I got out of my car and there was Linda. She’s the other new student in the bellydancing class. We often commiserate with each other and last night I told her how nervous I was to be going to the Hafla.
When she told me she was nervous too, I said “Oh good!” a little to enthusiastically. Not that I wanted her to be nervous, just that I liked not feeling it alone.
But being nervous only lasted a little while.
First of all everyone was dressed up in these wonderful bellydancing outfits. I couldn’t stop looking at them and admiring them. Long flowing layered skirts, with tassels and coins on their sashes. Jangly bras over their cholies, lots of jewelry, head scarves, makeup and bindi’s.
We sat at a long table and had a choice of too much good food to eat.
But I really loosened up when the ceremony began.
It only took a few minutes, but one member of the class was presented with a Bennington Bedeli Bellydancing tank top because she had faithfully taken the class for a whole year. (Our efforts don’t go unnoticed by our teachers Julz and Kathleen).
Then with a reading and burning incense Emily was made the newest member of the Sister’s Of The Shawl (they danced at the Open House) a purple shawl tied around her waist. I felt my eyes tearing up when this happened, like I was witnessing something ancient.
Then we danced.
At first I was shy about getting up and dancing, but when I saw Linda up there I was encouraged. And if she was still nervous, I couldn’t see it.
All of us danced together, moving in two lines, passing the lead from one to another. I danced till I was tired and sweaty and smelly. And I kept on dancing even though I couldn’t follow all the moves and passed on taking the lead.
Then the Sister’s of the Shawl danced and we students got to watch them work their magic.
Julz and Kathleen showed us a duet they’re working on. They are the Sahadi Sister’s, who used to be a group of seven dancers but over the years have dwindled down to two. But that didn’t stop Kathleen and Julz from dancing. It only made them want to create something unique to the two of them.
Last night we got to witness the start of that.
By the time I left, three hours later, I was tired and exhilarated and far from nervous.
I got to dance with Kitty (who introduced me to bellydancing). I got to know Emily who is an artist and baker. I gave away a few of my “I Love My Belly” potholders in the clothes swap and I felt like I belonged.
Sister’s of the Shawl dancing at the Hafla last night.