{August 16, 2012}   Taking a Chance on Belly Dance

Have you ever clicked with a person when you first met and felt like you had known him or her for years? Or tried a sport or activity that came so naturally that you felt you were born to do it?

My first experience with belly dancing was…nothing like that. In fact, quite the opposite.

Most (all?) types of dance require qualities I don’t possess, such as flexibility, rhythm, balance, coordination…must I go on? In fact, I’ve spent most of my life avoiding activities that call for those skills.

So taking a belly dance class is way outside my comfort zone. Fortunately for me, I had a fun partner in my crime against dance. My friend Tammy Kolbe agreed to take the class with me through a local Park & Rec department. It was just an hour a week for six weeks…how hard could it be?

I knew it was going to be a challenge during the first class when our instructor, Suzy Swearingen of Spirit Filled Dancer, demonstrated the proper posture. Feet together, knees slightly bent, pelvis tucked, shoulders back, head lifted…

Wait up! You lost me at “tucked!”

By the time I was properly positioned, I could barely think about moving. And then Suzy went on to demonstrate pelvic circles, hip slides and snake arms among other movements. What had I gotten myself into?

Suzy cheered on all of her students, who ranged in age from teens to sixties. She kept us going with her positive comments and helpful guidance. It’s a good thing I have the ability to laugh at myself, or I wouldn’t have returned.

At the end of the second class, Tammy and I were sweating from the workout. Tammy is musically inclined and graceful to boot, so she’s a natural at dancing despite having back problems.

By the time the sixth class arrived, we had been taught shimmies, arm undulations, hip lifts, belly pops (don’t ask), and much more. I could follow some of the steps…sort of.

As if trying belly dance was not enough outside my comfort zone, I’m really pushing myself by including this unedited video of a follow-along dance we performed at our last class. A perfectionist at heart, I’m uncomfortable showing it (I just watched it a second time…change that to really embarrassed) because it’s proof that I’m not very good at belly dancing, or apparently, following along.

But I am good at following through, so I’m happy to add this to my Countdown to 47 List. And as a bonus, I have two cool coin scarves to show for my efforts. Maybe I’ll sign up for another belly dance class after all.



et cetera