September 5, 2007

Dance Tall, Carry a Big Stick

Last night was the beginning of my second round of belly dancing classes. That's right, I'm a belly dancer. Well, a novice belly dancer, but a belly dancer none-the-less. I'm not really sure what the end result, if any, of my classes will be, but for now belly dancing is a really fun way to spend my Tuesday nights. Because let's face it, otherwise I'd be doing such exciting activities as washing my dishes or watching Oscar run into walls while chasing a laser pointer.

As I said this class is my second round, yet it's still considered a level 1 class. I'm calling it level 1.1. I took level 1 with two of my co-workers and having not gotten enough belly dancing, we signed up for level 2. However, we weren't quite ready yet. We first had more work in level 1. It turns out that before we learn how to belly dance using canes, we had to master smaller and lighter objects - namely finger cymbals and veils.

Since the class is still level 1, anyone could sign up - beginners and non-beginners alike. As a result, our first level 1.1 class was the same basic movements I mastered over the previous eight weeks in level 1.0. When we began with the same old movements, I immediately assumed the first class would be a breeze.

Belly dancing is very precise and very technical. A movement, such as making a wide circle with my hips, looks simple, effortless and graceful when done by my instructor, Erika. But doing is much different than observing. The first time I tried this same movement, I practically fell over. Erika’s been teaching for a while, so to ensure we're doing a movement correctly she breaks down every move. For example, this one circular hip motion is divided into four moves and then slowly put together until it is one fluid movement.

In level 1.1, we did these slow, controlled movements for each and every move I originally learned months ago. I am happy to say there was a marked improvement between my first 1.0 and first 1.1 class. This time, I was more graceful. I had control (and never once felt like I was about to fall over). Aside from seeing my control in the wall-sized mirror, I could feel it. The slow, controlled movements were just that. And because they were so controlled, they registered more with my muscles. I did these same moves for the first time in July, but I know I didn't do them correctly. It was a delight to learn that this time I was.

So while I may not have learned any new moves in level 1.2 yet, I did learn that those I already know are being done correctly. In no time, I should be wielding a cane.


kelsalynn said...

You're going to be the best belly dancer I know Amy!

PS: I don't know any belly dancers.

your sister said...

Is the cane so you don't tip over?

Kristin said...

Where are you taking these classes? I want in on the belly dancing action.