I felt my eyes start to tear up.
It was Saturday night and Jon and I were sitting in the Masonic Hall in Bennington Vermont, at a Meals on Wheels benefit, watching a Belly Dancing performance.
I know what it is that makes me cry watching them. It’s the same thing that held my joyful attention for the two hours they danced.
It’s the strength, beauty, pleasure, and confidence the dancing women exude. It’s the seemingly easy connection between them which is visible in their movements and felt in their energy. It’s the obvious pleasure they take in their bodies, without shame or doubt.
It doesn’t matter that they may not fit into societies “standard of beauty”. They are gorgeous, their bodies are beautiful and powerful and they know it.
Women dressed in flowing skirts, beaded bras, bangles, flowers and tassels. Or with skin tight skirts like a snake’s skin, making their movements look even more fluid.
There is something so primal, so sensual in the way they move. It looks like it feels good. Better than good, it looks like the kind of movement the body was meant to make. Organic and flowing, grounded and joyous. As if the whole body is delighting.
Oh, how I want to do it. And how I know that I have no sense of rhythm, can hardly clap to a beat. How even in the slow movement of yoga class I have to think which is my left and which my right.
I try to mimic the bodies of the dancers when I’m alone in my studio where I don’t have to follow someones lead. Where I don’t have to do it right. I just move, remembering what I saw, what I felt watching them. I’m a snake, a deep rooted tree with my branches catching the winds. I try to feel the fluid sensuality in my hips and groin as I circle them around, the strength in my legs, the rhythm in my feet.
These women own their bodies, they are in charge. And me in the audience, watch in joyous wonder and awe as their moving bodies conjure up something ancient, something the Goddesses knew about the power and beauty of a woman’s body, before we were taught it was something to be ashamed of.