Does it feel good? And if not, are there any benefits to doing it?
I was lucky enough to perform Shakira’s first live show in London after the release of the ‘Cinderella’ album in the summer of 1994—and the results were a real shock. When you listen to the video (and don’t forget the video here), one thing is very clear: Shakira’s belly-dancing (and singing) is much more of a dance than a chore, which is a great sign for the way she performs.
Before she was dancing with such confidence in her belly, it was the typical dance of a typical dancer—dancers generally have a rhythm, a flow, and a set of movements that they love to keep coming back to over and over again. In fact, all dance is a chore. And dancers may never stop dancing; at times they will perform a move so hard that you don’t notice their limbs (unless there’s a good reason for a routine!), and then they begin performing another more difficult one again the next round.
So what’s so interesting about belly dancing in general, and what might appeal to many dancers?
What makes a dance such a chore? A dancer needs to have a strong will and determination. It is not sufficient that they simply perform an easy move and come back the next round. If a dancer is going to continue dancing, they have to try something totally new. And what happens? They have to move faster—and faster—and faster. The most difficult choreography I’ve ever seen, and which many dancers will tell you is hard to do well, involves a ballet dancer moving around a small circle of her hands, then she swings one of the hands around an open circle and keeps spinning with it: you can imagine the dancers’ heads in a state of perpetual motion. This is a lot easier to do in a belly dance.
A dance needs a powerful rhythm and rhythm is achieved by the rhythm of the body. To be a great dancer is to move a whole lot—not just move one single body part! (I will now give you some pointers on that.) A dancer needs to know she can dance with the entire body, be able to move up and down, sideways and sideways. That’s where the dancer comes in and she does it with the rest of her body. She does the same moves in reverse (e.g., a dancer that has a back to front movement, then moves forward, then back
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