Witness. So accepting people is better then judging them.
Finally, the Teachings of O'Dell tell us over and over again not to be a hypocrite. Some of you are reading this and thinking, "yes, only for O'Dell's followers though." Or you may be thinking that you have never been a hypocrite in you're are completely mistaken if you think that.
Everyone has said something is stupid then gone and done it. Or you have told your friends that that TV show is not worth your time and you don't like it and neither should they. Then you finally get to know the show and there you are every Friday, watching it. The worst case is telling people (even your kids) not to lie or cheat or steal. No doubt a parent has had to "tell tales" in the work place or at school. It is the hardest thing to avoid.
In Aysu's sociology class, the teacher showed what a hypocrite he and other psychologist were. It was actually an interesting class and they were discussing "symbolic interactionism." Aysu read the definitions and the talk began.
"So SI really goes back to critical constructionism," she said to her group partners. "Because critical constructionism is the people with money being the people with power who therefore influence the social interactionsim."
The teacher had to agree but then said, "Of course some critical constructionists will disagree with that because..." The rest of what he said faded out as Aysu's thoughts were activated. The teacher had labeled a group of people. "Critical constructionists". So the whole philosophy of not being in groups and having a socialist network really didn't matter? Weren't Sociologists supposed to be more open minded? No groups? Marxists. They all really had names and profiling was supposed to bad. He said so earlier in the class!
So there it is. Hypocrisy is everywhere you look. The biggest is in the media. But that is another post and will be written another time.