13 years ago, I stood in my living room trying to shimmy. I don’t remember it being easy. My friend was trying to get me to make an elusive vibration in my hips – she made it look (and sound) so easy. She came over to show me moves and I gave her herbs and vegetables from my garden. This went on for a few months.
Eventually, I got a few things down. I could do a hip circle and made a decent attempt at a camel and snake arms. She told me I should go and take real classes with a woman she knew so I made the phone call. I asked her if I could observe a class – that felt safe – and she said yes, so on Wednesday night off I went to watch my first real bellydance class.
After introducing myself, I sat down in the back corner of the room and watched the women of all ages, shapes and sizes distribute themselves through the room. They spread the arms wide claiming a bit of personal space and shifted to adjust to their neighbors. Barely had warm up begun and the teacher told me I should get up and join them. “Oh, I’m just going to watch this week.”, I said, but she looked at me like I was silly and told me I might as well join them. I figured I came to check it out so before I put my money on the table I probably should really try her class– and I got up – in jeans and sandals.
Warm up was easy – I’d been to a zillion dance classes in my life. Then she went on all manner of shapes with hips and ribs and arms and I was feeling quite lost till she started hip circles – yessss – this, I know!
I think it’s funny now that I can remember exactly what she wore, what the room looked like and so much more, but I don’t remember much else about that first class. Not even how I felt about it when I left. But I do know that I went back for more, and more, and more…