Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Dances of Life
This past weekend I attended BOCA Fest, the annual Memorial Day bellydance expo put on by Dr. Sunyatta Amen and the Bellydancers of Color Association. Teachers and dancers from all over the country and the world come in for it, and the weekend is amazing and so very healing.
I took classes in prop use (danced with a sword on my hand - VERY cool), zils (the fab little finger symbols), gypsy choreography (who doesn't want to fling a skirt around like Carmen?), isolations, and shimmies. I ended up taking three classes from Kaeshi Chai, an amazing dancer who embodied a wonderfully peaceful and sacred presence. You can learn more about her here.
Once again, third gendered experience came to the foreground for me. I was one of two bio-boys taking classes (the other being my fabulous sister Dane Figueroa Edidi), and while it was clear to many of the women there that we were "men" taking these classes, my perception was, of course, different.
I don't subscribe to a rigid gender expression, and in line with beliefs dating back to antiquity in cultures around the world, I see myself as both man and woman. The biological evidence of my body is only one part of my gender experience. While some people see this as simply "Oh, yes, we all have man and woman in us," it goes beyond that in profound and sometimes inexplicable ways.
I would love to see more queer people learning sacred dance forms that allow us to fully unveil and stand in our power - Bellydance, Tarantella, Orisha Dances, Hula, Dances of the First Nations. I think that our dancing of these holy steps will truly help heal the world.
For people in the area interested in taking classes, head over to Mamasita, the studio where I've taken classes for two years. It's an amazing, sacred, and deeply joyful place to be!