24 October, 2013

My Hips Don't Lie: Belly Dancing (Wk. 1)

Who am I kidding...

I could never stick to a sport. I've always wanted to be an expert at something. To have a skill that I had years and years of practice at.

I tried netball for a year when I was in year seven. When I didn't get affirmation from my coach after our final game I was devastated. So I gave up.

I played tennis for two years with my younger sister. One day my grandpa came to pick us up. At the end of the lesson he grunted, "you've been playing for this long and are still playing like that?" I gave up.

I did Taekwondo for one year. I felt so self conscious and awkward the whole time. I thought being Korean gave me brownie points.. but it didn't help me at all. I gave up.

The only sport I did for more than two years was swimming. Although every kid did swimming when they were young so it isn't much of an achievement. And even after all those years of swim class I still don't know how to dive.

If we had free time at the end of the lesson we practiced our diving. As the other kids excitidely rushed to the edge of the pool, I sunk my way to the back of the line, letting people go in front of me.

Hoping that maybe, just maybe, the class would end before it was my turn to dive. In front of everyone.

It wasn't until year 10 that my younger sister and I started Hip Hop dancing. Even though we only did this for a year, we moved on to Latin Ballroom, which I did until my HSC exams.

I do not have years of experience in dance, but it has become something I throughly enjoy. I like dancing because it doesn't involve hand-eye coordination and you don't need to worry about letting a team down.

Dance can involve partners and groups, but it starts off as being something that can be perfected individually. Even though I am not naturally talented in it, I still like to do it.

Since this year is all about trying new things, the second course I chose to do for the next two months is Belly Dancing!

Feel free to play this youtube clip and let it run in the background. It is a Belly Dance piece that features the Arabic Darbouka (Goblet drum.) Beware it gets pretty repetitive, but it may make some of you want to shake those hips.

The thought of attending my first Belly Dancing class was very frightening. The only details we were given by email was: "bring a hip scarf and a water bottle."

However, my expectations and worries about the class evaporated as soon as I walked in. It was exciting hearing new music and being surrounded by people who were just as hopeless as me.

The dancing itself was fairly straight forward and basic in the first lesson. We were taught the beginners fundamental movements and steps.

It was actually great being able to feel the awkwardness in the room as everyone hesitantly attempted the moves. The jingling that the coin belts made meant that there was a lot of spontaneous shimmy shaking.

The one hour class flashed by and wasn't as long as I would have liked it to be. After the initial warm up and introduction we started learning a dance routine. This would be put together by the fourth week.  

Tips to get you through Belly Dancing:

1. Don't judge a book by its colour.

I was fairly prejudice when it came to imaging what our dance teacher would look like. In my mind she was a beautiful young middle eastern woman, dressed in jewels and chiffon. Now you could imagine my reaction when I was greeted by a caucasian woman in her mid 60s. But don't get me wrong, she knows her stuff. And she was quite intimidating as the class struggled to keep up.

2. Bring a friend.

I was never going into the class wanting to become a Belly Dancer. I chose it because I knew it would be different and fun. What I didn't expect was that so many people came with their friends. I was still able to laugh about how uncomfortable I felt, but it wasn't the same. If you decide to do something like this, I would suggest bringing a friend. This way you can make the most out of the experience by laughing at each other.

3. Learn to laugh at yourself and have fun.

Now for someone like me, it is very hard to laugh at myself when missing the mark. Now you may ask; What kind of person are you? I am... a perfectionist. Yes, a perfectionist. Generally it is hard for me to accept that I am not the best at something. But reality is - I'm not. And the best way to get through dance classes is to accept that you may feel ridiculous, and that sometimes you are just no good.

I want to learn how to feel comfortable being uncomfortable; laughing at myself instead of criticising when I make mistakes.

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