Thursday, May 25, 2006

Dawn of the Summer of the Belly.

I'd really like to learn how to dance.

Not ballet--that ship has sailed. Madam Whatshername asked me to leave her ballet class when, at the age of ten, I finally grabbed that damned stick our of her hands that she was always rapping me in the back of the legs with, and threw it across the floor. Straighten your own damned legs. And quit hitting me with that stick.

Not square dancing, which was REQUIRED (I'm not making this up: It was a 9-week unit in PE class when I was in the 8th grade) in Alabama when I was a child.

No, I'm talking about something a little more graceful yet earthy. I hear music, and sometimes I want to move to it, but all I really know how to do is tap my feet. That's why I love running in the morning so much: I love to strap on the Mp3 player, and I've got a playlist of songs that are at just the right cadence to run to. It's kind of like dancing. I'm moving my feet to the beat, at least. But sometimes, when I'm standing in the kitchen, or alone in my classroom, I want to move to music and I don't know how. Besides that, I'd like to learn to move more gracefully. I'm happy with my slowly evolving athleticism, but there have been times when I feel like I kind of lope about, and not in a very girly way. The triathlons and racing are awesome, but I get a yen from time to time to move in a way that is distinctly feminine, even if I'm alone when I do it.

I can't dance. I have no soul or sense of rhythm. I blame my suburban upbringing by midwestern parents. I have no idea how to really move when there's music to move to. When I was younger, I could loosen up by drinking a couple of mai-tai's, enough to drop my inhibitions and move to the music, but I'm no longer in my 20's and mai-tais give me a headache.

So when Regina, another counselor at the agency where I intern, decided to spend some 'down time' showing me basic belly-dance moves, I was immediately intruiged, and I have been ever since. I looked into lessons through the community center, but they had already started, and in the spring I was too busy with work and triathlon trianing.

Each summer I pick a theme, and I decided that this would be the Summer of the Belly. I also had tentatively planned to sign up for Salsa. I bought my hip scarf - a sheer scarf that you tie around your waste that has little jingly things all over it. I had to wait until late April to sign up for classes, since I wasn't a continuing student. When it came time to sit down and sign up for the lessons at the local community college, the course was already closed. All sections were filled on the first day of registration.

Sigh.

I asked Husband to pick up a book about it. I started reading about the history and styles, and about how, unlike many other kinds of dance that have been around for a long time, it allows the body to move in ways that are natural, so that it can be done at any age. It is also a fairly low-impace workout. The time I spent with Regina just doing a few moves for 15 or so minutes gave my quads a little workout, and I was a bit winded.

It occured to me there might be some places here in Albuquerque that teach it. I did some Googling (I am the Google queen) and found a couple. there's lots of information about it on the Internet. Apparently, it's gaining in popularity. (That figures - usually when I decide that I'm interested in something, I find out that I'm one of a million other people that got the same idea at exactly the same time.) Did you know, for instance, that comedienne and gay pride activist Margaret Cho sells her own line of belly dancing wear?

Anyway, one such place in Albuquerque sells blocks of classes very reasonably, and I've contacted them. They've encouraged me to come observe such a class. So, I'm very excited about this. I'm going to observe a class on Tuesday next, and if I like what I see, I'm going to get a block of classes

and this will be the Summer of the Belly.

I'll keep ya posted.

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