There comes a point in time in every belly dancer's life where you think to yourself, "this isn't fun anymore". It'll come at a time when you're being pulled in too many directions, involved in too many projects, overworked with too many things that, ironically, have nothing to do with dance anymore.
Luckily, there are ways to get over this inevitable slump. From my personal experience,from what I've seen happen to my friends who have quit, they quit because others were making it hard for them to enjoy it, not because they didn't actually enjoy dancing. The nerves of dancing in front of an audience got to be too much, having to save face and attend shows because you felt socially inclined to go to, and so and so on.
If you're feeling frustrated, try this first before you give up the hip scarf forever:
1. Try and go back to the time when you first discovered belly dance
For me, it was in high school when a Lebanese friend of mine demonstrated a shimmy to some Nancy Ajram and Amr Diab music. It wasn't the movements that caught my attention (although I was amazed at how hard it actually was!), but it was the music. I loved it even though, at the time, I didn't understand a word of it. That same friend gave me a copy of her CD and 7 years later I still have it and think fondly of it. This led to discovering the classics by Oum Kalsoum and Abdel Halim Hafez which led to a love story with Tarab, Mawal and more. My love for belly dance is rooted in my love for Arabic music; belly dance was just a way of expressing it. Try and remember what first made you dance and try and go back to that happy moment. Try and remember what it was like taking your first class and how happy you felt once you learned your first combination. A lot of the frustration you feel now probably has nothing to do with the dance itself.If you can't master that belly roll, I'm sure it just makes you want to practice more, not give up entirely.
2. Take a break
Maybe you do need to take a break from dance to see how you feel. Depending on how much of a role belly dance plays in your life, try and go one week or two without anything dance related and see how you feel. Outsource some of your projects if you're involved in too many things. If it's made you happier, then focus on something else. If you're just itching to get back to it, then head back to class! You will feel more excited and refreshed after your little hiatus and who knows, you may have had more a-ha movements because of it.
3. Switch it up
erhaps you're frustrated with not advancing more. Often times we get stuck in a rut when it all becomes too routine or not challenging enough. Check out another dance class, find some new dance DVDs to practice with, attend a workshop you might normally never attend. See what else is out there.
4. Get rid of toxic people
This is probably the biggest buzz-kill and reason most dancers no longer find joy in dancing. Cut off ties with people that drain your energy and only add negativity to your life. If the only reason you're going to an event is because you feel pressured to, you probably shouldn't consider that as a form of support anyway. And as a side note: supporting a community doesn't mean merely attending events, it means bringing to light important issues and figuring out how to help solve them together. A community is about keeping professional ties and a healthy discourse focusing on what needs to change for the better. Build professional relationships with like-minded people.Remember: quality over quantity!
5. Don't feel guilty for quitting
The Western world is very 'success-oriented' meaning calling it quits amounts to losing or failing. But there is no reason for you to stick with something that no longer gives you any joy. After you've tried it all and still don't feel excited about dance, it's ok to give it up and focus on other things. And who knows, you may come back to it eventually, you may not.
What do you do when you feel like belly dance isn't fun for you anymore? Write it in the comment section below!
P.S. For further reading into getting over a dance slump, check out Rebecca Brightly's post here. Event though she does Lindy Hop, I would recommend subscribing to her newsletter for all sorts of good dance advice!