Monday, November 19, 2012

The San Joaquin Valley Bellydance Coalition: It Begins!

So I would have wrote about this last night, but I was too tired to really discuss the exciting changes that are going on in the Central Valley. An invite had been sent out by a few key people here in the Central Valley for a meeting to take place within the local bellydance community. Several members (from beginning to professional) came to the meeting. Now this is actually a good start as this meeting was of a special kind. It was the first meeting of the San Joaquin Valley Bellydance Coalition aka The Coalition. The board committee of this group was being led by nationally known dancer Andalee. Essentially this meeting was to gather as many of the local dancers as possible to discuss ways to bring our community closer together, to promote each others performances, workshops and seminars, as well as brain storm how to educate the public a little more about each style of dance our community has. At the meeting people had agreed that it was time to pull ourselves together and work to bring a better awareness of the bellydance art and it's culture to people as there is still a misunderstanding of what bellydance is. Many people still believe this art to be adult entertainment due to how movies and other media has played a role in demonizing, so to speak, the art. So as our first meeting got underway, it was pretty clear everyone was on the same page to educate the Central Valley on what bellydancing is and to help our local cities embrace the history of the art in their neck of the woods.

In order to discuss the ideas we all had at this meeting, we broke up into groups and discussed amongst ourselves what we wanted more of. It was surprising that the top 3 priorities listed from each group was community outreach programs, social gatherings and better opportunities to attend workshops that are not readily available. The outreach programs was always listed as number one in each group. So it was very nice to see how all of us were on the same page and it shows that many dancers in the area have discussed at one point or another how our community needs to be in a more positive and educational role in order for our art to survive.

So I am pleased to share that over the next few years, there will be a new change taking place in the Central Valley to offer the public opportunities to learn the culture, dance, and positive role bellydancing has to offer in hopes to keep the art going and break down the walls of any misconceptions people have about this dance. It will be very exciting to see!

As more information develops, I will be sharing it here so those who are local or those in other cities/towns/states who wish to participate in the change can do so to help promote the art and culture in their own communities.

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