A New Form of Poetry
As I sat at an open mic poetry, soaking in the delightful poems being presented, there was one poet that stood out to me that particular evening. A woman named Shannon went up on stage and courageously stepped outside of the norm to perform her poem while simultaneously bellydancing. It’s not a combination that I would’ve ever considered go together, but it was quite magical and intriguing. I immediately wanted to know more.
As if she read my thoughts, after she finished, she mentioned her Poetry in Motion workshop that she was a part of, and there was an upcoming event in the month of April. I could not resist the opportunity to see more and explore this blending of art forms.
A Warm Environment
I had no idea what to expect when going in, but I entered, fully prepared to feel completely incompetent and inadequate. What I found was two inviting teachers, Aruni and Shannon, who immediately put my mind to rest that I did not need to be skilled in any way. Don’t get me wrong, I was still very bad at dancing, but I was able to not worry so much about that. They made it incredibly easy to simply enjoy watching them share their knowledge and there was no judgement on my humble attempts at following their direction.
Bellydancing – Aruni
Aruni led the bellydancing portion of the class, and elegantly demonstrated each move. Aruni is a poet and she has over 20 years of experience in bellydancing. The amount of grace she has in her movements is astounding. You could see her heart has poured into this style and it is truly a wonder to watch. I almost forgot at times that I was trying to learn the moves as I was captured by examining the skill that clearly took hours upon hours to perfect.
What I liked about her teaching was that she focused on individuality. She said that we don’t need to dance like other people, rather we should dance from our own hearts. She encouraged us to feel the music and express it the way that we perceive it. Finding my own perception was rather difficult for me, as none of the movements felt natural to my non-rhythmic body. However, I do think my awkward turtle dance is probably still a somewhat accurate reflection of how I see the world.
The concept behind bellydancing was quite empowering. Aruni said that it is a way to get out of your head and into your hips. It is not for some sort of gawking eyes to watch, but to be sensual for yourself. Bellydancing is primarily a dance that women do together, not so much as a way to entice men. It’s about embracing your body as your own, feeling free, throwing away body shaming thoughts, and enjoying your own curves. I found this to be strangely soothing, like a unique form of self-care.
Poetry – Shannon
The second half of the workshop was taught by Shannon, a publisher and poet. Middle Eastern style music and dance is not in her heritage, but it feeds her soul. She is so excited about her work and such an encouraging person to be around. I love the way she is all about building up poets and eagerly wants to display their work. She diligently stays connected with all of the poetry outlets to be able to direct her authors where to place submissions.
Shannon directed us through poetry exercises, relating to the dance and movement. The idea was to get out of our heads through dancing, and then back into our heads with a rejuvenated perspective. There was a refreshing peace to be able to transition this way, and it did give a little bit of a clear mind to work with when writing.
Book in the Making
In addition to teaching, these creative individuals are putting together a book wherein they collect poems that are created in the class! They are collaborating the uniqueness of their talents to design something new and fresh in the poetry world.
I was so impressed by the work that these individuals are doing. It was so clear that they do this not because of money, but for the love of the art. They lose themselves in the creative process while at the same time diligently work to make their concepts a reality. In a chaotic world of day jobs, bills, and families, they are still making art and passion a priority in their lives.
They have more workshops coming up! Go check them out and share them with your friends!
You can find them by clicking on the links below: