And this is why I suck at belly dancing

Posted on June 13th, 2011

In what can only be described as a moment of pure insanity I decided to take belly-dancing lessons. Yes, I, a person who has been known to flop around on a dance floor like a dying fish, decided a dance class was a good idea.

Now, I didn’t enter into this lightly. I saw a friend whom I hadn’t seen in a while and she looked fabulous. Her tummy was gone. I mean GONE. Her waist was tiny. Her arms were toned. And she attributed it all to belly dancing, which she was inspired to try after watching Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” video. So when I saw the belly dancing class in my local city rec catalog, I had to try it.

Unfortunately, in my quest for a tiny tummy and toned arms, I forgot one basic thing. I am the most uncoordinated person on the planet. I once fell out of my car—when it wasn’t moving—and broke my ankle. Last June, I tripped over my own shoes and broke my foot. For obvious reasons, I should not be belly dancing.

And yet, I am. Sort of. Well, I’m not so much dancing as I am arguing with my body about how to dance. Take my ears, for example. Apparently, a basic belly-dancing move is to raise your arms, link your hands and move your ears from side to side. Just your ears. Not your head.

Unfortunately, the last time I looked, my ears were attached to my head. In fact, while in class my ears remained stubbornly stuck and refused to move without my head. I tried over and over again to make them move separately. But did they? Oh, no, not MY ears. My ears sat on the side of my head absolutely refusing to make one move without my face.

Now I know how Vincent Van Gogh felt. I hated my darned ears. But I couldn’t focus on that because we moved on to “snake arms.” Turns out snake arms are when you move one arm up while the other arm goes down. Now as I write that, it sounds so dang easy. But like my ears, it was not.

I moved one arm up. The other arm shot up so fast it nearly bonked one of my unmovable ears. So I tried again. Left arm up, right arm up. For pete’s sake, not one part of my body was cooperating. I watched the mirror and moved again. Nope, both arms popped up at the same time.

So I reversed it. Right arm up, left arm…up. Clearly, I’d be spending the rest of my life with my arms flipping up and down at the same time. I glared at them in the mirror. I told my arms to cooperate or else. I didn’t know what “or else” would actually entail, but I was starting to think that between my arms and my ears I wouldn’t have any body parts remaining when class was over.

Finally, my left arm moved up and my right arm moved down. Yes! Success! Take that you stupid ears! Of course, my arms didn’t doing anything near the seductive, almost lazy snake arms of the teacher—but they moved independently and frankly, that was all that mattered.

And then we moved to the belly.

Now you’d think that would be easy. After all, I have ample belly work with. It’s not like I have six pack abs sucking into my ribs. Nope, I’ve got belly and I’m not afraid to use it. I could move mountains with this belly. Twirl it in a circle and I’m dancing.

Not quite.

Turns out you have to use your hips—which again, I have quite ample hips so they should be able to move. But sadly, like the rest of my body they refused to cooperate. I moved one hip. I moved the other. My hips and belly didn’t move like the instructor’s did. Instead, my belly looked like a bowl of Jell-O flopping helplessly over the waistband of my sweats.

At the end of the class, I hurt all over, I couldn’t figure out how to make my ribs move without my belly following and my stupid ears were still not wiggling on their own. Despite all that, I had the best time. And I vow that next week, I will look more like Shakira and less like a Jell-O wiggler.

Oh, please. I can dream, can’t I?

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3 Responses to “And this is why I suck at belly dancing”

  1. Kids Martial Arts Houston Says:

    Although dance is often accompanied by music, it is also presented independently or provide its very own accompaniment (tap dance).

  2. OneMommy Says:

    It sounds just like I picture I’d look like if I’d try belly dancing. It sounds fun, but I know I would just NOT be coordinated enough to do it. I better stick to chasing kids all day to stay in shape.

  3. Laurie Says:

    It amazes me what I am willing to do in my search for a flat tummy. Seriously. I look like all kinds of a fool, dancing away :)

    It is a total blast, though.

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