Thursday, 19 March 2009

The Healing Power of Dance

by Nedra Bashira

The power of Middle Eastern Dance to benefit our physical and emotional well being has been proven effective time after and dance have been used successfully to break through to victims of trauma.

Mentally stimulating, physically challenging and socially integrating, this art from has taken many women from the pits of depression to a stronger self, more aware of our potential as women to face challenges with a more positive outlook and a renewed self esteem.

The basic movements of the dance provide the perfect mix of isometric and isotonic resistance to shape our bodies without forming bulk muscle. Bellydance increases our endurance & strengthens our cardiovascular system with as much of a workout as any aerobics class. Our posture is improved which improves our overall health. Our joints and spine are nourished by the synovial fluid, thus resulting in less pain and stiffness from arthritis, and our bone density increases. When we engage in physical activity, our mental & emotional facilities also benefit.

Several years ago I would have never seen myself making the breakthroughs I do today with women who had suffered the cruelty of domestic violence.
I was one of those women.

On the day my husband was arrested for abusing me, the only thought in my mind was "What will I do now?" I was alone with two small children, the only family I had was far away and had busy lives of their own. For years I had been broken down piece by piece. Why did I stay, you ask? Why does anyone stay? There are many reasons... I was afraid, I was alone, and the threats, the things he would say, he would use any threat he could to "keep me in my place." The abuse was not only physical, it was mental, he was downright cruel and played terrible head games... it was so demeaning...

I will never forget the way I felt in the first few weeks, I had never felt so helpless in my life...No, I didn't want him back, there was no way he would ever change...the alcohol, the drugs, the crime... things he hid so well in the beginning... and frankly, I was so numb, I had no idea if I could ever love again.

For so long, I felt so guilty that I had let him push me around like that. He kept me from the things I loved, the people I loved, he closed me off even to my true self. I had become an empty shell...

One day on a walk into work I walked by the local dance studio, the music coming from within was intoxicating, the women were beautiful, young and old, all so full of joy and dancing without a care in the world... I stayed and watched a bit then went off to my job, a stressful job in a local pharmacy, answering phones, handling patients, managing inventory, preparing prescriptions as fast as possible with little or no help. My life was stressful, my job was stressful, the cost of working seemed silly when I gave almost my entire paycheck to pay for child care...I was at a point in my life where I wanted to give up... then I was diagnosed with cervical cancer... I was worn down and actually happy to have a break, even in illness...

For most of my adult life I had studied Yoga, but stopped after I had met my husband . Now, riddled with aggressive depression & constant pain, I found it hard to do anything, but I forced myself to start again, doing almost nothing...I played music again, I started to do more and more everyday...

Weeks go by, I walk up past the dance studio, class was just finishing up and everyone was happily talking with each, I had barely left the house to see another human in months. I was nervous to even be stepping in around other people. I was at the height of my depression, I didn't care how I looked, felt pretty miserable most of the time... but still, something told me to go in... and my life was changed from that point forward.

From the start of my first class, the dance took a hold of me like fire, I couldn't get enough. I had, of course, to follow my body and deal with healing from the cancer, but I truly believe that the dancing healed me, body, mind and helped me work out of my depression and got me around other people, I was physically challenged and I was forced to open my eyes and see just how beautiful I was, inside and out, the hatred & self-loathing dissolved. The damage from the relationship with my husband had made me feel ugly, worthless, good-for-nothing... but I was so wrong....I twisted and twirled and shimmied all the way to the stronger person I am today. I was relaxed, invigorated, healed.

Nowadays you will find me not only teaching and performing Middle Eastern Dance for the general public, but I am also working in the community at every opportunity to help those who have been in my shoes...doing workshops with bellydance, dance therapy, Yoga & pilates, teaching seminars, meeting one-on-one with clients. I like to bellydance and yoga out of my tool box to show these women that they ARE beautiful and that they have this strength and beauty and power right within themselves.

We focus on creating a quality of life that goes beyond just addressing our basic needs as humans, life without joy is empty...and that joy has to be found within ourselves first, before we can share it, it cannot be found in another person...

I want every woman to feel empowered and ready to take on the world on her own when she walks out of my office/ know love & safety, and joy.

Source: The Hip Circle


  1. Every bit of the story byNedra Bashira. Is a complete lie please feel free to call chris silverstein (the abusive husband)at 716-578-5232 if you have any question. SHe never had cancer, never was abused has family in town within 5 miles she is a mentally ill woman. but please call me for more info