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Current Trends in Belly Dance: Goddess Dancing

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: KJ Fitness,Ink • updated: 5/13/2009

Looking for a uniquely feminine exercise for mind, body, and soul? Goddess Dancing may be your thing.

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    Belly Dance for the Soul

    Goddess Dancers often dance in a circle, projecting energy towards each other rather than out to an audience. If you’re looking for a uniquely feminine form of exercise that focuses on mind and spirit in addition to body, then Goddess Dancing may be for you. Goddess Dancing is a style of belly dance that teaches women to love their bodies, embrace their femininity, and learn to move in a way that feels comfortable and empowering. It is both a physical exercise and a psychological exploration of emotions.

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    Belly Dance and the Spiritual Connection

    Traditional belly dance has a religious connection. 6,000 years ago, the dance we now call “belly dance” was being performed as part of a fertility ritual in a polytheistic society. Since many belly dance movements mimic the way a woman contracts her abdomen during childbirth, some researchers theorize that belly dance was originally performed as a way to celebrate the female body and the process of reproduction, venerating a female fertility goddess. As societies across the world moved away from polytheism and towards monotheism, belly dance evolved into a secular folk dance performed by both men and women. Despite losing its religious meaning, the dance has retained its feminine connection, being passed on from mother to daughter to help young women prepare for childbirth.

    Goddess Dance functions on the principle that belly dance can connect women to their spirituality. The goal of Goddess Dancing is to reclaim the celebration of femininity intended by ancient belly dance and to embody what Goddess Dancers call the “Divine Feminine.” This phrase refers simply to loving your womanly body, appreciating the movements you can perform with it, and feeling generally at peace and comfortable with your womanly gifts. While traditional belly dance instruction focuses on using belly dance for performance, Goddess Dance focuses on using belly dance to look within yourself and dance for your own enjoyment.

    If the concept of Goddess Dancing is beginning to sound just a bit too New Age to you, you’re not alone. The idea of finding spirituality through a dance is foreign to most Westerners. But it’s important to note that Goddess Dancing is not a cult or a religion. Goddess Dance practitioners do not think of themselves as literal religious goddesses or queens, but simply as women who embrace everything about themselves that makes them feminine.

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    The Sacred Shapes

    Goddess Dancing uses the concept of the Sacred Shapes to teach belly dance movements. The Sacred Shapes are common symbols from nature including the circle, the figure 8, the crescent, and the undulation (a squiggly line mimicking the movement of a snake). By reproducing these shapes with parts of the body, Goddess Dancing seeks to get women back in touch with the natural energy of the universe.

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    Goddess Archetypes

    Goddess Dance also commonly uses archetypes to aid in meditation and self-discovery during dance. An archetype is simply a symbol, and the archetypes used in Goddess Dance are often very familiar ones including Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena. Goddess Dance will pull from the mythology related to these goddesses to get women to consider their own strengths, emotions, and behaviors.Goddess Dancing uses archetypes for self-exploration. 

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    Is Goddess Dance For You?

    You may enjoy Goddess Dance if

    • You appreciate belly dancers with “real woman” bodies, not highly-toned “gym bodies”
    • You’re looking for a form of low-impact exercise that will focus on using your womanly body in a way that feels comfortable
    • You want to be in an environment where self-esteem and healthy body image are stressed

    You won’t enjoy Goddess Dance if

    • You are uncomfortable with references to Pagan faith
    • You dislike New Age music
    • You think belly dance should only be performed to Middle Eastern music