Through and with tears, laughter, sadness and joy I shall dance.

I am still dancing. All my blogs start with how challenging life is this year.  This year is sad and challenging and it is not stopping any time soon.  What I am learning is that in order to be a whole person  and cope with life’s challenges and events we all need an activity in our life that makes you feel good. Something that connects your heart your brain and your body, an activity for body and soul.  So I am dancing. I am dancing a lot.

Sitting at home from work waiting is not best way to heal yourself.  My way of resolving concerns is usually by taking control and sorting stuff out.  But I have found myself in a position that I am waiting for other folk to sort stuff out and it is most frustrating. However it has given me some time to breathe and to reflect, and indeed dance. I am dancing to be still!

So in order to sit still I have danced!  When I booked onto Gypsy Caravan Tribal Bellydance® Collective Souls Two and Three I was anticipating that my life would have moved on and improved. But this year continues to have been a challenge and I never realised how dancing would save my soul and keep me on track.

So starting a new year in January  it was time to get to grips with learning a whole new dance vocabulary. When I took Collective Soul One I had done some tribal but really had neither technique nor real understanding of what Gypsy Caravan Tribal Bellydance® was all about. Discovering that it was about sisterhood and being part of a tribe that celebrated the feminine really connected with me. I have danced all my life and the connection it has always given me to women has always been part of my life. Some of my best friends have been belly dancers!

Gypsy Caravan Tribal Bellydance® felt like coming home for me this year.  In studying Egyptian belly dance I wanted something that I could connect and create with and that felt true to me.  When I no longer felt the passion I once had I needed to seek something new. I still love Egyptian dance but I could not connect with it as a woman who dances. It somehow did not fit my body my life or describe my  world anymore I needed something else.

Firstly when I discovered with Gypsy Caravan Tribal Bellydance®  I found myself getting to grips with new technique  and getting really excited about a new  dance language to learn. Copying DVDs and attending workshops where I could I started to get to grips with new ways of dancing. I had to re train my body to relearn  moves properly and I would unpick steps and then slowly drill the step back together again. What I have learnt this year is that as a mostly self-taught belly dancer I have good skills in self-critique and a careful eye for detail!

A long the way I have started to make connections with other dancers who are on this journey. With  this  dance you start  dancing  in a circle  and start connecting with each other. Some of these lovely women let me dress up and dance with them too! I watched other dancers , and shared lovely dance memories this past year. I have had dance fun, joy and laughter.

Dressing up in a new way is important for me too. I am still that little girl who turns circles in a big skirt. I really like enjoying a new aesthetic and finding beauty as a more mature woman in different fabrics, different shapes and styles. It is a new adventure into bangles and beads and celebration of feeling beautiful.

Collective Soul. Says it in the title. You can’t connect through copying DVDs . Four days in Wales to really focus on this new dance I had discovered. What a gift. I really like being pushed and challenged. Deirdre Macdonald as our instructor, teacher , and collective soul leader  offered and gave me all that I sought. She patiently corrected, described explained and demonstrated the dance. She also created an atmosphere that was safe to develop as dancers, and indeed develop as women.  I want my body and brain to come together and to aspire to be the best dancer I can be. I am also really aware that as I have no ongoing teacher I have to grab every dance moment I can. I am so thankful that Deirdre gave me the information the tools and the setting to start to make this happen for me.  This was it. The dance moment. It all came together for me. That being present. Dancing in the moment. The coming together with other dance sisters and being able with this improvised dance style to create in the moment in time. I got it. I got the rhythms, the grooves, the steps ,  I got this tribal spirit.

As a dancer and a teacher of dance I have always wanted to dance to empower and make all women feel good. As a performer I have always wanted to connect with my audience telling a story, and making an emotional connection.  I was also  trying with my dance knowledge across belly dance styles to discover something that western women could connect to.  I have always attempted to create dance spaces that felt like all women were welcome, with no place for the diva and where all women could shine brightly. To continue as a teacher with honesty and integrity I knew I had to sign up for Paulette Rees Denis’  Gypsy Caravan Tribal Bellydance® teacher training.  I am flicking through my book of notes from this course. Details of moves broken down, to  personal critiques from Paulette to deep detailed notes about why I dance , why I teach.  I have added to my big bag of dance teaching skills and knowledge with new gems , new crystals to share and help folk shine.

So here I am one year on. I now have Collective Soul One, Two and Three certificates to demonstrate my commitment and competency to this dance. I also have my Teacher Training Level 1 Gypsy Caravan Tribal Bellydance® which again demonstrates my capability and competency to not only dance but to teach safely and with the right attitude and spirit. As I write this I am smiling. In a year of adversity I have found some shiny glimmers of hope in my dance .

Gypsy Caravan Tribal Bellydance®  makes me present, make me dance in the moment in time . It gives not only respite from such a harsh world but also makes me find perhaps an easier way forward.   The more I delve deeper I realise the honourable and respectful connections to dance from ancient women, from female history and from across the world.   Moves ,shapes steps, feelings and patterns that connect women. It feels good and feels very exciting.

Through and with tears, laughter , sadness and joy I shall dance.