Why I Love Belly Dance essay – Honorable Mention


Why I Love Bellydance
– by Yasmin Diab

When most people find out that I am a belly dancer, the reaction is usually the same: “Wow! How cool!” Occasionally, someone will become curious and ask me why I chose belly dancing. The answer is always the same: Because I love it.

But why? There are two main reasons why I love Belly Dance: The music, and the way the dance makes me feel.

I was born into a musical family. I’ve always been a fan of all styles of music. However, there is something about Middle Eastern Music that puzzles and fascinates me, far beyond what Western music ever could. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is, but when I listen to Oum Kalsoum singing “Fakkaroni,” or I hear House of Tarab’s “Violin Solo,” something pulls at my heart and refuses to let go. My very soul wants to dance along to this amazing music. From the beautiful classics of Oum Kalsoum and Farid al Attrache to the fun pop music of Hakim and Sa’ad, and the funky rhythms of Turbo Tabla, I love it all, and it commands me to dance.

I also love Belly Dance because of the way it makes me feel. I’ve not always been a very confident person… I was an outcast in high school, with very few friends. It never really bothered me that much, but I always knew that deep inside of me, there was someone longing for the day that she could burst out! How my spirit longed to be who I really was, instead of just simply existing. When I was introduced to Belly Dance, I found that woman, and freed her from hiding. Over the last 5 years and almost six months, with the help of many wonderful teachers, mentors and friends, I have discovered who I really am: I am a Belly Dancer. When I dance, the real me is able to be front and center. When I dance, I am confident and graceful. I allow the music to flow through me, and I embody the passion of the music, as the notes of the maqam touch my heart. I pour all that I am into my dancing, so that those who watch might catch a glimpse of my soul. When I dance, I feel like I’ve finally figured it all out… and even though I know the feeling won’t last past the end of the dance, for the few brief moments that it does last, it is a beautiful feeling.

My life is more complete because of this dance. It feeds my soul. No matter what is going on in my life or in the world, Belly Dance is constant for me… it alone remains. I have to thank my teachers, Nadia Sahar, Sonya Hohmann, Samantha Fairuz, and Amira for continually encouraging me to continue to give myself to this dance. Your dedication causes me to love this dance more every day. Thank you.