I handed Martha, at the Post Office, a copy of the flyer for the Belly Dancing Concert. I’ve been hanging them around town, to get the word out.
Martha looked at the poster saying she’d love to go, but she has a family gathering that day.
Then she reminded me that she took bellydancing lessons for years. “I can still do a figure eight”, she said.
I asked her if she would show me.
Martha stepped back from the counter, adjusted her shirt and went into a smooth, effortless taxeem. She moved her hips slowly in a beautiful figure eight. Then she said “And then you add a little bump”, and seamlessly shook her hips twice on each side before moving from one to the other.
My eyes grew wide and a smile spread over my face as I watched her.
She started lessons when she was eight years old, but Martha hasn’t belly danced in years.
Yet her body remembers.
My body had never before moved in the way it’s learning to in my bellydancing class. My taxeem’s are stiff and clunky. My figure eight has edges and corners.
It’s a matter of practice. Muscle memory. Maybe even cellular memory. A matter or waking that memory up.
“Women would do this after giving birth”, Martha said. “To strengthen their stomach.” I read they did it before giving birth, the ease the pain and aid in the birth.
For what ever reason, Belly Dancing seems to be something women are drawn to do.
It reminds me of when I had Chloe, my pony, and was taking horseback riding lesson. There’s something in us that drawn to certain things.
Even if those things seem to have little use in today’s society. Somehow our bodies innately know and crave them, even if we’re never done them before and they don’t come easy.