What Belly Dancing Means to Me
By Eva Cernik
It is as ancient as human bodies, as ancient as real music. As long as people have moved their bodies with pure submission to music that emerges from the soul, a very natural dance appeared, and that is the "belly dance".
Coming from the belly implies the source of life-both from the wombs of mothers and from the Hara.
Though this dance is complete and beautiful only when it comes from the balance of body, emotion and intelligence, it is named after the body because that is what we most easily see and can identify.
I can even go so far as to say that the dance exists apart from music, because movement in silence is also beautiful. And, in a very esoteric way, I can step further back and say that it exists apart from the body. The natural pathways of movement exist as geometry exists apart from building materials. As we learn to dance, we synchronize with these natural pathways. We plug into natural laws; we remove clumsy blocks in our bodies.
Here is a translation of a poem that I wrote in Spanish while riding the ferry across the English Channel:
Look at the birds in the wind
But how is it that they all fly so the same?
They each follow the laws of the wind and of God,
And they have well studied them, practiced, and adored them.
That is the natural "belly dance". We are the birds, the music is the wind, and the laws of God are the laws of nature.
If the music is modern Egyptian, we respond to look like Nagwa or Soheir. If the music is "primitive", we may look Nubian or "tribal". If it is pharaonic, we may look like the temple paintings. If it is Spanish or Indian we may use our hands and feet more. If it is silence, we may move imperceptibly or we may be statues in magnificent poses.
"Belly dance gives birth to all dance: it comes from the source of life, it demonstrates the creation of life, it is an embodiment of the soul."
Eva is a much sought after performer and workshop instructor