Rachel mentioned something in one of her classes about bellydance being like a marriage. You start it and you just want to spend all your time in bed with belly dance, and then five our ten years later you're just all "Can you just put out the freaking bins JUST ONCE forgawdssakes" and you are just not interested in doing it any more. Like anything your love and interest in it waxes and wanes, but it's always there and it keeps coming back. Like mouth herpes.
This was cool! So I chatted with her after class about it for a bit and told her about my listless will-I-won't-I relationship with belly dance. She totally got it, and told me about how she, Rachel Brice Queen of Tribal Fusion, had recently been through a huge period of time where she just wanted to give it all up. She'd be all, after this gig/whatevs, I am giving up belly dancing. She lost her joy and passion and motivation for it for years. But couldn't just give up - how could she? I mean, it's her full time job and work and her money source and she is always being booked for something.
In the last few months I have seen a whole bunch of my friends give up belly dancing, if not for good, at least for a good long while. And some of these guys are top international performers. And it's both sad for them and good for them, and it's interesting for me because I know exactly where they are coming from sometimes.
Truth is, being dedicated to belly dance is tough, it can be very lonely, it can be very boring, it can feel hopeless and pointless sometimes, and over the last two years I have thought about giving up often. I have gone through periods when I have just totally lost my enjoyment of it, when I don't see the point, and where watching any belly dance performance just leaves me feeling meh. I've had large chunks of time where I don't feel like I am enough, that I should love it more, be more obsessed by YouTube, stop being the world's most jaded bellydancer, I should train more, I should find training fun, I should do it this way, I should do it that way, and on and on and on. If I did all of these things, then I would deserve to be a good dancer.
So I have been struggling with me and belly dance for a good long while. I managed to get a place on this Rachel Brice intensive and spent the whole year thinking about selling it on so I could, I dunno, use the money to go scuba diving or buy socks instead, but I did go in the end.
So this, this is what I really took away from my week with Rachel. That sometimes, even the biggest and brightest just stop feeling it and want to give up too. Sometimes they feel hopeless and bored too. (I re-remembered talking to Mardi Love a few years back, and she was all "Yeah, I might give up belly dancing in a few months and do something else." Not just Rachel!) Being all conflicted, having other interests, being bored, not being as super obsessive as you were when it was all new and shiny, it doesn't mean that you are a bad dancer and don't deserve to be a good one or anything. It's just how art and creation goes sometimes. It's just the process.