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…
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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