Spiritual Bellydance

Spiritual Bellydance

Nisaa Christie, Anita Teresa by Tasja Keetman

Spiritual Bellydance is a specialization within the larger study of Dancemeditation™. Spiritual Bellydance pursues the interior root of this versatile, ancient, evolving, nature-connected dance’s subtle isolations and trance-y rhythmic substrata. Two design themes–Vibration, which is made of straight lines, and Undulation, which is curvilinear–offer our body a way of exploring the nature and structure of this art form originating in the Middle East

Vibration & Undulation

Vibration explorations include:
~ Rocking activates isolations, a key theme in belly dance. Each part of our body has its own voice and we strive to let each part speak. This might mean, for example, unhooking the shoulder from the ribcage so each can articulate distinctly. Rocking gently shakes these often frozen body parts loose, freeing them.
~ Fragmentation sounds bad but it’s good. We divide and subdivide large sweeps of motion, feeling the pieces making up the movement’s whole.
~ Rhythmic Breathing facilitates micromotion. Vibration (sometimes called shimmy) is a micromotion—a small motion repeated quickly until it turns into a large idea. We rest our breath and movement on rhythmic music.
~ Breaking Breath Applying the idea of fragmentation to a single breath, we divide our inhale or exhale into three or four percussive stages. Breaking inhalations give a surge of energy and breaking inhalations cleanse. This pattern comes from drumming & rhythm.

Undulation explorations include:
~ Ornamental Movement invites Subtlety. It invites Infinity. In Western terms we see ornament as an added furbelow decorating a driving underlying path. By contrast, in Eastern art the underlying path is incidental while the complex unfolding of arabesques are the power of the design. Ornament in this orientation concerns finding what is ‘in between’ and ‘inside’, and is a way of delving deep into the present. By drawing curves body parts–hands and arms, hips, shoulders, and sternum–we’ll mark the canvas of space and time. We’ll break these movements in half or into pieces to reveal new movements; again we have micromotion. Micromotion requires detailed focus; it cultivates subtle sensation and subtle seeing.
~ Fascia Awareness. Our fascia are curvilinear, never-ending body structures. They are naturally undulatory. The body’s Spiral Line is what makes Figure 8 movements happen.
~ Non-Rhythmic Breath be a larger sweep, it can suspend. It fits with traditional musical taksim (solo improvisation) that has no drumming. Think of the ney (Middle Eastern flute) or a singer. The musician winds and stretches the melody line, in long sweeps of surge and ululation. We’ll find our breath in the same way, letting our dance come from this breath.

Alembic Performance ~ Kate Russel, Nissa Christie, Anita Teresa

Mysticism in the Veil

The veil is a ‘feeler’, connecting the body to space. With focus on imagery and motifs, it becomes a powerful tool for integrating personal story. Attention to on tempo, design, and sensation opens mystical states.

Suya Jane Schmidt, veil meditation at the Mill in Hudson, NY

Layers & Momentum

After listening to specifics areas of our bodies, we work with layering the distinct voices, very different from our bodies being in frozen lumps; this is harmony and conversation within our own frame. Momentum comes from following our body’s intuition. The groundwork of micromotion, breathing, and repetition come together and take us to deepening states of consciousness.

Dunya, film still from 'Dances of Ecstasy'

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