Our Belly Best

Posted by on April 3, 2013 at 9:49 pm :: No Comments

For years, I have been taking belly dancing classes off and on. Usually, I’m swaying among near strangers so when my friend Robyn expressed interest in learning how to shimmy, I was all over that. As a Christmas present, I signed both of us up for a class lead by my favorite dance teacher. After six weeks of instruction, we performed our gypsy tambourine routine to an audience of over a hundred. All in all, it was another fantastic opportunity to improve my hip skills, to work my ab flab, to entertain my hubby, and to hang with my buddy.

In my excitement over having a compadre in my class, I may or may not have forgotten to mention to Robyn that we would not be taking a beginners course. My preferred teacher only instructs an intermediate class so I typically stick with that one. Perhaps I should have passed this information along to Robyn beforehand? Perhaps. When she realized she would be the only un-undulated amongst us, she was a little intimidated. However, although she had never belly danced before and was the lone novice of the group, she picked up the movements quicker than most would have. Way to go Robyn! During our last lesson, all the dancers gave her an enthusiastic round of applause for her effort and progress.

Having Robyn in my class was a treat.

Having Robyn in my class was a treat.

Sadly, Robyn couldn’t make it to our performance at the Gypsy Hafla, an annual event that involves all of the belly dancing students and many of the local professional dance troupes, so she missed a unique experience. Admittedly, recitals are always a little stressful but they are also more fun than you’d expect. The Hafla audience, mostly comprised of family and friends of the dancers, is typically very encouraging and forgiving. Jason claims that the girl power is so overwhelming at these affairs that the men present feel like maybe they shouldn’t be. It’s okay men; we accept your company though we don’t require it.

A hafla is a party so while we danced our audience snacked away and when all the performing was done the dancers, as a collective, took over the stage and started grooving.

A hafla is a party so while we danced our spectators snacked away. Then, when all the performing was done, the dancers, as a collective, took over the stage and started grooving.

My class didn’t have any major mishaps during our number, although I think many of us suffered from stage fright-induced forgetfulness. Luckily, my bout with that condition only lasted about two seconds. Hooray for the Rachel memory trap!

I always find belly dancing relaxing despite the exercise involved. Plus, with a friend to enhance my enjoyment, this particular course was even more excellent. And our recital, though Robyn-less, provided the perfect mix of motivational terror and performance elation to complete the experience, like a scary cherry atop my dance sundae. At both class and bash, I had a belly good time.

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