What's so random about Belly Dancing, you ask?
If you knew me you would understand.
Yes, I may have spirit. I may enjoy music and dancing and having fun. These are all somewhat known facts about me.
However, my dance skills are not good.
So the fact that I decided to take a bellydancing class is pretty darn random. The fact that my sister took it with me is just plain crazy. And the fact that I'm blogging about it. Well, that's not so crazy.
Here's a brief history of my dance skills. My parents wisely avoided dance classes for me when I was really little. I had a tendency to run into walls and tables and desks and the like. They figurd that I may kill myself if I had to spin around and do other things like that.
It wasn't until I was about 9 that my parents had the courage to enroll me in a dance program. This program encompassed various aspects of dance including jazz.
I was horrible.
Sure I had the spirit.I tried. It was a summer class and by the end of the summer I had mastered the Step-Ball-Change. That is all I had mastered. I think I was a tree or something. It was horrible.
My sister is talented. She mastered it all.
I dropped out of dance.
Fast forward a few years. I had visions of being in musicals. My parents enrolled me in a musical theatre program. Again I took dance. Again I sucked.
Not a good sign.
I quit the formal dance training (and later learned that I couldn't really sing or act either). When I hit the legal drinking age, or so, I learned that dancing is much more fun after a few drinks, when it doesn't really matter how you look or what you are doing as long as you are moving. This sufficed for several years.
Until this week. When Becky and I decided to learn to shimmy in a bellydancing class.
Sadly my dancing skills had not improved at all.
When we got to the class we were given some interesting scarves to wrap around our waists. I just couldn't help it. I started to do my own little belly dance. And I started to giggle.
And, the thing about me is that when I get into a good giggle, I can't stop. I really mean it. I snort and I breathe funny and the harder I try to stop the harder I laugh. My sister, who has been my sister for the last 28 years could see it coming. And started to shush me. But it was infectious. So there we were, not even into the warm up with me on the floor laughing.
We get started. As the poor teacher is trying to show us moves I'm losing it. We started out with a neck movement. I understand that the purpose of the class is to learn all the various isolation movements and then put them together.
How on earth are you supposed to look at a room full of people doing neck movements and not laugh. I made the mistake of looking at my sister who was trying REALLY hard (and succeeding, I may add) and lost it.
This basically went on the whole class. I'd try something and screw it up, catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and start laughing inwardly. Then I'd look at my sister and see her doing the thing, realize how ridiculous it is that BECKY IS A BELLYDANCER and start to laugh.
So we get through the first 35 minutes. It felt like 6 hours. I was tired. My abs were aching (from the laughing) and I thought to myself "cool, maybe we will have time for coffee."
It's time to "put it all together" and do some dances.
By some I mean 3.
Three separate songs where we had to use all the movements we had learned and put it all together following the teacher.
Do you know how hard it is to shimmy? It's even harder to shimmy and then do a neck thing and then do pelvic thrusts and then prance around the room backwards and forwards. My sister, of course, did not find it that hard. She just followed along. So did I.
The problem is that in any class where i have to follow a teacher I just watch the teacher and pretend I am her. I find it very distracting to look in the mirror. I either start obsessing about the rolls of fat or I throw myself off with my jerky movements. Plus, the teacher is usuallay prettier.
However, since we were at the back (Becky insisted on this - I prefer the front) I was right next to a mirror. And I caught a glimpse of myself.
Was I ever bad.
In my head I thought I was really catching on and learning some of the fine art of belly dancing.
I looked more like a lumberjack trying ballet for the first time.
So I decided that I had had it with this whole sensual dance thing I was going improv!
I skipped. I flitted. I spinned. I shimmied. I loosely followed direction. Becky kept dancing away from me. I didn't care. I was having fun.
At one point the phrase "this is bellydance not interpretive dance" may have escaped from her lips.
But let's be honest.
What did you expect.
When the three songs were over we had cool down. The breathing exercises actually did me in. I just sat in a tiny little ball and laughed. And so did Becky. I finally sucked her in to the giggling of the day.
I think we're going back. Next week.
We are on the hunt for coin belts. I think I would be an even more excellent shimmier if I made noise while I did it. Next week, also, I have decided I'm going to add some leaps in. Just a few balletic movements. Who knew bellydancing could be so fun.