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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Belly Dance Tip: Negative Self Talk in a Dance Situation


By Saqra




One of the first things I say when presenting a beginner class orientation is: "If you are a perfectionist, please leave it at the door for a few weeks. There is a learning curve and you aren't going to get everything immediately, but you definitely can do this."

If the person with the negative self talk is you, you may need to read this very carefully. Perhaps give it some extra thought time. This topic is kind of a rough one.

Many women voice out loud negative self-talk, especially when learning something new or out of their comfort zone. By now, most of us understand why we shouldn't say we are "stupid" or "clumsy" or that we "are so bad at" or "can't do" things. You can make it a self-fulfilling prophecy by subconsciously convincing yourself not to really try.

The only healthy thing to be telling yourself at this point is, "This is difficult right now," or, "I can't get this yet," leaving room for improvement and change.

The only healthy thing to be telling yourself at this point is, "This is difficult right now," or, "I can't get this yet," leaving room for improvement and change.

So since we know you can actually be holding yourself back, it makes sense to stop it. Get out an arsenal of "for nows" and "yets" when you hear yourself making negative statements and thoughts.

But, beyond that, here are a few more reasons to re-learn self-talk that have nothing to do with you.


It Is Distracting to Other People

When you interrupt the room to say how bad you are, you are wasting everyone else's time. It looks like you are seeking reassurance. You actually may be feeling you are needing reassurance.

However, that reassurance can also come from within you by relearning how to consider "failure." Try viewing "failure" more accurately by doing an analysis of real consequences. If you "fail" to learn something, then what? So your butt won't go left and down at the same time? So what? That affects any other aspect of your life how?

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Michael Baxter, Santa Clara, California.


It Is Triggering to Other People

When people are in a class, and a classmate says s/he is unable to learn something, it does several things to the other people in that class:

  • It makes them question whether they are doing it correctly, even if they are.
  • It makes them wonder whether the thing can be done, even if they are successfully doing it.
  • It makes them wonder whether the teacher is competent to teach the thing to you, and by extension, to everyone.
  • It makes other people sad and afraid to try.

People are herd animals. If they see someone among them feeling negative, then they tend to subconsciously perceive the situation as negative and threatening.


It Is Emotionally Disturbing to the Instructor

Repeatedly hearing you say negative things when attempting to teach something undermines the confidence of the instructor. It makes this person feel more desperate to improve your performance with different explanations instead of giving you appropriate time to work on the move. It throws the teacher off the lesson plan, and makes it difficult to assist other students. The instructor's role is to attempt to teach you something, and your negative comments are making it clear s/he is failing.

You may be trying to say that you yourself are failing. However, when you say that, it completely discounts the fact that the instructor is involved too.

Do you have an issue that needs specific direction? A movement you literally can't do because of a physical issue? Do you need a modification?
If yes, word your question to ask about that issue in particular. Asking the instructor to clarify a specific point instead of saying, "I can't do that," affects the people around you in a very different way. The resulting response from the instructor may actually help other participants.

Saying you can't do it is very different from asking whether there is a way you can do it (even modified).

Saying you can't do it is very different from asking whether there is a way you can do it (even modified).

Okay, that is the simplified version of a huge, important topic.

Changing your mileage may not happen.

For now. Yet.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Michael Baxter, Santa Clara, California.




About the Author

Saqra (Seattle, Washington, USA) is a powerful dance artist and a master instructor. Her fluidity, grace, and technical skill is highlighted by her friendly demeanor and clear joy of the dance. She did not inherit the diva gene.

Saqra won titles in Belly Dance USA (Oregon), Belly Dancer of the Year (California), Belly Dancer of the Universe (California), Wiggles of the West (Nevada), and many other competitions. She was voted "Best Kept Secret of 2005" and "Instructor of the Year 2008" by readers of Zaghareet Magazine.

Saqra's journey in this dance form began in 1977 and has led her to study with many of the best dancers in the world, including in America, Canada, Turkey and Egypt. Saqra continues to travel and study both in the USA and abroad and prides herself on proper research for anything she teaches. Folklore, fakelore, and stage creativity: all three are valuable, and Saqra clearly presents for each what they actually are. Saqra is constantly expanding her expertise in the traditional ethnic forms of the dance, the modern stage variants, and the continuing evolving fusion techniques, all these areas combined keep her material fresh and current.

Saqra is widely known as an event promoter, musician, music and instructional video producer, and a registered hypnotherapist in the state of Washington. That is enough stuff to start explaining what she has been doing in belly dance since 1977. Visit her at

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Michael Baxter, Santa Clara, California. In the photo, Saqra is holding her Teacher of the Year 2008 Award from Zaghareet Magazine.

Saqra with Award



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