expiration date?

Suzanne Azhaar

New member
Dance as long as it brings your heart joy. Dance as long as your body allows you to. Then smile, because you did, and your heart still does.
 

Bellydance Oz

New member
Dance as long as it brings your heart joy. Dance as long as your body allows you to. Then smile, because you did, and your heart still does.
Yup, this is the mantra of the belly dance community. Don't worry if you look like a drag queen, don't worry if people are making patronising comments about you, don't worry if the kids think you're a figure of fun. Perhaps you'd say I shouldn't care what people say about me, I wish I could do that, but maybe I'm too vain.
 
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Shanazel

Super Moderator
Oz, you're missing the point of the belly dancer mantra which is YOU ARE ACCEPTED BY THIS COMMUNITY AND WE THINK YOU ARE VALUABLE.

If you believe the time for ending public performances has come for you, then it has. It is okay to retire. That being said, there can be dance life beyond stag parties, belly grams, dance competitions, and ticketed events. One needn't perform in public to get together with friends to dance. You mentioned retirement homes- to those people we sexagenarians are youngsters and they are delighted to have some unusual entertainment. To quote a friend, now gone: "Honey, I'm glad you gals came. I've listened to so many amateur renditions of 'Sentimental Journey' that I'm ready to plotz."

Negative reactions from the public aren't limited to older dancers. I danced professionally for two years when I was at my physical prime and I heard it all: this person thought I was a painted doll, that person thought I was too heavy, someone else thought my breasts were probably padded, she was appalled that I could shamelessly flaunt myself in that costume, he thought he could buy me for an extra twenty bucks, his wife was sure I was a home wrecker, and their teenagers got together with their friends to snicker whatever kids snicker about. Bless their hearts, some people can't help being idiots, but they could stay home.
 

Bellydance Oz

New member
Oz, you're missing the point of the belly dancer mantra which is YOU ARE ACCEPTED BY THIS COMMUNITY AND WE THINK YOU ARE VALUABLE. .
Actually I'm a perennial student, so I have never done bellygrams, competitions or professional shows - and bellydancers in Australia never, ever do stag parties. What students do is community fairs.

I do get it, I would still be OK with performing for the belly dance community alone. The problem is that performing at community fairs is such an integral part of being a bellydance student here. If I say I don't want to perform at those, I get the "oh you're a beautiful dancer, it doesn't matter what shape or age you are yadda yadda", and the pressure can be quite relentless!
 

Suzanne Azhaar

New member
Don't know about anyone else, but it took a while for me to decide what genre I liked- music, style of dance, costuming, whether or not to play zills. It's only been about 3 decades. Can't imagine having to decide all that immediately. Good style takes time.
 

Bellydance Oz

New member
If we can't resist peer pressure at 60+, when can we resist it? :dance:
I wish I was that strong! I think I'm discovering something interesting about myself - I always thought I danced purely for the sake of dancing, but I now realise how important the social aspect is for me. If I just go to class and don't participate in the costume buying/making/rehearsals/performance, I miss an essential part of the group dynamic and feel on the outer - and that really matters to me, more than I'd have thought.

Anyhow, I really want to thank you, Shanazel, for being the first person to understand where I'm at. Everyone else in the belly dance community chants the "you're never too old, you mustn't stop" and making me feel like I'm a coward or a traitor or disloyal for not wanting to get up on that stage. You're the first person who's told me it's OK to step away, that there's NOT something wrong with me if I'm feeling like it's time. Thank you.

I do wonder why I get such strong reactions, though. Maybe it's because my slightly-younger classmates (in their forties and fifties) feel threatened by the spectre that old age might stop them dancing?
 
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Shanazel

Super Moderator
You're welcome, honey.

Maybe your classmates are insistent because they like you and so appreciate your contribution to the group that they hate to see you go. It's not just the retiring member of a troupe that gives up something when she bows out.
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
You're welcome, honey.

Maybe your classmates are insistent because they like you and so appreciate your contribution to the group that they hate to see you go. It's not just the retiring member of a troupe that gives up something when she bows out.
This. An older, experienced dancer? She's got SO MUCH the youngsters, and even the 'middle aged' (like me) don't yet have. She's an inspiration, a role model, and just tons of fun to be around because of that experience!

I had a teacher in California in her 70s. She was full of self doubt because of her age - I told her I'd gladly pay her class fee just to watch her dance! {BOW HERE} She's incredible to watch, and a bang-up teacher as well!

And yes, the social aspects are very important to me as well - its a huge part of the experience.
 
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