As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’m taking a beginner belly-dance class. It has been a tremendous learning experience, despite the fact that I have absolutely no natural aptitude for it.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
The word ‘choreography’ has ‘chorea’ as its root.
Dictionary.com defines ‘chorea’ as ‘any of several diseases of the nervous system characterized by jerky, involuntary movements, chiefly of the face and extremities.’ That explains a lot. I’m a word geek. I’m just doin’ it right.
Also pertaining to choreography:
In choreography notes, ‘CCW’ means ‘counter-clockwise’.
It is not a typo for CCR. Which is a relief, because as much as I love Creedence, I just can’t see belly-dancing to ‘Heard It Through The Grapevine’. ‘Bad Moon Rising’, however, would be frighteningly apropos.
Never trust your friends.
The friend who exhorted me not to laugh at her… has belly-danced before. The friend who swore she had two left feet… used to be a cheerleader. Their hip shimmies are perfect, even though the only time they practice is during the one-hour class. I practice every morning, and I still look as though I’m frantically trying to dislodge a barbed-wire wedgie.
If you stand with your feet close together instead of planted sturdily shoulder-width apart, you look more like a belly-dancer and less like you’re about to punch somebody’s lights out.
Unless you’re me. Then it helps, but it doesn’t completely solve the problem. I’m really not planning to punch anybody; that scowl is just baffled concentration…
Belly-dancing is best suited to women who have hips.
When you’re built like a telephone pole, it doesn’t matter how much you shimmy, you still look like a telephone pole… in an earthquake.
If you use an X-rated phrase to memory-associate the names of the moves, you WILL begin to giggle at inappropriate times in the class.
But that’s okay, because giggling is pretty much the only appropriate response to watching me try to belly-dance.
Studio mirrors were created by Satan himself.
I am apparently incapable of shimmying my hips without simultaneously flapping my hands.
This might not be so bad if the objective of the class was actually to impersonate an epileptic penguin. But on the up side, I’ve developed a genuine empathy for tubby flightless birds with neurological disorders.
Start every day with a smile!
It’s hard not to, when I’m confronted by the sight of myself gyrating gracelessly in the mirror every morning.
Which leads me to…
Do not practice belly-dancing while wearing nothing but your underwear and a jingly hip scarf, even behind closed doors in the privacy of your own home.
Or, if you do, don’t describe it to your friends. In a restaurant. Just as the waiter sneaks up behind you. For the record, he had the best deadpan I’ve ever seen.
Humility is a virtue.
I’m so friggin’ virtuous right now, it’s making my eyes water. By the time the lessons are finished, I fully expect to achieve sainthood. Or possibly martyrdom.
How to belly-dance.
Well… no. I haven’t actually learned that yet. But we have six lessons left, so I’m still hoping…
* * *
The instructor keeps going on as if she actually expects us to dance this piece in front of an audience. If anybody’s got an inspirational story about how you started off sucking at something and ended up acing it, now would be a really great to time to share. Even better if you ended up acing it after six lessons…