I've been fascinated by tribal belly dance for a while now but never got a chance to really dive into it. Having recently visited my old dance school I couldn't relate as much to contemporary and modern jazz as I used to. I can still enjoy it but it's not the same. Time for some exploration.
I used to love dancing but it was one of these things. I think very quickly I was labelled as a shy kid and took this label as my own. From then on there was a certain range of activities that clearly wasn't meant for me. Acting, dancing, public speaking. All of which I was secretly dreaming. I was enjoying it but didn't have enough expressive outlet to develop it. There was more. I wanted to be known, loved, admired. I wanted to be the centre of attention. I wanted people to recognize my face and all my life I was thinking, why. What makes one person known, famous, adored? Could I be that person? Terrified of being mediocre, terrified of being forgotten. Since early age I felt the pressure of time slipping out of my hands.
As a young teenager I started pushing my parents more to allow me develop some of these skills. They would help with the practical side of things, but never forgot to make me feel guilty if I dared to change my mind. I needed encouragement but in the end I would give up, thinking I'm inadequate, too ugly or fat to be a dancer, too awkward to be looked at. It was too late, the ship has sailed, I didn't catch my train. I was a perfectionist, I wouldn't continue if I thought I have no chance in becoming a professional. The idea of doing something just for pure pleasure was difficult to me. It had to lead me somewhere. You can imagine how impossible the growth becomes under such pressure. How far can you really go if the enjoyment isn't the part of the ride? I was trying different styles but I felt like I could never be a dancer. Some things just seemed impossible to me, I would't make the progress I wanted. But I felt alive when I was dancing. I felt alive.
During a workshop in Poland I followed the classes of one crazy dancer. He was like a force of nature, completely into his thing. He was different, close to an animal, he was a spirit. He had an aggression and desire, using it as a creative tool. He was fire. He would call his students warriors. Every class was an act, not just a sequence of movements. Appropriately eccentric and very original. I was enchanted by him and his style. I thought I found a place for myself, where I didn't have to be perfect, skinny or slender to perform the movements. I could be a fighter, I could use my anger and my imperfections. The beauty lied in its authenticity.
I promised myself one day I will follow his classes wherever it was he was teaching. Later on I found out it was Paris. How convenient. I was already in love with Paris and thought it was a perfect thing to do. I joined his classes again on the next workshop. After that I decided to go to Paris to learn more just to find out what he was doing in Poland was really just an easy taster. As someone who was only just beginning, I must say it was very difficult to follow. Back then I had massive body issues, low self esteem and I was quite shy. My French wasn't good and I felt really alienated. It wasn't the most welcoming environment, I was intimidated by younger, good looking, talented people with bodies developed by years of experience. Pirouetting and doing splits in every corner, you can imagine what it felt like. My spirit was crushed and soon life took over.
I came back to Poland, I had to finish high school which is what happened by a miracle and shortly after I was on my way back to Paris. Soon I got the news I didn't get a place in a dance school and I read it as the ultimate sign I'm utterly useless as a dancer. I run out of money so further training had to be suspended. I went to Jersey to work, encouraged by my best friend at the time and somehow I decided it would be a great idea to become a stripper. Not on the Island, no. Mind you, I was still very young and all over the place. Life was just beginning. I was exploring my limits, it was still at the borderline of something forbidden in my head, the dark land that always intrigued me. I was going out and having my little sex drugs and rock'n'roll episode in the most unlikely of places. It was a short and stormy romance. But the best part was the attention I was getting dancing in the clubs. Oh sweet naivety. I thought I could do it for money. It is dancing in the way, right? And that was before the whole pole dancing trend. Jersey episode was very dramatic and I had to take an accelerated course in life and check some first heartbreaks off the list. About this some other time. Not that anyone wants to hear about heartbreaks in particular, but I don't want to go too much into my life story. Not yet. Not now. In this very post. It was supposed to be about dancing, dammit. I was trying to save some money but I spent everything when things got bad. It wasn't much. I had hardly any money when I arrived in Paris yet again. I couldn't afford many classes and soon I had to fight for survival again. My unsettled spirit was still attracting more drama than necessary. I was passionate and optimistic but at the time I was yet to learn how to protect my sensitive heart. I found myself in the most surreal situations and taking a lot of risks. To cut the long story short I came to terms with the fact that I won't become a professional dancer. I am really cutting it short here. Dancing still played a huge role in my life. Without it I wouldn't find myself living in Paris, I wouldn't learn things I've learnt and I wouldn't meet so many people who had a huge impact on me. It still amazes me how one decision can influence a stream of events of great importance. I let myself react more to the circumstances than work in accordance with my will. The first chapter of my Parisian episode was soon to be swapped for London episode. I would be back many times since then.
Dancers are angels to me. Creating art that speaks without words, existing only in the moment, like music. There is something divine about dance. Dancers are like tongues of fire, spirits in a material form. The time stops for those who dance. Years of repetition and training for a minute of perfection. Oh to be truly a master of your own body and may it speak beauty!
But how much can you talk about dancing? I should dance about it. And that's what I think to do, you know, it's always been coming back to me as something I just need to explore before I die, together with acting. something that might take a completely different form than previously imagined. Perhaps more of a primal form, as an intense need, not a weighed out decision to pursue a career I probably wouldn't enjoy that much within restrictions of the modern world. Now I am more into what I call a gothic belly dance, fusion ATS, dark, strong, sensual. And who knows, maybe I will dance again and feel this energy inside me once more. For the love of expression. For the love of life and celebration of the human form. For the fire and for the reunion with Gods.