Bellydancing With Jackie

“I danced with you!” I said to Jackie.

It hit me as the music stopped.  Jackie and I were dancing together.

We had danced in groups before, but this time it was just the two of us and even though I couldn’t do all the moves really well, I could follow her.  I knew what to do.  It was the first time I felt like I was actually really dancing.

In Beledi Tribal Bellydancing  the dancing isn’t planned, it’s spontaneous.  There’s a leader in a group of two or more dancers.  Everyone watches the leader, and does what she does.  The leader changes throughout the dance.

Through slight movements of the body and eye contact, information is transferred between the dancers.   And the more people dance together the more they get to know the nuances of each others moves.

I saw Jackie dance on stage over the summer the first time I saw the Bennington Beledi Bellydancers in Vermont.  It was seeing them dance and my friend Kitty’s encouragement that made me take my first Bellydancing class.

I looked at them and thought I want to do that.

I’ve been taking classes for a few months now, and it’s as challenging  now as it was the first class.  But not a difficult.  I can see that even I, who has a hard time telling my left from right and can’t clap to a beat, am learning.

All the moves that Jackie and I were doing in the dance were beginner moves.  Just a few of them strung together in different configurations.  And there were times when Jackie had to remind me to “always turn left”  (even as she said it, I had to look at my hands to see which thumb I used to suck when I was a kid, to know which was my right hand) but she was patient and understanding about it.

That’s one of the beautiful things about the class.  No one makes fun of me when I do something wrong, which is a lot.  We may laugh about it, but it’s never mean, it’s expected.   It’s understood that it takes years to learn Bellydancing and even the teachers,  Julz and Kathleen are always reminding us that they are still learning.

There’s always someone to give instruction and encouragement.  The other  more experienced students in the class are just as helpful and generous as the teachers.

I thought back to when I saw Jackie on stage with the rest of the dancers.  And the idea that I had just danced with one of the women who were up on that stage, allowed me ,for the first time, be able to imagine that I might actually be able to do the same someday.

There’s a really good feeling in my Bellydancing class.  For me,I think it comes from a sense of trust.  Trust that no one is going to ridicule me, or make me feel bad about myself, for the way I look or the way I dance.  There’s understanding and acceptance. And that, along with really enjoying learning to Bellydance, is what keeps me going.


2 thoughts on “Bellydancing With Jackie

  1. So glad that you are enjoying this experience and yes someday you too will be leading the group too, there is something so freeing in the art of belly dance and so feminine like you say I love my belly, how many of us women can say that. Here’s a tip I use for Left I stick out your thumb and index finger and it makes an L I have done this most of my adult life. Enjoy the movement and flow of the dance.

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