I’ve been an Orlando/Kissimmee area Belly Dancer and owner of Asada Belly Dance since 2011, but have been belly dancing a lot longer. In those many many years I’ve heard a lot of comments and critiques about dancers’ appearance, both good and bad. As an entertainer I can’t, and don’t, let any of it bother me. After my first of two right hemi-colectomies I really became self conscious and started fearing what the audience and other dancers would say about me.
Eew! What is that? Is that a tattoo? These are some of the few things I’ve heard while in costume. You know what? It doesn’t matter, and it doesn’t bother me. After my first performance post surgery I realized that the audience didn’t even notice. No one cared, and still don’t. The audience only wants to be entertained, and want to have fun.
These comments that I feared so much came from very small children. The same children who don’t have a problem calling a pregnant women fat because they don’t know any better. The comments were more cute than hurtful. I simply smiled and explained what “that” is. The children would smile back and say “Okay”.
I also feared what other dancers who didn’t know me would say. Would they wonder why I didn’t cover up that hideous scar? Would the scar further take away from the stereotype Belly Dancer look, that I already don’t fit? I quickly put that fear to rest. Dancers don’t mind the scar, at least they don’t tell me they do. And that’s ok.
I was trained at the World of Middle Eastern Dance in Orlando, a school that my director Azizi directed since the 1970’s. I remember her saying that it takes decades to truly become a master of the art. I agree. I also believe that it is the struggles and life experiences that help shape a dancers body and personality that is used to create the dance. What I love about the Belly Dance community is that most dancers agree with this statement. Because of this understanding I’ve never had a dancer critique or comment about my scar negatively. I’ve found that many dancers have scars of their own; most not as obvious as mine.
I am so thankful for my new found sisters in dance. I get to share my Asada Belly Dance journey with so many amazing women (and men) who share their journey’s with me. So revealing my belly buddy is no longer a challenge.
Dancers, do you dance with scars like I do? Do you hide them or do you reveal them when dancing? I used to hide mine with lots of beads and pretty dangly things, but I don’t any more. Dance was a huge part of my healing so I don’t have a problem displaying the caterpillar like scar that has emerged itself into what used to be my belly button. Now I get to focus on my new journey as a Kissimmee Belly Dancer. Follow my journey at http://www.asadabellydance.com