Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dance Class at the Civic Centre

Go Away
Go Away
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
Her hands frame her face then glide two inches over her breasts and then her butt, "Crown, beautiful, beautiful." This graceful movement is made to the somewhat Arabic sounding rhythm blasting from a boom box at the front of the room.

I'm in bellydancing class.

My attempt to mimic the movement is not nearly so graceful, though I like to think it's improved since my first effort at this step. It's been 7 weeks, and I have just about reached the point where I can move my hips completely independently of my shoulders. My shimmy no longer looks like a palsied octogenarian trying to get her pants down to go potty. And I've definitely figured out how to make my boobs jump up without moving my knees. You'd be surprised how resistant the boobs and the knees are to disassociating their movements.

I don't think it is possible to imagine a group of women more unlikely to bellydance. We are none of us spring chickens. We range from clearly overweight to just merely pie-laden, and the majority are dressed in loose shirts and forgiving dark sweat pants. There are no real dancers present. We're just a bunch of worker-bees, office drones, mothers and grandmothers.

Yet, our instructor Angie somehow makes this motley crowd beautiful. It's not that she is particularly stunning herself. She isn't. She's a tall, rather average looking woman with no lean figure herself. What saves Angie is that she knows how to move. Moreover, when she moves she believes she is beautiful, and it shows in very gesture and step.

It's incredibly inspiring.

I want to move like that, look like that. More importantly perhaps is that I want to feel like that. I want to lift my head and arms and glide around in the Princess walk like I own this room. I'd like to shimmy so that everything jiggles and gain the discrete control over the muscles in my core that enables a bellydancer to push her nipples straight at you without curving her back or poking out her butt. In short, I want to feel sexy.

DrC believes that bellydancing is a specifically female dance. Unlike ballet or jazz or ballroom, there is no room for the male physique or macho sensibility here in bellydancing world. Every pose and combination appears specifically designed to highlight the beauty of the female form, feminine movement.

What I should have known and seems blindingly obvious to me now is that beautiful, sexy women are made, not born. Take a slightly overweight former cruiser and teach her how to rotate her hips just so, lift the chin, tuck in the butt, smoothly jiggle, shimmy and quiver, and you've got something special. And it doesn't really matter whether or not you, the onlooker, agree with me that I am a beautiful sexy goddess. All that matters is I feel wonderful and beautiful when I hear the bangles on my skirt clash and see the fringe swirl as I turn. I feel special.

During this epiphany, Angie has moved on. We are now strutting around in a large circle, shoulders thrusting aggressively forward in a Goddess Walk -- unlike the pretty, sly and delicate Princess glide, this is a power move. We hold our heads high, breasts up, toe-heel, arms gracefully extended holding imaginary golden eggs. My egg is made of crystal, and there is a glowing green jewel in the center.

Of course it is. If I want to be a jewel toting Goddess in my mind, well that's precisely what I am. It's my imagination. Look at me strut!


judith said...

That's so cool, good on ya! And the Dr. is wrong about no men in Belly Dancing. The men are there to hold the fans and slowly wave them. This dancing can be hot work.

protected static said...

DrC is very, very, very wrong... Well, maybe not about bellydancing per se - but traditional Polynesian dance certainly requires a similar level of muscle group control from both men and women. That this dance form persists suggests that the skills required by bellydancing are not unique to women.

Admittedly, he's probably only ogling the women and not the men. I would imagine that this works in your favor... ;-)