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Ask The Gypsy

Questions and Answers: Topics:

If you have a question or an answer to these Bellydance topics, send it to Email and we will post it for you. Thanks. Penny

QUESTION:Christian Belly Dancers?:

September 2008: I’m so glad I found this link.  I’ve been taking classes for almost 3 years and dancing in a local troupe since April and I’m the only Christian in the group.  I sometimes feel alone and have considered quitting because of it.  But I’m just celebrating the body God gave me.  I cover up most of my body, as I’m overweight and self-conscious, and don’t wear outfits that are too revealing.  Most everyone at my church knows that I dance and even my preacher’s wife has shown interest in taking classes.  Thank you for posting this-it’s helped me so much! -- Melinda H. - Salisbury, NC


July 2008:
Dear Penny,
Thank you for your article on your questions & answers page about christian belly dancing. I am a belly dancing instructor who has been a born again believer for 20 years and like these other women do quite often feel
isolated as we seem to be the minority faith in our dance circles.
would it be possible to pass on my email adress to the others who also are
christian dancers on your web site? If you could that would be great.
Once again thank you so much, Love Deniz

"I noticed that there are a great many varieties of spirituality endorsed by dancers, and I too wish to dance out of that "place"..however, I am a Christian and I was wondering if I am the ONLY christian belly dancer in the world! I feel so alone at times, and worry that I have to hide my faith in the presence of other dancers who dance out of a belief system that perhaps would not regularly be 'on the same page' with me, as a person as well as a dancer. I was hoping someone would email me back with some feedback..." Renee Norwood

ANSWER: Hi there! I have just come across your Q&A page for the first time, though I have been to your site numerous times. How long has it been there? (All the time! - penny). It is a really great resource. (thanks!)

I am not sure how old the question is, but I saw it had no answer and wanted to write to the woman who wondered if she was the only Christian bellydancer out there. NO WAY! :) There are plenty of Christian dancers, though I understand her feelings of being verY isolated sometimes among all the many belief systems that seem to be closely linked to bellydance (eg. Goddess dancing, pagan ritual dancing, etc)

Please let your writer know that any person, no matter what faith, should never be ashamed or feel they have to hide their religion from others. Your faith should be something you are proud of and celebrate, even if (and maybe even *especially if*) it makes you somehow different from others you may know. I know as a Christian it is really hard to fight the stereotypes surrounding organized religion, but I think that by not being afraid to be open and honest about our faith, others will see that Christians are everyday people with the same passions, joys, pains, struggles, questions, and open hearts as the next guy or gal.

Thanks to NOT being afraid to talk about my faith, I have had the opportunity to meet other Christians who also bellydance. Some of them have found ways to incorporate their dancing into a liturigcal context, and have danced at their churches in worship. I think that is amazingly inspirational, and maybe something this woman might want to look into. Dancing is an expression of our deepest self, so why shouldn't we also be able to dance from a spiritual place within ourselves as freely as some of the other women of differing belief systems?

Even if she never decides to dance, or has the opportunity to dance, in her church or other religious setting, just knowing that she can be herself will go a long way toward opening her Christian heart and soul within the dance in ways you may not have known were possible. May everyone be able to dance from "that place" within themselves.

Much love, Sharon Moore, Mandala Tribal (carrying Kamikaze Costumes).


09/05: Renee -- I am Christian too and understand what you're talking about. I like to think when I dance I am celebrating the body God gave me. I was really cool to read your comment and thank you for posting it because it's the first time I actually hear from another woman just like me, it's good to feel I'm not alone.
-Claudia, NYC



04/07 -- I know this is a older topic, but I think it's a good topic and I wanted to add my two cents. I think alot has to do with your church, I used to go to a southern baptist church and ALL dancing was considered a "no no". However at the church I attend now I actually got to witness the use of bellydance used during a church event. It was a recreation of Bethlehem, with what would of been sights, sounds, smells, etc. They had a group with a couple of muscians and a girl dancing a belly dance type of dance. She was more modestly dressed as well as her movements were a bit tamer, but none the less, she was in fact "bellydancing" So there a christian dancer, using her skills at church! Just thought I'd share. - Christina Castellaos


05/08: Thank God I found this message. After spending the day with many bellydancers and discovering I was the only Christian in the group, it was nice to look up Christian Bellydancers and find this message, even if it is quite old!  I’m not only a bellydancer, but an instructor of bellydance.  Until I began teaching, I was evidently so involved in my dance techniques, that it didn’t occur to me that so many people around me were pagan, wiccan, atheist, etc. It’s odd to find myself in this environment, and never thought of bellydance as a non-Christian thing to do.  At any rate, I approach it as I do everything in my life…. I believe in God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and I believe that He loves to see His children enjoying the arts and beauty the He gave us---you are not the only Christian Bellydancer, and surely there are many that just haven’t responded to the post! -- Christie Hill

06/08 - I am a born again Christian and I bellydance to the best of what my knees let me do.  My husband recently became saved due to the ministering of Pentecostal men and so I had to leave my Baptist church to join him at the Pentecostal Church.  When we became members, I told them right up front that I danced and was going to continue dancing.  Do I wear revealing costumes??  Mercy No!!  I'm 63 years old!!  But I do on occasion wear one of those flesh colored belly girdles.  It reduces the jiggles in the wrong places.  I reconciled myself to the notion of dancing when I thought about the women in Jesus' time, who probably drummed out beats while they were washing clothes and other women would dance.  I love the imagery of it.  Praise God and dance on!!!!  Do ALL to the glory of God!! -- Linda S.

TOPIC:

Christianity,

Spirituality,

and

Belly Dance.

"Dearest gypsy,

Is the use of light important in belly dance performances? Is it used in a specific way? Hope to hear from you soon, Thank you." - - Aretousa.

Any replies or opinions out there?

TOPIC:
Using Light in bellydance Performance

"Are belly dancers Jewish or Arabian? If both, have they any difference in their clothing and dancing? Thanks."

Love and Light -- Militza

Any Comments from visitors????

TOPIC:
Jewish or Arabian or both?

Hello!

I have recently started classes in Oriental dance, and was wondering where I might find information on the variations and thier origins...There seems to be many many styles and intrepretations, is there any book or site or other resource you could recommend? Any information would be helpful.

Thank you! Li Raven


I recommend The Belly Dance Book: Rediscovering the Oldest Dance
Edited by Tazz Richards (Penny)

TOPIC:
Styles of Bellydance and Origins?

Any books?

"Hi!

I have a historical question that's been bothering me. In the Bible, the 150th Psalm describes the various instruments with wehich we are called upon to praise God. One of those is listed as "high sounding cymbals."

Now keeping in mind the fact that the Bible was written in the Middle East, musical instruments in that area so different from those in the west, would those "high sounding cymbals" in fact be zills? I have a pair of zills, as a wannabe belly dancer (for my gentleman friend's eyes only), and I was wondering if I would have a Biblical basis for using them in church.

It has already been established that the timbrel referred to in the same passage was a tambourine, and of course the "loud cymbals" speak for themselves. But if you could help me find an answer to my question, and give me the historical references you used in case there is any question pro or con, I would greatly appreciate it."

--- Pamella Sarolle


REPLY:

I believe there are references in the bible to cymbals (and gongs) and to the precursors of the finger cymbals, the 'sistrum,' which served as an ancient instrument for the guy we might now label the 'Town Crier.' There are probably books that have biblical references for items listed in alphabetical order...if there's not, there SHOULD be! -- Marta

TOPIC:
Zills in the Bible, high sounding cymbals??

QUESTION: There's this friend of mine who's been nagging me about this arabic movie, an old B&W arabic flick that looks (mind you, with what I know of arabic, looks are pretty much all I can tell you about) like some parody of a secret agent movie. From what I can guess of the plot, a gang of thieves plots to steal a fortune in gems from the safe-deposit box of a visiting Rajah. An honest guy is somehow sucked up into the intrigue, but is dragooned into working with the thieves by the police who hope to catch the theives in the act. That requires, however that the poor guy steals the key himself. In the pivotal scene, our hero and this beautiful blonde who's in the plot, barge into the suite of the visiting Rajah and put on a bellydance & song act, secreting away the key while the King is distracted. The comic irony is that the blonde is supposed to distract the king while our hero snatches the key - but our hero (who wears a veil and a none-too-flattering dress) gets more attention than his comelier co-conspirator. My boyfriend caught this movie on his local arabic channel and knows nothing about the stars - especially the one who played the dancer or the title of the movie. While I'd be happy to know the star's name, my real quest is to find out the lyrics of the song they sing as they dance. My guess is that they spell out their plans as they sing - it would make sense if their audience were foreigners, they could sing out loud without fear of capture. Anyway, any information you can think of would be appreciated. I'm sure the movie is obscure, but it's worth a look - most of the time you've got dancing in movies or on TV, the dancing is pretty substandard, but it's great in that flick. - - Diana Berger

TOPIC:
Arabic Movie with Belly Dancing.

Thank you so much for your website! I am a bellydancer in Tucson, Arizona and recently welcomed a Royal Python into my family. Her name is Cinda and she is wonderful. Your tips for dancing with snakes made me aware of many things and I'm sure will make both Cinda and I better dancers. Please let me know if you have any more information on snake dancing, as Cinda is my first snake.

Truly, Julie Ragland, Tucson


Go to Snake Dancing for more info. We welcome your input if you have more data on snake dancers for us. Thanks. Penny.

TOPIC:
Snake Dancing

Penny - Do you know where I can find a mechanical snake? --- Najah

Any suggestions, readers??

TOPIC:
Mechanical Snake???

Hi, I love your site; it's very informative!

I'm 21 years old, and have been bellydancing for several months. I had surgery to remove my colon almost a year ago, and I now have a very big scar right down my middle. It's 8 inches long -- starts above my navel and goes down to my pubic bone.

I love how dancing makes me feel. After months of being ill and depressed, dancing makes me feel sensual and pretty again. And it's really helping me to get back in shape.

One of these days, I'd like to try dancing professionally, but I'm afraid my scars would be distracting. Do I have any options? Do you ever see dancers who are scarred up?

Thanks, Jamie



ANSWER:

Hi, Jamie. There are lots of costumes that have a sheer material to cover the midsection for bellydancers who don't want to be exposed. If you are self conscious, perhaps the right costuming would make you feel more secure.

Sincerely, Penny

TOPIC:
Scars on the body.


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Some of you may be aware that I have been doing lots of Art and Art related projects over the past few years. In fact, I now sign my name Penny Lee StewArt!

Penny Lee StewArt
aka The Pink Gypsy

 

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