Qi Gong and Bellydancing

I am amused by the similarities I have discovered between qi gong and bellydancing as they might, at first, seem polar opposites.

Bellydancing is a Middle Eastern dance form that primarily celebrates the female body.  Qi Gong is a Chinese form of health care that harmonizes the mind, body and spirit.  One seems a physical aesthetic while the other seems an esoteric practice.

Many of the moves in bellydancing are used in qi gong such as hip circles, joint isolations, candle arms vs tea cups (balancing tea lights or tea cups in the hands and winding them behind and around the body).  The vibrations from the various shimmies, in bellydancing, are a direct stimulation to the middle and lower dantians, which are key energy sources according to qi gong.

Many of the movements in qi gong are designed to stimulate optimal circulation as well various organs and systems throughout the body.  This often involves twisting, compression, stretching, and specialized mental focus.  Bellydance figure eights and body rolls/waves massage all the body organs and systems.

The mental focus may not be optimal health in bellydancing but the dancer embodies and projects beauty, emotion and light.  The bellydancer celebrates her (or his) body, as do qi gong practitioners.

The similarities are so uncanny that it is amazing to think that the movements in bellydancing evolved merely for their aesthetic and creative appeal.  Or did they?  Perhaps there was some deliberation in the dance towards holistic health?

Apparently, I’m not the only bellydance student who has thought so.  Here’s a Google search of various compliments of bellydancing with qi gong practice: GOOGLE LINK

25 Years of Arabesque Toronto

I want to write this public thank you to Arabesque Dance Academy and Company for allowing me to join their 25th anniversary celebration on Saturday night at the Estonian House.

As a Toronto native, I can remembering watching this dance school growing in the late 80’s.  It’s beginning may have been modest but the endeavour was bold and courageous.  Middle Eastern dance, even when marketed as bellydancing, was relatively unknown in Toronto.  Arabesque, today, is world renown with the awards and accolades to decorate the more important fact that Arabesque has developed an arts program and a professionalism that makes the study of Middle Eastern dance and culture certifiable.

Nice stats aside,though, I was simply happy to see my former instructors get together on the same stage and celebrate their history in Toronto bellydancing.  Struggling to get those moves with them at the helm of the class built a life-long affection for this art and those lovely ladies and, of course, my former classmates.  Hello out there to Mary and Saba!   I wish I had seen Emese!  Yasmina’s performance was amazing.  And she is so sweet and grateful in her success.

They certainly brought out the light and energy of this dance onto that stage in all its shapes, sizes and styles.  A true celebration of the female spirit and body.