I am (not) overly analytical.
People have asked me, in response to my often overly-analytical blog posts, “If you’re so critical of this community, what about it do you like, anyway?”
You know what I like? Actually. No. Let me rephrase that. You know what I LOVE?
I love dancing. I love creating. I love teaching. I love seeing smiles on my students faces when they understand or appreciate a movement, a concept, or idea that I’ve offered them. I love that people appreciate what I appreciate. I love that I can teach a workshop on the history of tribal belly dance and more than 90 people show up because they want to learn. I love that moment when I’m creating a new piece when a segment of choreography falls perfectly into place. I love that flash of inspiration for a costume for a new choreography, and it makes me want to sew all day and night to get it finished.
I get frustrated with the belly dance community because I love this dance. I get frustrated because I see people who profess to love it, too, but they don’t seem to take it seriously. Some think that they can use belly dance as a means to act out fantasies on stage without understanding the dance’s history. I love the history of this dance, and I hope that others feel the same. I get annoyed with people who ooh and aah over dancers who lack technical skill but have beautiful costuming or wonderful music, or over dancers who rely on gimmicks and schtick to increase their popularity… I get annoyed because I and many other dancers insist on dance for dance’s and art’s sake, not for the applause of the crowd or increasing the number of views on our YouTube channels. I get annoyed because I love this dance, and I take it very seriously… and it is only natural to be protective of something you love.
For the record, I wouldn’t be dancing, teaching, or blogging with the dedication and passion that I do if I didn’t love belly dance.
I do not blog about things that bother me out of spite. I do it to educate, to help dancers see things another way, to enlighten, and to work out my own issues. I do it because it scares me; it scares me to click “Publish” every time I post something because I fear that the dissenters will emerge with equal passion. And if they disagree with me, will they tell their friends and, ultimately, will I still get work? Will I still be able to do what I love for a living? But the world doesn’t end when I click the publish button.
This is one of the few things in my life that brings me great joy. It is one of the few things about which I am truly passionate. I wouldn’t have quit my dayjob, knowing I’d make tens of thousands of dollars less a year, sacrificing financial security, a retirement fund, health insurance, life insurance, and paid sick and vacation days if I didn’t love teaching and performing.
And, you know, I love the belly dance community. There are so many of YOU who bring me joy. I love seeing so many of your faces at festivals and workshops. I couldn’t do what I do without you, and you are creative, inspiring, and beautiful.
So, the next time someone posits that I, or anyone else, is just analyzing the love out of their passion, remember that we’re probably analyzing our passion out of our love for it.