A Budding Author

Ælfscine

Member
Hi...

As the title says, I'm a budding author trying at this moment to gather some information on belly dancing for a story I'm planning.

I love belly dancing but for me it is only as a spectator. You see, my legs and pelvis were broken in a car accident and I have to get around in a wheelchair or on crutches. It will be a few years yet before the doctors figure that I have stopped growing and can get a hip replacement. By that time I'll be 26 years old -- a little old to start learning, I would think but maybe it would be good therapy to help me get my mobility back.

Anyway, I shall be posting questions in various subject areas in these forums. I hope you all can help me find the answers for what I need.

Thank you kindly and I hope to get to know many of you by-and-by.

Ælfscine
 

Mosaic

Super Moderator
to the forum. Gosh I am sorry to hear you had such a shocking accident, I wish you well for the future. As for 26 being too old to learn bellydancing, not at all, you are never too old:D I was 55 when I started, I am now 64. My best friend was about 47, now 55, A good friend & bellydance instructor started when she was 37 she is now 51 & I have a few other friends who started in their 40s & 50s and we are all still dancing, so when you are up & about and ready go for it!
~Mosaic
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
Welcome. You are never too old to start learning and twenty-six IS NOT OLD!!!! My oldest beginners have been well into their sixties and learned to dance quite well. You can even dance in your wheelchair if you can use your upper body; you wouldn't be the first to have to practice sitting down. You aren't even the first on this forum. ;)

Glad to have you with us.
 

Aniseteph

New member
Belly dance wasn't even on my radar until I was in my 40's. And you are absolutely right - with a careful teacher it could be a great way to start getting your mobility back.

Welcome to the forum!
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
Ditto to what everyone else has said. I started formal classes when I was 46, and I'm going on 52 in February. So hi, and welcome to the craziness! :D
 

FlorainMA

New member
Welcome to the forums!! :)

I'm sorry to hear about your accident and injuries. I will say, though, that 26 is definitely not too old to start learning! I'm 27 and just started a few weeks ago. There are a lot of 30s+ in my class, all doing wonderfully. My teacher also teaches belly dance at some retirement homes and the ladies are PHENOMENAL! So, if you really want to start learning at some point, it's never too late to start!

<33
 

walladah

New member
Dear, one of the greatest bellydancers ever

who is still alive, well after her 73 or so, and dancing and seducing heavens with her art, started her bellydance at 27! Till then, she was not a real dancer, she just had some flamenco lessons and that is all!

THen, i think you are wise starting your theory instruction earlier than 26, because at that time, you will be so busy dancing!

I am sorry that you need to pass through such a test, i mean, the accident and the temporary injuries - and I am sure that you will get over it and you will make a great dancer!

Remember that dancers start bellydancing at various ages, and 26 is an early age. As for your mobility... well, you picked the right type of movement-training! Oriental dance will be very helpful in to this.

Oh, by the way: ask your doctors about whether you are allowed to train the upper body and arms and head. THat will be fun for you, you will be able to study the music better and yes, you will see the difference the day you step on you feet again. AT that time, you will be able to perform that special type of tribal fusion, where the dancers move too little their legs and pelvis, sometimes not at all. THen, it will be the leg's turn to take the lead.

Welcome to the bellydance universe!
 

Ælfscine

Member
Hello Walladah…

Sorry to take so long to get back to you. I have been doing upper body weight training since my accident. I have also been exercising my legs with the help of a physiotherapist. Over all, I'm in pretty good shape. The problem for me is that, although my legs have healed properly, my hipbone will not. It stitches back together but never well enough to support any weight. After the fourth time of having it re-break and the fifth surgery to try to piece it back together, all the doctors suggested that I hold off trying to walk until I have reached the point that I am able to have my hip replacement. Another break might cause damage to my long bones that will make a hip replacement useless or impossible.

One thing that has helped me a lot is that my mother instilled in both my sister and me the belief that our bodies are a gift and it's our duty to take care of them – exercise, eat proper food, get one's proper sleep, maintain a healthy attitude in life and all. Often peoples' attitudes are far worse than the actual injury. I don't know how many times I have been told that I can't do this and I mustn't do that because I'm such and such. And there are those who treat me as if having a damaged pelvis means I am brain damaged as well. When I have to lodge at the Hospice for the Physically and Mentally Challenged I am again inundated with all sorts of negative feedback. There are girls there my age with problems no worse than mine and all they do day in and day out is bitch and complain about what a rotten deal they got in life and how tough it is to be handicapped. Some I would just like to grab by their necks and squeeze very hard or slap them silly. And most have let themselves get so out of shape that they no longer need their legs to get around. All they need do is lie on their sides and roll. Ok, maybe I'm being cruel and maybe I am just venting my frustrations but the bottom line is that Ælfscine is not going to give up on making the best of her life even though others want her to give up, roll over and die.

I will, however, find out if I can do this upper body dancing you have suggested. I have better doctors now who will probably say that I can with proper precautions and under proper supervision. I am already looking forward to starting.

Later,

Ælfscine
 
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Alysha

New member
It's all a lie!

Don't listen to the doctor's, they will only tell you statistics. Listen to your body, you are the only thing that stands between you and your goals and belly dance is the best way to get inside yourself and learn your body's language. Start with the upper body and work your way down, but above all never forget: "You Can Do ANYTHING!" and have fun.
 

shimmysafari

New member
Hello Ælfscine!

I am very inspired by your strength and determination - that is wonderful! I just wanted to add that even if you need to hold off before learning to belly dance, there is so much musical and cultural knowledge that accompanies this art form that it would be a great time to start expanding your knowledge on these subjects.

1. You could start learning about belly dance history and different folkloric styles from Morocco's book "YOU ASKED AUNT ROCKY: ANSWERS & ADVICE ABOUT RAQS SHARQI & RAQS SHAABI (Oriental & Folk Dance)".

Available here: Welcome to Morocco's Meanderings

Or here: You Asked Aunt Rocky: Answers & Advice About Raqs Sharqi and Raqs Shaabi by Morocco (C.Varga Dinicu) (Paperback) - Lulu

2. Belly dancers need to be able to identify the different Arabic rhythms, musical instruments, finger cymbal patterns, and musical forms. A great resource to start learning might be George Dimitri Sawa's book and CD set, "Egyptian Music Appreciation & Practice for Bellydancers".

Available here: George Dimitri Sawa Buy Music and Books

Note: I do not have this set yet, but am planning on buying it for my birthday treat in January. :) If I could start over, this would be the first resource on music I would purchase.

3. While you're at it, you might want to pick up some Saroyan zills (this is the favorite brand of many dancers).

Available here:Saroyan Cymbals

They also may be available through Amazon, through the seller name Saroyan Mastercrafts.

This RaqsTV streaming video is also a great place to start learning how to play finger cymbals:

Zill Drills with Zaina Zahesha | RaqsTV - Belly Dancing Classes Online

These are just a few ideas for resources you might enjoy in addition to learning from the forums. By studying these, you will have a huge advantage when you begin dancing. :dance:
 

shiradotnet

New member
Ælfscine, although I haven't seen this DVD myself, it occurs to me that it might provide you with a place to start in learning some upper body belly dance movement:

Amazon.com: Chair Aerobics for Everyone - Chair Bellydance: Ronit Amaya, Bruce and Andrea King, Andrea King and Ronit Amaya: Movies & TV

This page on my web site was intended for people who were already learning to belly dance before their accident or injury, but perhaps it contains some ideas that you could use with your situation:

When You Can't Belly Dance Due to Health Limitations

Good luck with your recovery!
 

Ælfscine

Member
Dancing alternatives

Ælfscine, although I haven't seen this DVD myself, it occurs to me that it might provide you with a place to start in learning some upper body belly dance movement:

Amazon.com: Chair Aerobics for Everyone - Chair Bellydance: Ronit Amaya, Bruce and Andrea King, Andrea King and Ronit Amaya: Movies & TV

This page on my web site was intended for people who were already learning to belly dance before their accident or injury, but perhaps it contains some ideas that you could use with your situation:

When You Can't Belly Dance Due to Health Limitations

Good luck with your recovery!
Hi Shiradotnet...

Thank you very much for this information and directing me to your web site. I found a lot of good information there. Yes, keeping up your moral and having a positive attitude does help you a lot. There are so many people in the world who want to beat you down and crush your spirit and kill your hopes of being the best you can and to prosper because you are handicapped. I decided one day not to listen to them and not to believe what they say any longer and before long I was doing many things that even the "experts" said I couldn't do. So many are now jealous of me because of it -- I don't care any more. Let them be miserable, defeatist and never reach the potential life has to offer them. I intend to live and enjoy life.

Last week my brother bought me two pairs of sagat. The tones don't match each other but I have been told by others here that that makes no difference. I am looking forward on learning how to play them -- and driving my dad and brother crazy as I practise :lol: <wicked grin> I can see where this could help in hands-eyes-ears coordination.

I have been thinking of a stage name for myself. I thought I would use "Ælfscine" but I have found that too many people have difficulties with it and it would put me in a really bad mood if I have to hear my name being mangled everytime before I go on stage. For you who are wondering: it sounds exactly like "Elf Shine". In Anglo-Saxon times, Elves were considered beautiful and for a woman of the period to be described as ælfscine was a high compliment. I am thinking of using the name of one of my favourite characters in my fictions which is Ishandra. I don't see much going wrong here except if it gets shortened to "Isha" which would probably give anyone who speaks Arabic a good guffah.

Anyway, I goofing off in class to get this written. Better get back to it.

Later,

Ælfscine
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
When you say "two pairs," do you mean one set? :think: A set of sagat (or zills) includes 4 cymbals.

I'm impatiently waiting for Christmas so I can open my new Saroyans! :confused: Best wishes to you on your dance journey!
 

Ælfscine

Member
Am I being a ding-a-ling?

When you say "two pairs," do you mean one set? :think: A set of sagat (or zills) includes 4 cymbals.

I'm impatiently waiting for Christmas so I can open my new Saroyans! :confused: Best wishes to you on your dance journey!
Hi...

Ælfstangard bought me 4 cymbals so I guess I have one set. Forgive a noobie error here. :doh: I think he's also bought me a hip scarf for Christmas -- but hush! Don't let on that I might know. It's our secret. :D Ok? And do enjoy your new Saroyans on Christmas.

Later,

Ælfscine
 

Ælfscine

Member
Your messages give me courage

Hello Everyone...

I like to come back here to reread all the messages you have left me. They have given me the courage to keep on even when I get frustrated.

I have not had any luck finding an instructor. I have phoned around but it has been discouraging. Everyone seems interested enough until I explain that I'm paraplegic and then the conversation seems to just go dead. I was told by one that she was interested in teaching "those who can dance," others asked me if I were joking and one lady just breathed heavily into the phone a few times before she slammed it in my ear. I should have expected it. This is the type of ignorance I have to face nearly every day of my life. I'm not about to give up because of it but, still, it hurts to be treated this way.

Now I more determined to learn. If I can't do it with an instructor I'll do it without. I'll get that DVD that Shiradotnet (I hear that she is a beautiful singer ;) ) told me about and learn on my own if I must.

I'm sorry for the downer post but right now I hurt, I just want to start bawling and I need to vent. I figured that here at least you would understand.

Thank you all for hearing me out,

Ælfscine
 

shiradotnet

New member
Everyone seems interested enough until I explain that I'm paraplegic and then the conversation seems to just go dead. I was told by one that she was interested in teaching "those who can dance," others asked me if I were joking and one lady just breathed heavily into the phone a few times before she slammed it in my ear.
It makes me sad to hear that people were rude to you! I suppose the heavy-breather may have thought you were a hoax call. But that doesn't excuse behaving rudely. I try to be pleasant even to people I think may be hoaxers because you just never know - sometimes such calls end up being legitimate.

As for the one who said she only wants to teach "those who can dance", that's really a rude way to respond. I've had a number of students with disabilities over the years, and even though I know they will never be candidates to join a troupe and dance at haflas, they came to class because they believed they would get some kind of benefit from that, and as a teacher I feel responsible for offering what I can to them. I feel it's up to the student to decide whether she can participate enough to make it worthwhile for her. If she thinks she can gain some benefit from being there despite her disability, then I she is welcome in my classroom.
 

Ariadne

Well-known member
There's a new DVD from Cheeky Girls coming out this summer that I'm waiting for with baited breath. Maybe it would be something you could use as well?

[video=youtube;a4nEvyqyX8I]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4nEvyqyX8I[/video]

Teachers like Shira are worth their weight in Gold. If you can't find one locally that is willing to work with you perhaps you can find someone who will do lessons with you via skype/internet?
 

walladah

New member
I am sorry i missed the discussion so far

Ælfscine, Alysha and Ariadne gave you very good advice.

Most doctors have no special training and they are too lazy to study literature on bellydancing's influence on body health and recovery (i have found plenty and i am not a medical doctor, then a medical could probably have access to more and better sources if she wanted to).

Moreover, most bellydance teachers do not really have ANY training about dealing with injuries, first to avoid injury while practicing for them and their students, and second, to be able to dance and teach with people who have some injury. The people you have talked with and replied in those impossible ways, are not only rude, they are ignorant - to the point that i i worry about their current students. If those teachers do not know that you can dance and how this can be done, they probably do not know to teach safe and recovery dancing to their students, putting them (and probable themselves) in great danger.

Anyway, Ariadne raised the issue of skype lessons. That is a great idea and you will find teachers like this.

And let me share a little story with you: my grand grand mother, who was also bellydancing the traditional style of my area, was, during the last years of her life suffering from osteoporosis, then she had many bone injuries at her legs and pelvis. She could walk only with mechanical support, but definitely she could not dance with all her body any more. She had lived a very tough life as a woman and as a refugee, wars, dictatorships, dangers, everything. However, she never missed to insist in two things: first, she never cut her hair short. She had long hair all over her life, styled as a pigtail around her head. Second, she kept dancing with her upper body, although she knew that she might not be able to dance with her full body again, as she was over 90 and full of bone injuries.

After this, you would better follow your mother's advice [bless her!] and you never look at other people who are so buying into self-pity. At the end, it is your life! And i think that if my grand grand mother was so persistent in dancing (actually with no hope of getting better) none of us are entitled to give up.

With my best wishes from Crete,
W.
 
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Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
I agree with everyone - listen to your own body. If your body tells you to do only upper body dancing, then listen. But if you think your lower body can do some dancing, like testing bath water for temperature, step in a little at a time. And you are never, ever too old to start dancing. Take care of yourself.
 
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