One of the things I’ve realised about why I love bellydancing and love teaching bellydancing is the incredibly strong, positive impact it’s had on my own body image and self esteem and positive impact I see it having on those women that I help to learn.

I think it’s hard to love yourself and to love how you look.  Not just because of the air-brushed images of female ‘perfection’ we are surrounded by, I think we are primed for it.  Freud & Calvin have told us that our innermost self is hostile, anti-social, corrupt – in a word, unlovable.  There are other, more positive perspectives on human nature that are coming more to the fore, but it takes time for this to trickle through.

There are plenty more factors that figure into our body issues and self esteem, there’s a whole body of literature out there about it.  But what I’m going to turn my attention to are some initiatives that are trying to help promote positive body-issues through dance.

My friend Tamsin has brought my attention to an initiative called ‘PURE’ – Public Urban Ritual Experiment.  One of the founders of this movement is Kaeshi (below) from Bellyqueen, a member of the bellydance superstars.

This initiative is “a collective of dancers and drummers who take music and dance out into the streets for the purposes of healing and peace.”  Here’s there promotional video:

Another, more local initiative that has come to my attention is ConfiDance for Life.  Their objectives are “the advancement of health by development of self-esteem, self-confidence and positive body image through dance… to make dance accessible to a range of people who would gain most from its therapeutic benefits and those who would have difficulty, for a variety of reasons, accessing such opportunities”

I hope and believe that in my small way I am making a positive difference in the lives of the people I teach.