Dancin’ Fool

Well, I did it. Fortunately I’ve never been terribly attached to my dignity.

Yes; this weekend, after only ten lessons, I got up and attempted to belly-dance in front of a (mercifully small) audience.

It didn’t begin well.

I danced the piece a few times in the morning just to make sure I had it secure in my head. I got through it perfectly a couple of times… and then had a total brain fart.

We learned the first steps of the choreography in our very first class, and we’ve been practicing them ever since. They’re not complicated – 8 beats of simple movements, and then we shift our weight onto the other foot and repeat the same 8 movements.

I got through the first 8. Then the memory of how to make the switch and perform the second 8 vanished without a trace, leaving me gaping at my flummoxed self in the mirror.

Try as I might, I couldn’t remember how to do the next 8 beats. And it was exactly the same damn thing as the first 8 beats.

Nope, not an auspicious start.

But after I managed to assimilate that series of moves (again), it seemed like smooth sailing. Our class ran from 3:30 to 4:30, followed by the recital. We practiced during our class, and I was fine. Somewhat confident, even.

I knew this dance. I could do it.

Then the other dancers began to arrive. There were two other beginner classes and an intermediate class, plus the studio’s dance troupe. They all began to warm up and rehearse.

My jaw dropped.

As I watched the other ‘beginners’, it became humiliatingly obvious that our instructor had drawn the short straw this term and gotten stuck with the slow learners.

These women were dancers. And they had costumes, for shit’s sake!

It didn’t help that my friend and I were the only two students performing from our class– everyone else had ‘prior commitments’. (Including my other friend, who fled all the way to Korea to avoid performing. I know it was required by her job. But I still think the timing was suspiciously convenient.)

I sidled over to our instructor and muttered, “Gotta go; look at the time.”

That’s when she laughed and explained that ‘beginner’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘beginner-beginner’. Apparently a lot of students take the Foundations course several times before moving on to the intermediate class.

Okay… but still…

When Hubby arrived to watch, I made sure to point out we were the only real beginner class, so he shouldn’t expect too much. But at least I wasn’t nervous. It’s nice that my worries vanish when I’m absolutely certain I’m going to make a fool of myself.

The dance troupe performed first, followed by two other ‘beginner’ classes.

Then it was our turn.

And I nailed the choreography! I still can’t do the moves well, but I turned and shimmied and waved my arms exactly where I was supposed to. About three-quarters of the way through the dance I realized I hadn’t made a mistake yet, and that’s when I started getting nervous. Fortunately it was a short song, and it was over before I could freak out.

And you know what? I had fun!

We start a new class on Sunday: another beginner course with the same fun and fabulous (and patient) instructor. Maybe I’ll catch on this time…

* * *

Since some of you expressed an unwholesome interest in watching me jettison my dignity, here’s a link to parts of my ‘performance’. The video is clipped and cropped because my friend persuaded me to edit her out. It’s amazing how persuasive death threats can be.

Here you go: http://youtu.be/K-BngqeNQc8

51 thoughts on “Dancin’ Fool

  1. Pingback: The Closet Reveal | Diane Henders

  2. You did great! My friend has bellydanced for years, and finally talked me into taking class in October. I danced for over a decade as a kid, but I’ve gained ::mumblemumble:: pounds since then. I’ve lost over 30 pounds since I started, and I performed in our showcase in April. I loved it, and remembered my choreo, but I didn’t smile…like, at all. I thought I was smiling, but then I checked the tape afterward. Not even a little. I went straight to permanent bitch face.


    • LOL! That’s my default face when I’m trying to learn choreography. My expression is somewhere between “I’m horribly constipated” and “I’m about to kill something with my bare hands”. Fortunately I managed to lighten up a bit for the performance… probably because I was laughing at myself. 😉


  3. I’m impressed! I am mulling over taking a dance class by myself — but NOT belly dancing. I have a back fusion, so I just can’t move my hips like that.


  4. You had me grinning the whole way through the video! You are obviously successful in your new endeavor and you have been hiding some of your talents. What else don’t we know about?


    • Thanks! And I’ll never tell my secret talents… well, until I blog about them… but then they’ll be a solemn secret between me and the bazillion people who are surfing the internet…


  5. Congratulations! So glad to hear it went well for you 🙂 As a teacher, I love watching beginner students dance for the first time, especially if they look like they’re having fun (and every dancer knows how hard it is, we’ve all been there!).


    • Thank you! It certainly wasn’t any magnificent display of dancing, but I did have fun, and, more importantly, I’m learning to move in new ways that challenge different muscle groups. That helps me in my kickboxing, so it’s all good – both fun and productive! 🙂


      • Here’s a thought, if you have an encounter with a “bad guy”, you could distract with very pronounced belly dance moves, then clock him with your kick boxing! WhooHoo! He’d never know what got him. (I like the visual I’m having lolol)


  6. Whoo! That’s totally awesome Diane!! Now if only this blasted moronic WordPress reader allows me to watch YouTube on a separate tab without lagging my laptop too much it’ll be even awesomer!!


  7. Thanks for sharing, Diane. I read your blog today (April 3rd) and had no trouble viewing your dance using the link. You did look like you were enjoying the dance. It was smooth and graceful. Great job! I have always been too self-critical of my jiggly bits to ever display myself in any way publicly. I’d rather fly half-way around the world too.


    • Thanks! I think that’s what I like best about belly-dance – jiggly bits actually make the dance look better. Now if we could only get over our intrinsic belief that jiggly bits are bad… 😉


  8. Wow! And, really, the grin on your face says it all. Diane, you’re fantastic! Congrats on learning – and nailing! – this dance! You really do look great.


  9. You looked very confident – if your knees were knocking, the hips distracted the view.
    And the best part – “my worries vanish when I know I’m going to make a fool of myself” – very freeing.


    • It is very freeing! I’m also finding that the longer I live, the less I worry about making a fool of myself. I’m not sure whether that’s a sign of confidence or a complete denial of reality… but either way it works! 😉


  10. Go you, Diane! You looked like you were having fun… if I ever have to do anything like that I hold a stony expression on my face due to the amount of concentration I put myself through. Nerves make me forget a lot of things, which is why I’ll probably never find myself in a similar situation again!
    I’ve just noticed your comment earlier about the video upgrade – I’m sure you can embed a video in your post – I’ve got some on my Feel Good page and I don’t have the upgrade… hmmm… curious.


    • Thanks, Tom! Yes, the YouTube problem was my fault – I set the video to “Private”, and then nobody could see it. I can embed regular YouTube videos no problem, but I was trying to prevent mine from coming up every time some poor soul searched “bellydance” on YouTube… 😉


  11. VERY nicely done!!

    Same with my first ballroom dance showcase. Freaked, forgot the steps, a sudden gust of whatever, and it all came back just in the nick of time. Now I’m known as the rumba machine. Or rheumatic machine. It varies whether I’m wearing my hearing aids or not…


    • And FYI, I’m positive your friend had a heart-to-hear with the head bean counter where she works. A surreptitious lunch on her tab at some nice but hard-to-find restaurant, and a whispered, “Look, I got a problem. There’s this gig I gotta get out of. Tell you what. You move that Korea trip up a week for me, and I’ll fly coach instead of business for you. Everybody wins, right? Waddaya say?”

      I can smell a tune-up a mile away. You were hosed here. 🙂


    • Thank you! Actually, I was a little surprised at the muscle definition in my arms. I know I have good upper-body strength, but I didn’t realize it would show up on a blurry home video. Cool!

      And hey, maybe you should start belly-dancing, too… 😉


  12. Wow! After a grueling attempt at getting signed into my youtube account, it’s been a while, I finally got to view the video. How neat are you girl! And I was right all along, you really are a beautiful young woman. The scarf was a lovely touch too. I’ll bet your hubby is thoroughly enjoying your dances too.


    • Aw, thank you! I’m going to cherish that “young” comment and re-read it at my 50th birthday party in a few months. 😉

      That was actually the first time Hubby had ever seen me dance – I always practiced while he was away because I was too self-conscious to let anybody watch. I’m not sure if that’ll change now that I’m starting my second class or not…


      • Remembering way back when I did my bit in belly dancing, a couple of the married ladies in the class had remarked that once they had that hip sway and twitch down (I loved that…hip twitch..LOL) their hubby’s had a totally renewed “interest” in them. Hmmm, seems that dance has many benefits.


    • This was actually just a clever ploy to make you think I was going to show you the video…

      Actually, I just discovered that I screwed up and set it to Private instead of Unlisted. It should be fixed now… sorry about that!


    • Thanks! That’s a bummer that you can’t see it… or perhaps a stroke of mercy, depending on how you look at it. I tried to embed it directly into my post, but WordPress won’t let me unless I buy a “video upgrade” for 60 bucks. Grrr.

      My only other option is to make it public on YouTube. And that just ain’t gonna happen! 🙂

      Sorry about that…


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