Photo of Shira



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

Appearance Anxiety in Belly Dance Performance


By Saqra





You try to pretend you are anxious when you're getting ready to perform because of technique or remembering a choreography. However, you actually are uncomfortable with people seeing you.

You think you are too fat, or too old, or too.... and you are feeling judged before you even get there.

This is for you.

I'm going to tell you a story....

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




First, A Story

When I was young, we didn't do household recycling. We talked about the importance of recycling. Individuals did a limited amount, but it was unusual, and people who did it were making a statement.

Move forward 10 years. All homes have recycling bins, even if people dislike the inconvenience and don't always use them.

Move forward another 10 years, and people don't think about it. They just automatically separate their cans, bottles, plastic, and paper, and they look for the proper receptacles for each. They think it is reasonable to be penalized if you don't. That's because recycling had become a normal thing.

Recycling slowly became a concept that was normal.

End of story.

Recycling Bins



Here's Where You Fit In

Now, we all know that our society has created a very narrow picture of what a woman is supposed to look like and supposed to do. Objectively, we all know that is nonsense. So, in our minds we get ready to leave the house and we think "be proud! I am who I am! Girl power!" However, in our hearts we feel judged and not good enough to be seen in public.

The thing to remember is that it really is nonsense. And, just like it makes sense to recycle, it also just makes sense to realize that people come in all ages and types and races and sizes, and they won't stop doing that. Their value (or non-value) doesn't come from what they look like.

Every time you leave your home with your not-media-ready self, every time you are seen dancing and expressing yourself unabashedly in public, you are making a tiny piece of change towards making it normal and a more just, fair, livable world for all women.


You! with your not-flat belly or your crows feet or your flat chest or your [fill in the blank].... You are committing an act of everyday rebellion by dancing in public! An act of rebellion that will echo through the years for the good of all women! Just. By. Being. Seen.

GET DOWN with your sassy rebellious self!  You are part of the change and they aren't going to stop you with judging you.

Your mileage may vary, but we will all go farther together.

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



Copyright Notice

This entire web site is copyrighted. All rights reserved.

All articles, images, forms, scripts, directories, and product reviews on this web site are the property of Shira unless a different author/artist is identified. Material from this web site may not be posted on any other web site unless permission is first obtained from Shira.

Academic papers for school purposes may use information from this site only if the paper properly identifies the original article on using appropriate citations (footnotes, end notes, etc.) and bibliography. Consult your instructor for instructions on how to do this.

If you wish to translate articles from into a language other than English, Shira will be happy to post your translation here on along with a note identifying you as the translator. This could include your photo and biography if you want it to. Contact Shira for more information. You may not post translations of Shira's articles on anybody else's web site, not even your own.

If you are a teacher, performer, or student of Middle Eastern dance, you may link directly to any page on this web site from either your blog or your own web site without first obtaining Shira's permission. Click here for link buttons and other information on how to link.



Explore more belly dance info:

Top >
Belly Dancing >
Index to the Belly Dance Advice Section


Share this page!

On Facebook


 Top > Belly Dancing > Index to the Belly Dance Advice Section

| Contact Shira | Links | Search this Site |