Saying goodbye to belly dance

written by Andalee on September 11, 2017 in General with 31 comments
The picture that inspired the logo

The picture that inspired the logo, by the incredible Bonnie Stanley.

“What made you start belly dancing?”

It’s a question that I often get from curious non-belly dancers and one that I always cringe at. My belly dance journey didn’t exactly start from noble intentions (I was trying to compete with the woman my ex-boyfriend left me for), but I was completely unprepared for how it would transform my life.

I met amazing women from all walks of life and formed lifelong friendships. I became in touch with my body and finally found a dance form that I could be decent at. I learned how to express myself through my body and how to connect to a culture that was very foreign from my own. The last 12 years were an amazing journey and I don’t regret a minute of it (or spending all that money on costumes and workshops).

One of the most rewarding things I did during my belly dance career was start this site. I started it after finding body acceptance and I wanted to share this radical concept with the belly dance community. I wanted belly dancers to know how belly dance can transform your body image and self-esteem. I wanted this site to be a place of community, hope and sharing.

I really feel like I accomplished that goal. The site has posted work from an amazing group of contributors and guest bloggers who have shared their stories and advice since it launched in 2013. I’ve received positive feedback and support from the community as well. I realized that there really is a need for this kind of positivity in our community.

However, with that being said, I think it’s time to close the doors. Last year, I made the incredibly difficult task of moving to France. I left my friends, my family and of course, my belly dance community. After the upheaval, I promised to return to belly dance. However, deep down I knew that my interest in the dance was waning. I gave myself a short break and then promised that I would return to dance once I was settled.

And I did return. I signed up for a belly dance class in my new city with a well-known and excellent dancer. She welcomed me warmly and I met some really nice people in the class. I had a couple of opportunities to perform and I made a point to get to know the dance community.

However, it was clear from the beginning that my heart was no longer in it. Most weeks, I forced myself to go to class. I never practiced, except before a performance. I stopped seeking out dance videos and advice. I cut back on the time I spent hanging with other dancers on social media. I pretty much never thought about belly dance unless it was right in front of me.

All of that was a sign that this season of my life was over. When the big festival performance was over in May, I was relieved and ready to just walk away. And I did! I didn’t go back to class even though it was still on for another month. I was just done. I am just done.

I’m glad that I made this decision over time and that I didn’t rush to any conclusions. I waited it out awhile to see if leaving belly dance was really the right next step. I have absolutely no doubt that it is. I’m not flouncing. There was no drama. It’s just time.

I still love belly dance. I still love dancing. But I need to wait for the inspiration and motivation to hit me again. And until it’s there, I won’t be forcing it. Which for all intents and purposes means that belly dance will no longer be a part of my life.

What does that mean for this site though? Well, that’s the hard part. For now, I am going to keep the site up indefinitely. I will no longer post or add content from contributors or guest writers, nor will I update the manifesto. I will no longer maintain the site, other than to fix any major issues or clear out spammy comments. However, the site will remain live and you’ll continue to have access to some of our great articles and features. I can’t promise you that it will stay up for forever, but I think it’s a good solution for the time being.

Thank you all for all of your incredible support. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Happy dancing!

Love,
Andalee

About Andalee

Andalee is the founder of Belly Dance at Any Size. She is an Oriental dancer and instructor from Durham, NC, now based in Montpellier, France. She has been dancing since 2005 and teaching since 2008. Her mission is to promote Oriental Dance (a.k.a. belly dance) as a respected and valid performance art.