Belly Dancing

June 28, 2013


I’ve been in a bit of a creative rut lately. My work days are filled with meetings and coaching sessions – and while those are wonderful, I’ve been missing the actual making part of what I do. Plus, I reserve lots of my energy for work and there’s just not a lot left to give on the evenings and weekends. I like to recharge by doing yoga, working out, going climbing, or cooking a new meal – but those things have become the norm. Lately I’ve been craving some sort of new hobby.

About a month ago, just before leaving for Mexico, I was craving some Indian buffet for dinner. As I was loading my plate with saag paneer and dahl I noticed a woman decked out in belly dancing gear loading up a to-go container with rice and tikka masala. I asked “Are you a belly dancer!?” She responded “Lord, I should hope so dressed like this.” I asked her where she practices and she gave me a card for a dance studio she works at. She told me intro classes were on Wednesdays at 6:30. I knew I was about to be out of the state for a month of travel but I promised to pop in for a class once I returned.

So I’m back – and this last Wednesday I finally made my way to the belly dancing studio with my friend Claire. We were greeted by the same dancer I met at the Indian buffet restaurant, sign in, and head to a mirrored room full of newbie belly dancers. The teacher is a proper English woman in her late fifites or early sixties. She’s decked out in a cream full body leotard layered with a black high cut leotard covering her torso – and of course she’s wearing leg warmers. She’s taking the students through a gentle warm-up and I think “this is legit.” She instructed us to tie a scarf around our waists and jump in. We spend the next hour shimmying our tight hips and learning a few basic belly dancing moves. And it was so. much. fun.

As we were leaving class Claire and I perused the elaborate costumes and jingly scarves available for sale in the lobby. I almost purchased a scarf but remembered that my mom has one that surely I can borrow. So here’s where I reveal that I grew up performing in the Medieval Fair with my mom and brother (you can read all about it on my sister’s blog here). It used to be my embarrassing secret but now I think it’s cool that I got to have such a fun childhood – and it’s what helped launched my brother’s career in the circus sideshow. Anyway, at some point my mom must have been some sort of gypsy belly dancing character because I’m positive she’s got some jingly scarves and finger chimes stored away. So this weekend I’ll be raiding my mom’s costume bin, watching YouTube videos of belly dancers (and Shakira, of course), and anxiously waiting to return to the studio next Wednesday.

Have you ever tried belly dancing? 

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