When I want to feel empowered, I dance. Dance has carried me though times of greatest challenge and greatest joy. But I never dreamed I would be performing Burlesque on my 53rd birthday, 2-1/2 years post-mastectomy.
Being born the day before Halloween, most of my birthday parties have included costumes. The last time I had a party was when I turned 50, a few months before my breast cancer diagnosis. I didn’t have another party until this year, and I was not planning a costume party. But a week before the party, Goddess whispered in my ear… “DANCE!” and it began to emerge. A roaring 20’s theme and a Moulin Rouge-style burlesque performance. “REALLY?” I asked… and the answer was Yes. Really.
I set up a dance studio in my garage. Grabbed the mirrored closet door and threw a rug down. Spent hours finding music. Went to the Halloween store for a few costume items. Chose a stage name: Ruby Pearl. Watched some YouTube instructional videos. And I dress-rehearsed all week.
I have a long history of bringing sacredness to dance. As a belly dancer for many years, I taught women of all ages, shapes, and sizes to wiggle and jiggle and love their bellies. My intention for this birthday performance was to embody beauty, sensuality, grace, and empowerment for the people (especially the women) who would be watching. To show them what’s possible. And it blew way past all my hopes and expectations.
What was so sacred about this dance for me was that I’ve been calling forth my own Shakti to be expressed in a more balanced way, instead of only within the container of my marriage. After spending many years recovering from sexual addiction, I had my Shakti wrapped up tight and saved only for my husband. But there comes a time when I get to trust that I can bring my full life force expression to the world and that it will be appropriate and welcomed. That time is now.
The burlesque performance was a true full-circle, Reclaiming Aphrodite experience. I had so much fun and the audience absolutely loved it. The women came up to me afterward feeling so empowered and inspired!
It wasn’t until I was looking at the videos the next day with my Beloved that I put two and two together. Women who are dancing with cancer need to know what’s possible in the realm of reclaiming their bodies, their sensuality, and their self-confidence. I think I have just the ticket…
With so much love, respect, and joy, Ruby Pearl (Amrita Grace)