Egyptian President Elected

And the winner is… Muhammed Mursi (or known as Mohamed Morsi) of the Muslim Brotherhood! What this means for Egypt is yet to be determined. He has announced that he will honour all of Egypt’s international treaties (there were worries about the treaty with Israel).

President of Egypt Muhammed Mursi

Mohammed Mursi celebrates his win in the Egyptian elections.

Dr Mursi received a PhD in Engineering from the University of Southern California after a Bachelor and Master’s Degrees from the University of Cairo. He was an Assistant Professor at California State University for three years until 1985, before moving back to Egypt to teach at the Zagazig University.

Will his advanced education and time in America make him a more democratic leader? How will this affect the Raqs Sharqi dance community? Mursi is considered one of the conservative voices within Egypt’s oldest Islamist organization, so I guess we will just have to hope for the best.

Bellydancing in a wheelchair?

I found an inspiring photo of a dancer doing a veil dance in a wheel chair

This bellydancer in a wheelchair is very inspiring to all of us!

It never occurred to me before that you could belly dance in a wheel chair, this picture I recently came across shows otherwise! I love the elegance of her lines, the colour of her costume, her stage presence, just gorgeous!

I don’t know who she is (if you know please tell me!) and it got me thinking about the subject of bellydance and disability. So I did a bit of research. I had already heard and blogged about using bellydance as a means to recover from illnesses, but what about if you are unable to stand or are confined to a wheelchair? One belly dance teacher in North and South Carolina claims she specialises in bellydancing in a wheelchair.

Then I came across a YouTube video for “Chair Aerobics”

So, while not common, it is entirely possible. I will be on the look out for more information, as this is fascinating and inspiring!



Betty Boop Doing the Do

Betty Boop may be a cartoon character, but she knows how to belly dance naturally!

Betty Boop gives tips on how to belly dance

Betty Boop gives tips on how to belly dance

Sometimes you just need to relax into a move and let your jiggly bits wiggle!

Keep that tummy in and tail under and have fun!

Life after Cancer

How do you “claim your body back” after surviving cancer?

cancer can effect the female figure

Jean Harlow epitomises the curvy female figure, but what do you do when those curves have been cut away?

A few years ago, I had a lady who rang me to say she hadn’t done belly dance lessons for 10 years, but would love to start again. I said she would be more than welcome to join us and asked if there was a particular reason for the time away from Raqs Sharqi. She said she had had cancer of the uterus and after surgery, radiotherapy and chemo treatment, she wanted to claim her body back. She was tired of her body being treated like an enemy to be attacked and talked about like it was separate from her. She was tired of being ill and was now focussed on being well and doing something for herself that brought joy.

So she came to class and over the following weeks I kept track of how she was feeling and physically adjusting. The first week she was frustrated as she felt weak, unfit and her hips felt stiff. The second week, she realised that her body remembered what to do, it was just a bit out of shape. She felt such joy to be doing moves that she had done “BC” (Before Cancer). The third week she said she noticed her hips were becoming more flexible. By the fourth week she was beaming with smiles as she enjoyed doing something for herself and improving. And it continued from there. She truly claimed her body back, and I was so proud of her and got such joy experiencing this with her, and felt inspired by her story.

It got me thinking; especially when it comes to “women’s cancers” such as Uterine, Ovarian, Cervical, Breast etc how does it affect your feelings of womanhood? I cannot speak from experience as I have not had cancer (and knock wood never will) and though my Mother had Ovarian Cancer, she was not one of the survivors, though in the 2 1/2 years she was ill, I watched her go through surgery, helped her mourn the loss of her female organs, and then boosted her moral after she developed self-esteem issues after needing a colostomy bag (her poo bag she called it!).

belly dancing for breast cancer recovery

Use belly dance to improve your well-being after breast cancer

Since then, every day I click on the Breast Cancer site to help fund free mammograms to women who can’t afford them (I get an email sent out as a reminder), but I want to know more. I discovered research has been done on people recovering from cancer and published in the British Medical Journal which found that the cancer survivors who exercised felt better physically and emotionally then those that didn’t. Well if exercise in general can help improve the health and well-being of cancer survivors, than belly dance would too – with the added benefit of helping women feel supported as their bodies have experienced changes. Whether these changes are a mastectomy, hysterectomy or scars, being able to move your body and feel good about it is very liberating. I did some research and came across a group of belly dancing cancer survivors in Pennsylvania called In the Pink, and personal stories and articles from Gilded Serpent and Shira.

So if you are a woman wanting to claim your body back after surviving cancer, do whatever you have to do to feel good about yourself; dance, exercise, laugh and love.