Belly Dancing a New Twist on Workout

I was a little nervous about my first belly dancing lesson last night. Would I be the only new student? Would the instructor laugh at me? Would I even be able to make those jangles jingle? I was arriving early as instructed, but I wasn’t sure if it was to fill out forms or…?

The building, located in the old downtown area of the our city, was unmarked except for a sign for a “dispensary.” Now, if you don’t live in Colorado, you may not be privy to this type of business. A medical supplies company? That was my first guess and I do live in Colorado. But my second guess was confirmed when I walked around to the back of the building and found suffocating cigarette smoke and several men in scrubs smoking them (cigarettes, that is).

“I’m actually here for –“ I began.

“The dance studio? Go up the stairs and to the end of the hall,” said one of the smokers huskily. So that was my first encounter with a medical marijuana dispensary, which somehow seems to go just fine with belly dancing.Belly Dancers’ Scarf

As it turns out, there were only two students in addition to the instructor, who was very down to earth, friendly, and easy going. The instructor spent the time before the other student arrived explaining how to stand. That’s right – belly dancers have so much to think about, including how to distribute their weight, where to look, and how to position their head, arms, knees, and of course hips – that first you have to learn how to stand.

The Basic Bump

We also learned the basic bump (guessing that’s not the technical term) and some arm movements. The instructor only smiled congenially instead of laughing, and I didn’t feel even like too much an idiot. Since I’d just worked out in the gym, the over-the-head arm movements in our class irritated my bad shoulder a bit and it occurred to me that I may not be able to make the full, fluid movements with my arms. But I’m hoping it was only because I’d just hit my back pretty hard with weights.

My daughter, a little dancer her in own right, was very impressed and asked if I could teach her some moves. Immediately ambivalent, I gave her a vague affirmation and hoped the subject wouldn’t come up again. Uh, this is a grownup dance, sweetie. People tend to raise their eyebrows and start mumbling things when you mention it. Or can it be just a beautiful dance of self expression? I’m not entirely sure yet. All I know is it might be good exercise, fun, and different, and I’m going back next week.

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