Gilded Serpent presents...
Happy To Be Me:

Dancing Without Shame--
Recognizing Beauty & Potential Within

by Nisaa Elon

I have always loved to dance!  Music and movements free and revitalize my creative spirit, and they alleviate me from stress of my day.  Trying Belly dancing is one experience for which I am thankful that I gave myself permission --because within Belly dance, no inherent limitations about size, shape, age, etc. govern or control one.  Belly dancing can strengthen your mind, as well as your body and soul. 

I don't worry about comparing myself to others. 

Instead, I spend my energy educating myself about the different styles and techniques of Belly dance, and I stretch my boundaries to derive unique performances through innovative presentations.  Dancers with more experience than I inspire me to continue in my studies by observing their growth.  They give me hope that, in time, I can achieve whatever goals I desire also, --even though I know that it won't happen over night.

Some people may look at me as a dancer and ask themselves how I can dance in public being the ample size that I am, or perhaps they might wonder why I don't feel some need to be covered by costuming from head to toe.  All my life I have been sliding between various sizes.

The one thing that remained the same throughout was that I love myself for who I am.  How I might be described on the exterior is only a small part of my self, and I consider myself a work of art in progress. 

Just because I grow older, there is no reason why I shouldn't dance -as long as my body is still strong enough to do so.  Likewise, whether my size is a four or twenty-four, why shouldn't I be able to enjoy the benefits and pleasure I derive from Belly dancing?  Certainly, I should not excuse myself just to satisfy somebody else's issues!  (Whose life is this anyway?)  Undoubtedly, someone will comment that I'm not small enough, tall enough, or good enough for his special approval.  It's not about what's good enough for that disapproving person; it's about what's good for me

In my way of thinking, dancing is about having fun.  Therefore, if I'm having a good time dancing, why would I worry about the criticisms of "nay" say-ers?  I have decided to be happy with who I am --wherever I am in my journey of life-and, Baby, I am enjoying the ride!

I believe in promoting the positive aspect of belly dancing:  the fun, the self-empowerment, as well as the health benefits that it offers.

Moreover, I have found living healthy is more important than looking "fit," and, let's face this fact: what's considered the typical American idealization of a Belly dancer's appearance is not necessarily the perception of beauty in the countries from which this dance originated.  Additionally, not all audiences appreciate the same attributes in dancers.  So "Vive la difference!" 

Variety is the spice of life and we must celebrate and appreciate the diverse selection of dancers.  By doing so, we glorify all womankind and the truth that all women are beautiful -each in her own way.

My sincere hope is that we each find the strength to free ourselves from old stereotypes, prejudices, excuses, and self-deprivation.  Wouldn't it be a miracle if we women all began to embrace, encourage, and support everyone who has found the courage to express herself in this positive way?  In an esoteric sense, we are all sister in the dance and there is no real competition when a dancer expresses through her own style of dance.  From my vantage point, no matter wherever one might fall on the skill level, height chart, weight scale, or complexion range; whether one has blemishes, scars, tattoos, piercings, or freckles, I hope that the main thing you see when I dance, is:

I’m so happy to be me.

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Check the "Letters to the Editor" for other possible viewpoints!

Ready for more?
3-22-05 Rakkasah Democracy Skips First Amendment! Report by Lynette, Editor
The second call, a few minutes later, warned me not to come to Rakkasah at all.

3-16-05 About my teacher Magana Baptiste by Horacio Cifuentes
At the time when her husband placed second in the Mr. America body building contest, and mind you, these were the days when body builders took no steroids and were true examples of healthy humans, Magana placed first runner up in the Miss USA beauty competition held in Los Angeles in 1951.

3-9-05 Tatseena's Fantasy Festival October 16-17, 2004, photos and text by Amy Luna Manderino
The Festival lived up to it's name, with two days of creative and innovative dance that broke the mold and showed the versatility of American Bellydance.

3-6-05 The Folk Tours Dance & Music Camp Review by Piper (and baby pics too!) Photos by Carl Miller, May 2004
Once upon a time, in far away lands, I performed five shows a night, seven nights a week to great live music. I don’t miss the wily club owners, late nights, or cigarette smoke, but I do miss the music.

3-3-05 The BDSS Experience and Miles Copeland; Doing What He Does Best by Sausan
Even though Miles Copeland’s vision is similar to that of mine and the majority of belly dancers I have canvassed in my lifetime, he and I differ in our mission approach to elevating the dance, and this is where the discussion became a heated debate


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