Gratitude, Bellydancing At The Farm

Lulu and Fanny

I turned my head towards my outstretched arm and there was Lulu peeking around the side of the pole barn.  If any animals on the farm would get Bellydancing it would be the donkeys.

Julz, Kathleen, Emily, Kat, Trish, Callie, and I stood in a circle between the house and the barn.  It’s called “The Gratitude“.  It’s a series of motions each with its own meaning that we do at some point during every Bellydancing practice or performance.

We are giving thanks for the people we dance with, our dancing ancestors, the music and the space we are dancing in.

There is superstition around The Gratitude.  Kathleen and Julz both have stories of serious mistakes made during dance performances where they forgot to do it.

Just before the women from my Bellydancing class started to show up at the farm to dance together for the first time since March, the sky got dark, the wind came from the north in howling gusts, thunder rumbled and soon the rain started.

It seemed fitting.  I thought we were worthy of such a force of nature welcoming us back.

The storm passed quickly and cooled things off for a while.  But soon the sun was out again and we moved around the yard trying to find the evenest ground with the most shade.

But no one complained about the slippery grass, uneven ground, or the scorching sun.  These women are professionals. And it felt too good to be dancing together.

Next week and for the weeks after that, we’ll be back in Bennington on Wednesday nights instead of Thursday.  Julz and Kathleen found a new space for us to dance in.  It’s in an old warehouse, with mirrored walls, high ceiling and airconditioning.

It sounds luxurious compared to dancing outside on the grass.

But this evening, as I swept my arm around gesturing thanks to the space around me and I saw Lulu looking at me, I had the feeling she knew, not necessarily how grateful I was to be dancing on the farm, but that something meaningful was happening.

And she was so right.

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