Saturday, May 1, 2010

Why? Why do I dance? Let me tell you....

I've been asked by so many people over the years why I dance. They want to know why I'd do something that 'unusual.' Makes me smile when they say that. Here's why:

At my day job, I work in an analytical chemistry lab. I have a degree in chemistry. That makes me a certified geek in many circles. An outcast of sorts. When people I've just met ask me what my profession is and I tell them, "Chemist," they usually get a frightened look on their face and change the subject.

I'm used to it. At times, I rather enjoy it.

The thing I had to get used to was the reaction I get from my chemistry peers at work when I tell them about my bellydancing. Some are utterly fascinated. Some are simply aghast. Almost all of them have asked me the same question: "Why would you do that?"

Over time, I have developed a list of pat answers: It's good exercise. It's fun. I like to learn new things. It keeps me out of the bars (usually). And occasionally, I've admitted that it's the clothes, really.

All of those answers are correct in some way. But for those who really want to know, for the women who take me aside and ask me about it, this is what I tell them:

It's the sisterhood. It's about being a part of something that is bigger than the sum of its parts. It's about meeting a woman from Argentina and having something in common with her besides gender. It's about finally getting to meet Rachel Brice (be still my heart!) and discovering after the fact that she had been dancing along and following our on-stage performance while waiting backstage for her turn.

When I started dancing, I joined a worldwide network of women who are of a like mind. We do not all dance the same style. We do not all wear the same costuming. We do not all speak the same language in our day-to-day lives. But we understand each other in a subtle, but fundamental way.

In my childhood, I grew up with a single sibling. A brother. I love him dearly. In my 40's I'm refusing to grow up along with hundreds of thousands of other women. These women are my sisters in dance. Even though I may not know them personally, I also love them dearly. It's all part of being a bellydancer. It's why I keep doing this crazy thing. It's why I keep making the costuming. It's in my blood. It's chemistry.

So this is for all my dancing sisters. The ones I know, like the ladies in Troupe Sicorae. And the ones I don't know personally. Love to all.

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