Why I Bellydance, being a Christian

belly girl

As a Christian dancer, most people think when I dance to praise to Lord, that I do what’s labeled as praise dance, which usually  incorporates beautiful flowing white or creme robes, props such as a flag, a pole, or a scarf. Although I do use props, you probably wont see me in a robe doing traditional praise dances to God. Instead I use a variety of dances to offer my gift to the Lord.

So I dance a myriad of styles and when people hear belly dance among those styles, they wonder: Is she really saved? How could she possibly dance sensually and claim she is praising God? Can a Christian dancer belly dance too?

When Miriam danced with tambourines and the women joined her (Exodus 15:20), do you think she was doing hip hop? What about ballet? Ha! Those are new dance forms compared to ancient history. They danced to rejoice at the great victory God just showed them by delivering them from Pharaoh of Egypt and his great army, drowned in the sea.

I believe the women in biblical times danced the dances that were native and indigenous  to their land and people. These dances are called folk dances. Now the Israelis in Israel have folk dances today, but are these the same dances that were performed in Moses time? I’m not sure, just like the Modern Hebrew language we have today has been reconstructed in the 1950s, with much historical study, so could their dances be.

My theory is that Oriental Dance, or what America coined as belly dance, is the OLDEST DANCE from the middle eastern lands that we have. I believe it has been passed down from many generations and now shared with us. I think oriental dance is a form of folk dance that is closer to what Miriam and her female companions danced than what we see today.

In that respect, I can use Oriental Dance to praise God too. Of course, America, has altered its appeal, dress, perception, and environment, and I am very careful not to play into that ideal. I dress modestly, know the dance’s purpose, and only use it in a non lusting environment. Most true belly dance performers, are not strippers, but dance in family environments, special performances, and, at times, pull several people from the audience to dance with her.

Although I do not foresee belly dancing going to the alter of a church anytime soon, I will continue to hope the people can understand and celebrate its purity and beauty and see it as the oldest form of dance we have that connects us with the ancestors.

(image: from MEE cd cover)

11 responses to “Why I Bellydance, being a Christian

  1. This was SO encouraging! I am a Christian dancer as well, and I was mulling this over in my head of whether I should belly dance or not. But, I honestly feel like I can do this to the Glory of the LORD as an expression of praise. I will have to study up on this more! Thanks!

    • Thank you Chelsey! I am still studying this topic more & more… I wrote more of these Biblically based articles on dance, check them out; it may save you research time. To correctly dance & praise God with the right music is a challenge, since the rhythms of many American praise & worship songs do not accommodate for bellydance timing. I have been researching foreign music… Let me know if you want to know more.

  2. Thank you!!!!! I used to belly dance professionally but recieved all sorts of critisism from many Christians and stopped in the end. The past few months I’ve had dancing to worship God on my mind and was thinking of contemporary and ballet and things like that but then I haven’t been able to get belly dancing out of my mind and I’ve been feeling like God’s saying that belly dancing can be used to find inner healing and bring glory to Him. When I dance I feel more connected to God and it makes me feel alive. Since stopping dancing I’ve become full of inner pain. As the survivor of childhood sexual abuse I’ve found that I feel healed when I dance. Dancing also makes me feel more confident and is much healthier than turning to comfort eating. I’ve had many people say that dancing in a bra (although beaded etc) is sexual, vulgar etc but what I have to say to that is that when I did perform in costume I never had any sexual advances from anyone. On the other hand there are many men who prey on young girls and women who look pure and innocent.

    • Hi Justine!

      I’m so encouraged by your testimony, that God used dance to heal you. Got built the body so amazingly, that when it cries out in pain, we should listen. God built it so well, that it tells us when something is wrong. I would pray about it too, but I would start dancing again in the way that the Holy Spirit leads you. There are ways that you can dance and wear a modest costume that pleases the Lord, but if a man has sexual thoughts when someone is dancing that is his responsibility too, as well as the dancers for not provoking provocative movements as well as costume. Some men are turned on by women in flowing robes, so we are not responsible for their thoughts, but we are responsible for any seduction on our part. We also must be mindful on what we do at the altar, we have to think we must dance in purity and holiness so I don’t think that only wearing a jeweled bra at the altar would be acceptable. The Spirit of God will help you use discernment where it would be acceptable, (like a professional, tasteful event)because remember, the dance started with more clothing on; it is holly wood that helped strip it down. Blessings to you & your journey to regaining your step in the dance! 🙂

      • Thank you! I am still praying about it all and trying to understand what types of costumes would be acceptable. I have decided that anything lust-provoking is not acceptable and I’m currently doing some research and making notes and trying to work out how belly dance can be used in a way that glorifies God and to help women who need deep inner healing. So far I have been dancing on my own and trying to come up with movements that convey whatever feelings I have on the inside and giving those feelings to God. I’m finding more clarity within my thoughts since doing this and currently I’m trying to develop dance movements that take elements of what I know to be belly dance but then trying to infuse my dance with strength. So I’m researchiing and thinking and praying and trying to work something out that can be beautiful and healing as opposed to seductive. (Including costuming)

        I’ve just got this idea and this dream within me to somehow use dance as a tool to help women in my local area to recover from trauma and also to use it to explore issues of social justice and tell a story through the dance.

      • Hi Justine! It’s been a while, did you start your ministry yet? I am currently consulting to help women live a positive free healed Christ filled feminine life and will be having dance zoom classes in the future. If I can be of any service to you, feel free to contact me 🙂

  3. Also I have found this cd Brave New World by Amanda Cook to be wonderful for dancing in either contemporary or a fusion including belly dance moves. The words of the cd have been very healing to people that I personally know.

    • Hi Justine,

      That’s wonderful you are seeking God in prayer over costumes! I shall join you in agreement. I love that you are researching movement, mood, & healing. Those elements are premier to me as well. I share your dream & let me know if I can be of any help to you.

      I will check out that cd if possible, thank you!

      Here’s my prayer for you:
      Dear Lord,
      We bless you as Lord of the dance, & our dance. We know you are the author of all things. Assist Justine in her efforts to create an atmosphere that brings in your spirit of healing to those watching her dance. Give her the movements, emotions, & mindset to allow You to do a great work for others through her. Give her the provisions she needs, as you are the great supplier. We ask this according to Your will. In Jesus, the true Messiah’s name, amen.

  4. Thank you for this. I’ve been thinking about belly dancing as a form of therapy and body healing and strength building. I needed a type of dancing that does not put a ton of stress on the ankles, as mine have deformed tendons and twist easily. I’ve been watching a lot of belly dance videos and I started to get discouraged and weighed down, seeing women objectified in that manner. It’s the kind of thing I think should only be done sensually in the bedroom for a husband.
    Like another commenter, I was sexually abused and I’m trying to find healing avenues that don’t include food and just checking out of life. Thank you.

    • Hi Amy,

      I pleased to be another piece of the puzzle in your journey. The west has changed the meaning & purpose of this ancient Eastern art & I do my best to learn & focus on its true root & benefit.

      Don’t be discouraged, as many are on your same journey & know this: if you study from Americans, you will get a warped perspective even if they studied with the best Arabic dancers because you cannot separate the culture from the soul. Seek out authentic native dancers to prevent fostering a perversion of the art. I myself have Eastern ancestors, & I seek to promote the beauty & true purpose of this dance form, which is to glorify God. I am coming out with a video on this, so follow me if you want to be updated 😊

      Let me know if I could be of further assistance on your journey to total healing.

      Olive

    • Hi Amy! It’s been a while….how are you doing? I am currently consulting to help women live a positive free healed Christ filled feminine life. If I can be of any service to you, feel free to contact me 🙂

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