It's really impossible to belly dance with an injured knee.
I wear pantaloons when I dance, black pantaloons made from yards and yards of billowing fabric, and no one can see my knees. But when my hips shake in a shimmy, the movement comes from scissoring my knees. When I change levels, my body sinking low and then even lower, the movement comes from bending my knees. Even when I keep my lower body still and do chest circles or snake arms, moving my upper body to the drum beat, my knees are bent to protect my lower back and keep myself in good dance posture.
When I hurt my knee at the end of January, stretching the medial collateral ligament and pinching the cartilage, I had to give up belly dancing for a couple of months, along with snowboarding, cross-country skiing, ice skating, and pretty much any activity that involved the use of my legs. I spent the month of February sitting in by the fire. Even walks on level ground would make the knee ache at night. Inactivity makes me introspective and melancholy; it was a difficult month.
During March, the pain had lessened enough for me to use my knee. The injury didn't stop me in early March from walking all over the City Where the Phoenix has Become a Cliche. The injury didn't stop me from walking up maybe a million spiral stone staircases in churches and other old buildings during my trip to the Country Where People Drink Lager in Pubs. And it didn't certainly didn't stop me from walking all through the hilliest part of the City Where Artist Friend Once Spent Lazy Afternoons in a Cafe Watching Women Saunter by Wearing Black Fishnet Stockings. In fact, I stopped with my daughter at a store in that Hilly Section Near the Famous Basilica to buy a red hip scarf and top, both covered with dangling coins, to wear as part of a belly dancing costume once my knee got better.
And finally, spring is here. Well, almost here. I've still got snow in my yard. But gradually, the knee has gotten better. It doesn't wake me up at night any more, it doesn't hurt when I bend it, and mostly, I no longer even think about it. I can run up and down the stairs without pain. Finally, it's healed. I get a twinge once and a while, but at last my body is beginning to feel whole again.
I can hike again. I can climb hills and jump over puddles without pain. I can run. I can climb the spider web at the playground and slide down the green slide. I can knee down on the floor without screaming in pain. I can put my pantaloons on, crank up the Middle Eastern music, let the drum beat throb through me, and dance.