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Gilded Serpent presents...
Belly Dance Wisdom –
For Fitness, Pregnancy and a Divine Sexuality
Book Review by Surreyya

As a dancer, artist and/or musician, you are hopefully growing and meeting your goals on your special path and also reflecting back on the journey. Moreover, if you are smarter than a wet broom, you are hopefully looking back on those experiences with warm memories, renewed wisdom and an appreciation for what you have achieved (and for those that helped you achieve it). I gather that Daleela Morad did that. One day, maybe for no reason at all, she reflected and had an epiphany and wanted to share that “aha!” moment with anyone she could touch and bless with her experiences.

This book, although not as deep on certain subjects as some may expect, does a great job at rustling the leaves away from a crooked sidewalk or blowing the dust off an old spice jar revealing an inner glow of warmth to share with others.

It reminded me of baking cookies with my grandmother and learning all her special secrets for the first time. There are so many subjects covered, it would take many books detailing hundreds of pages to get purist with it. Rather, the information is served like a long afternoon of tapas and nice tea or wine, letting you savor and explore different ideas and purposes alike. From basic health and fitness, self-esteem, instruction, dance resources, dance movements to help with pregnancy, to costuming and a profound feminine view on sexuality and sensuality, Daleela offers a diplomatic invitation of “awareness to” and “experience with” a wide range of often controversial subjects in this community.

Daleela Morad is a UC Regent’s Scholar and teaches belly dance at UC Davis. She has studied and performed around the world, and also holds a Masters degree in Marriage, Family and Child Therapy. Her tone as an author provides accessibility and easy reading through clear and concise instruction and example. While there’s no hiding that the print quality of the photos inside is poor - I am hoping that this is just a first run of books with an opportunity to improve the clarity. Thankfully, Daleela’s instruction and explanation of exercises, costuming, and other prose make up for a bad print run.

Sometimes you get so caught up in a profession, you forget why you came to it in the first place. Sometimes you just don’t know how to ask or where or how to get started with dancing, because that first step is so monumental. This book reminded me of the “baking cookies” moments I had when I first began dancing, and the warm glow of “the sisterhood” everyone kept talking about.

This is not a book for purists on one specific topic. This is however a book for everyone, new or experienced with Belly Dance. It would make a great gift for students, sisters, daughters, mothers, and friends alike.

The mother to daughter, sister to sister, woman to woman sharing of a divine feminine spirit and wisdom ring paramount in this book. We all find ourselves at uniquely challenging times and turning points for one reason or another at a variety of ages, life’s blessings, tragedies and achievements. A little wisdom never hurt anyone – even if it confirms your own.

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