Friday, June 22, 2007

Belly Dancing

A couple of months ago, the grapevine brought to my ears rumours of a belly-dancing class being held nearby. Now belly-dancing had never been one of my ambitions, had never even entered my consciousness as a possible activity, but out here classes of any sort are few and far between. We had a yoga class going a couple of years ago, but then the teacher moved and as I am terribly un-self-motivated and need a class environmnent to keep up with any form of exercise, I relapsed back into the 'I get enough exercise running around after the kids' mode.

My informant swore that belly dancing was fun and that she came away from it feeling several inches taller. It was close by, just a few women and my son's school teacher was teaching it. So I went along and it was indeed fun. Abdominal muscles I'd forgotten ever existed came back from hibernation and I did feel taller. I was several weeks behind the others, but managed to get the hang of some of the moves. The main thing is to keep your head still while moving hips or chest muscles. It's not just about doing alarming rolls of belly muscles luckily. My favourite move is one called maya that is a hip figure-of-eight on its side, side to side.

I missed a session one week and came back to find that we were all set to give our first performance - horrors! - I was only just getting the hang of combining arm and body movements. One of the girls was leaving though and had proposed a strictly family party, combining with the drum and marimba group. They were to play for us and we would listen to them.(A marimba is a type of xylophone with wooden keys)

So yesterday, Midwinter, was the day. I'd got out a sequinned skirt, sewn a length of jingly coins onto a black top, borrowed a jingly belt (belly dancing just isn't the same without the jingles, you're making music with your hip circles), put on some eye make-up, which I'd also borrowed as it is so long since I last used mine they've practically dried up,, and driven to another farm where we were to dance on the lawn.

We had a beautiful still night with stars, after a day of the berg wind, a warm wind from the mountains that inevitably brings rain a couple of days later, but in the mean time makes it unnaturally warm for midwinter. Performance nerves were helped by the semi darkness and the minmal audience. All but two of those present were either dancing or playing drums or marimba - I'd left my family behind having their supper, as an audience of small children giggling at their teachers and mother wiggling their hips, seemed to be surplus to requirements..

We performed our set dance that we mostly remembered and kept together, except for occasional instances of landing on sprinklers, then relaxed and listened to the musicians perform. In no time our jingly hips were twitching in time to the music and we started some impromptu dancing to provide a jingly percussion for the drummers. I haven't danced so much in years. I now need to find my own jingly belt, so that I can practise at home!


  1. how great is that! i am not much of a dancer (except for 12 years of ballet and my fair share of ballroom dancing, which is big back home), but did you know that belly dancing is now the new yoga for pregnant women in vienna? my friend swears by it to get through labour (she should know, she's got 4 kids)... and belly dancing is so much better than pole dancing, which has taken the US by storm (even girls as young as 4 do it... what has the world come to)!

  2. I have always wanted to try belly dancing... but completely lack the courage! I always love watching Indian dancers because they really don't seem to care that they don't have washboard tummies - they just put on the jingly outfits and go for it. I think it's their confidence I admire more than anything else. Well done you!!


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