A Woman's Book of Power lists four basic forms called the sacred shapes of dance. Each figure connects to different emotions and symbolic meanings

Belly Dance and Spirituality - Photo by Susan Caplan

Different shapes convey a variety of messages. Straight lines do not have the same feeling as rounded shapes. In belly dance, the dancer is creating various shapes in space with her body. She has the ability to get her audience to feel particular emotions as they view her dance by selecting certain moves over others. In A Woman’s Book of Power (Berkley Publishing Group, 1998), Karen Andes lists four shapes that she calls the sacred geometry of belly dance.

How a Belly Dancer Can Captivate Her Audience

Andes suggests that dancers consider how linear moves “feel like fighting. With them we cut through space, define or conquer it.” Envision a dancer performing the sharp hip moves and shoulder thrusts of a drum solo. These moves are powerful and dramatic and the music that accompanies these moves gets the audience’s heart pumping.

On the other hand, she says that rounded movements “feel like caresses. With them we curl through space and simply move around any obstacles.” These moves capture the audience’s attention with their hypnotic qualities. The music complements the dance moves. Envision a slow hip circle to a fast drum or a shoulder shimmy to an oud – it doesn’t work as the dancer and the musician contend for the audience’s emotions.

Learn to Dance the Sacred Shapes

  • The Circle and ovals are unbroken symbols of wholeness and unchanging cycles. A group of dancers who perform in a circle emphasize unity. The circle is found in the numerous the hip circles and rib cage circles as well as shoulder circles. The circle also includes ovals and crescents (open circles).
  • The Figure 8 is two intersecting or touching circles or ovals. The symmetrical shape emphasizes balance and duality. Like the circle, the figure 8s doesn’t have a start or an end. Take a figure 8 dance move and make one side larger than the other and the equilibrium is altered. The moves become interesting in a different way because instead of balance it suggests a battle between the two sides.
  • The Spiral is a pattern of growth. It is an open shape, unlike the circle and the figure 8 it doesn’t turn in on itself. The move can go from the center out, hinting at a journey, or from the edge inward, suggesting introspection. The spiral also has space between the curling line that forms the spiral. Spirals are found in spins and other rounded movements.
  • The Snake has a slithering, sexual quality. Torso undulations, body waves, and snake arms are all rippling movements. As Andes points out, snaking moves are open-ended figure 8’s. These are powerful moves that highlight a dancer’s control over her body.

For the belly dancer who performs (or even practices privately) from a viewpoint of the sacredness of belly dance, she can use the four shapes to connect her spirituality to her dance. Women can learn how the movements that they make in dance can convey different symbolic meanings as they add a deeper intention to their dance.

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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