an everyday photo, every day | photography • art • poetry

Balancing the Scimitar

bellydancer with scimitar

Joanna's Scimitar Dance

My friend Joanna performs her Scimitar Dance as part of her bellydance performance in our community festival last weekend. If it’s difficult to find the scimitar in this photo, it’s balanced on her upper lip.

In addition to her graceful posture and detailed costume, I also appreciated the ambient staging, as I always do with performance shots. In this case, the warm colored lights contrasting with the cool light of dusk each casting shadows overlapping at different angles added a beautiful dimension.

Not to mention my friend Kevin photographing from the other side of the stage. I’ll have to ask him if he has me in his photo!

This Scimitar Dance literally represents a metaphor—the risk of dancing with a potentially dangerous weapon, but with proper control the danger is eliminated. Bellydancing may seem fun or cute or sexy, but if you look closely at how the body moves, sometimes one small section at a time in a very complicated rhythm, you’ll understand what kind of control you need to develop.

Women often bellydance around a woman giving birth to help inspire her body to push the baby forth into the world, and also to welcome the new life with the joy of dance.

While the dance derives from folk traditions in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean tradition the music sounds distinctly Middle Eastern and I have often heard people associate the practice with Islam and object to it because of that, though it has no greater connection with that religion than it does with any other. This was performed on 9/11 of all days, and no one seemed to notice the association or objected to the bellydance performance.


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