Friday, June 16, 2006

What is it with old ladies and bellydancing?

That questions was asked of me lately, but I honestly can't remember who asked it. I was thinking earlier today that the "old" may entirely have been inserted by my own subconconsience, as we are want to do, and then insist that we didn't do.

I'm not sure what it was that drew me to Oriental Dance (one of the preferred terms). I will say that, as a middle-class suburban white girl, it has been pounded into me over a lifetime that I should hate my body if it is not super-model perfect and that I should, in particular, hate all parts between the knees and shoulders. Several honorable men have labored to educate me against this falacy, but they couldn't overcome a lifetime of societal conditioning. Keep those things covered, for the love of God - nobody wants to see that!

As well, the messages include that if I am to embellish or use those parts of me, it should be for someone else's use: children, mates, etc.

I went to my first bellydance classes this week at Farfesha Studios in the 'Buerque. I attended at a couple different times to get a sense of what teachers I'd like the best.

I loved it. Although I can't speak for others, here is what I like and why I'm going back:

  1. It is a completely woman-friendly space. Nobody ogles, makes lewd comments, or acts catty. The women there did not know each other, but there was a certain happy satisfaction in the air. It was charged with anticipation, and we chatted about superficial, girly things. The comfort level of the room, and all instructions were tuned to a 100% feminine clientele, including an admonishment that "You can't see skinny hips move. Eat some cake!"
  2. Once I got over my intial awkwardness, I bared the belly, and I found that it was by far NOT the least attractive one there, but nobody seemed to care. Everyone was pretty confortable with themselves, even an extremely large woman who, I found out later, was a professional dancer.
  3. You get to drape myself in pretty, beaded, gauzy, jingly things. It's like playing dress-up.
  4. Remember when you were little and you danced in front of the mirror alone? You get to do that in dance class.
  5. It sounds cliche, but I felt empowered when I left there. I felt womanly, with a renewed idea that I am NOT a man, and that my body does not move or look the same as a man's body, and that it's a perfectly acceptable body.
  6. I like feeling graceful. Racing around in triathlons is great for exploring what my body is capable of doing in a strong, enduring sense, but dance class allows me to explore what my body can do is a graceful sense.
  7. Two words: toned core.

Do I plan to get on a stage? No. Endeavor to make Husband feel like a sultan? Maybe. After all, his birthday is coming up soon...and there's father's day, Christmas, anniversaires, and well, hell, every day is a celebration of some sort, right?

But mostly, this is my thing. For 60 minutes once or twice a week, I get to spend learn ways to move to music, toning my body and making it do things I didn't know it could do, and I'm feeling strong.

And that is what "it is" with old ladies and bellydancing.


  1. I cannot tell you how jealous I am! I've always wanted to try belly dancing - it's just so damn sexy!

  2. Belly dancing is so completely feminine and so sexy....and yet, I've read, it was developed to strengthen the core muscle to ease labor and make for easier childbearing. It is completely a woman thing.

    Thank you for visiting my site. I've been lurking at yours for quite a bit I'm honored to have had you over.

  3. So happy to have found you! Would you be interested in joining my group blog? I just started it, and I would love to have bellydancers from all over post about happenings and bellydance in general.


  4. I love the spirit of this post! I have a belly dancing tape that still has the celaphane on it.. maybe I'll unwrap it.. mmmmm... I remember when I was a little girl sticking one end of my mom's scarves in my socks and the other end in my panties - while I pretended to be "Jeannie" of "I Dream Of Jeannie".. baa ba! baba-baba-babaaaaba... hehehehehe.. i can hear the tune in my head now..

  5. Oh I am glad that you want to be part of the blog. I actually need to get your email address so I can send you the group link through Blogger. :) You can email me here: aimeeroo(at)care2(dot)com.

  6. how friggin' cool!! i, too, am jealous of you for doing this. don't laugh or judge me, but after watching shakira's (and wyclef's) "hips don't lie" video, i seriously, for a fleeting moment, considered enrolling in a class. now, after reading your post, i just might have to consider it yet again. good, good stuff!


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