An Email From the Middle East

Several years ago I received an email from a woman in the Middle East. She was contacting me to let me know that she enjoyed my bellydance instruction videos. As nice as it was for me to read those words, it was what she said next that really grabbed my heart. She thanked me for the work I’d done to help keep bellydancing alive in the world. She went on to say that in her part of the world, it was becoming increasingly difficult to practice bellydance because of religious opposition. Since she and her fellow countrywomen loved to bellydance, but couldn’t do so openly, she was happy to see it carried on elsewhere.

I was so touched by this woman’s incredible graciousness. Some people in her situation would react with resentment or jealousy – it can be hard to be happy for someone when your own heart is broken.

I wonder how many times religious or political repression has driven bellydance out of certain cultures and geological areas, only to have it seeded in some other far-away place. The “Gypsy” Romani people migrating out of northern India and into the Mid East and Europe is one example, but over the millennia there probably have been very many.

To this very special Middle Eastern woman I say ‘thank you!’ right back. If bellydancers in the West have attained great heights it’s because we stand on the shoulders of giants. Middle Eastern women have carried the torch of this dance for a very long time. With any luck, they will continue to do so, with their other hand holding ours, as we dance this divine dance together, now and forever.                                                                                                 ??

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.