Last night was our Bellydancing Hafla. Our Hafla’s (which are gatherings with dance and food) change every year. The first one I went to six years ago was equally based around food and dance.
This year it was all dance with some fruit and chocolate.
For me our Bellydancing Hafla has become an important celebration of the season. Like tonight’s Solstice fire, it has more meaning for me than Christmas Day.
Last night Julz, (our teacher) put on a playlist of fast and slow songs. We danced with each other in duets or quads, in large groups with everyone in the class or alone. Two people would be dancing and someone would jump in and join them, while other people took a water break and rested.
I barely stopped dancing.
At the past Hafla’s I was still shy about dancing alone. I would have been embarrassed to think that someone might have been watching. Afraid I was doing something wrong or that someone might think I was trying to “show off.”
But last night I didn’t care. Maybe it speaks to the trust I have for my fellow dancers. Maybe it’s that I’m more confident. Perhaps a bit of both.
I do feel that in the past couple of months something has shifted with my dancing. I feel unquestionably that I am a welcomed part of our dance troupe. And for the first time, that I have something not only to learn but to contribute.
At the end of the night, Julz handed out “Sister” Bracelets to each of us. Four silver hearts on a black cord.
Later I texted Julz to thank her for the bracelet. She texted back that she believed that “dance was in my soul.” Julz had a vision of us all dancing together in another lifetime. “I’m pretty sure that’s why I saw potential in you from the beginning.” She wrote. She wanted to help me that remember we danced together before.
I’m grateful to Julz for her patience and taking the time to teach me to dance. I literally couldn’t step to the beat when I first started. I was always off beat or on the wrong foot. One time I even asked her if she thought I was stupid because I had such a hard time learning.
She assured me I wasn’t stupid and just encouraged me even more.
From the beginning, Jon said that bellydancing brought out who I really am. From the moment I first saw the Benninton Beledi Bellydancers, I knew the dance had meaning for me. But it’s only now that I’m beginning to believe what Jon and Julz have said is true. That I really am a dancer. That dance is in my soul.
On Monday I made a new coin belt from bellydancing jewelry that someone sent me a few years ago. I sewed it onto a fabric and added a few shells and buttons to it. I made it to have something special and new to wear to our Hafla.
At the end of the evening I asked Emily to take a video of me shimming in it. The video is short but you can see how the coin belt swings and sings.