Learning to belly dance is like learning a new language -- you can't expect to speak it like a native speaker right away. You learn a few words (movements) here and there, then develop the grammar of how to link the words, how to use punctuation and pause... and then slowly, with practice, you gain fluency. Relax into your body and enjoy the journey. And remember - once you are proficient, there is always still more to learn, especially if you want to create a poem with your dance and treat it as more than just a form you are filling out. Belly dance, like its infinity shapes and circular movements, is a lifelong discovery. When you stay curious, when you stay engaged with the process, it can lead you deeper and deeper into yourself.
I was so happy to find the following interview with Michael Cunningham from the book The Very Telling: Conversations with American Writers By Sarah Anne Johnson. Cunningham reinforces the notion of the artist as one who diligently follows the vein of their passion. Patience, perseverance, and fascination with the process itself are key to an artists' work:
“I’ve come to think that what we call ‘talent’ is inextricably linked to a bottomless fascination with the process itself, that an artist of any kind possesses, among other qualities, the desire to do it and do it until it comes out right.
It took me some time to understand that what I needed to do was not reform my natural inclinations, but to give in to them.
I’m not convinced that writers must only write about what they know, but I’m sure we should only deal with that about which we care passionately.
Have patience. Don’t panic.”