Sunday, December 9, 2012

Belly Dance Decision

When I was between 2 and 4, we lived in Ismir, Turkey. My father was in the Air Force and he had recently returned from his tour of duty in Thailand. It was the first foreign country I had traveled to, having moved to New Mexico from Maine, shortly after I was born.

The air was rich with culture. You could walk down the cobblestone streets and go from radio to radio playing music, overlapping in cacophony as you left the zone of one person and entered the zone of another.

In the evenings, a man would climb one of the minarets and chant out the call to prayer. The whole scene was both overwhelming to the senses and mesmerizing. We stayed in one of the hotels when we first moved to the city.

The hotel provided evening entertainment by way of belly dancers, young women who were working for their dowry. One of the women was so fluid, graceful and flexible, it was like watching the most beautiful serpent dance. She also was able to balance a candelabra on her belly. She must have noticed my studied gaze, because she started asking my mother if she could take me up to her room while she practiced.

I vaguely remember a room filled with rugs and knick knacks, and on the coffee table in front of the divan where I sat was a silver platter with Turkish pastries. I couldn't get enough of her. Something in me craved to move like she did, becoming at one with the music. When I asked my mother later if I danced in a more male or female style when I was little, she said, mysteriously, "You just got it."

We left Turkey when I was 4 and moved to Germany, where I would spend my next 4 years. Even though Germany had good traditional music, which we discovered while we were touring, it didn't seem to call my soul to dance; but the food was great.

And so, dance slipped out of my life until I was 16 in Texas and panicking over my prom. My Mom, who had taken the opportunity with my Aunt and our next door neighbor to study belly dancing while we lived in Michigan, showed me some couples steps and encouraged me to dance without holding hands, as was now becoming vogue.

And so dance awakened was again in me, and with my love of music, I couldn't get enough, although I was afraid of formalized dance instruction and choreography for the next 26 years. I married at 28, and the dancing became very subdued. My soul was crying out for more, until we separated and I moved to Kentucky. There, a woman I met invited me to a free swing dance lesson. Over the next 10 months, I worked my way into twice a week lessons and was hanging out with the swing dance crowd. Before I left Kentucky to pursue a job in Utah, another friend was selling her red baladi belly dance skirt, and I took the opportunity to buy it for her half of what it's actually worth.

I met my new best friend Robin where I now work when I first started working there. I went to an event at my church where she was selling some of her photos. On the next table over was a coin hip scarf in the same color as my skirt. It didn't take much longer until I was 20 dollars lighter in my wallet and the proud owner of the beautiful scarf.

At work the next day, I mentioned my find to a friend in the break room, and she showed me the list in her hand of available continuing education fitness classes. At the top of the list was a Belly Dance Fundamentals class. She, I, and 4 other girls signed up for the class. When I saw the syllabus on the first day of class, I almost freaked out: we were expected to learn a choreography in the last few weeks of class.

While the class continued on, my instructor invited me to various Belly Dance shows, and one of those was the day long Spring Fest, hosted by Thia. There, my body couldn't stop moving to the music, and I met Kitty Screwfoot, and a few people that would ultimately become my teachers. Kitty is now my mentor, and my first instructor wound up taking me private.

While I was at Spring Fest, I found this red sequined top that matched my skirt and hip scarf for only 50 dollars. Later I returned to the same merchant and committed myself to belly dancing by purchasing a beautiful brown costume that came with a bra, belt, skirt and veil for 250 dollars. It was a tough decision to make, but I haven't regretted it.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,Its a nice post and unique information related to your belly dance decision.Thanks for your lovely post.

    Addy Watson
    Private Dance Lessons