I wrote this last year as part of a bloggers challenge to write a post everyday beginning with the letters of the alphabet. My topic was “my simple pleasures.” For the letter D my choice was something unusual in the dancing category. Alright! I am screwing up my courage to share this one. But about 25 years ago I taught myself how to dance. Not just any kind of dancing…belly dancing, (beledi). I fell in love with the beauty of the dance at a Renaissance Fair.
My grandfather was from Greece and the music in the Mediterranean areas had a lot of similarities. The music stirred my interest. I bought several instructive videos and CD’s of the music to learn the dance. I watched beledi on YouTube and went to every Renaissance Fair I could to watch the graceful, beautiful dancing of the costumed ladies.
I never was athletic enough nor had the stamina enough to dance as fast as many of them do. I never had the flat muscular stomach to dance with but in the photo at the bottom you will see that that doesn’t matter really. I never could do a lot of things the well trained women did. But I got some exercise; had a lot of fun learning and dancing to the Middle Eastern music and I could move a veil with grace and beauty.
In all honesty I could only dance to the slower music. Now that I am older, weigh more and have back restrictions, the dancing is way beyond my ability and too risky for an out of condition, almost 66 year old! I am afraid I would permanently damage myself if I did some of the fast dancing. So I let dancing this pleasure pass me by. But I still love the music and watching these talented women dance.
I also had a lot of fun surprising people. Some of my coworkers who thought they knew me well, were quite surprised when I showed them that I really could do hip flips and belly rolls.
My moves were restricted to slower belly dancing, figure 8 moves with my hips, knew lots of ways to move the veil around, and I could play the zils, finger cymbals, some too. I was given a $1 bill from a male friend who happened to see me showing a female friend that I could in deed do some of the moves of a belly dancer. He said I did good!
On one visit to my parents I gave them a demonstration of my skills. My father although in the throes of dementia was tickled pink that I had learned these belly dancing moves. He got up, got his camera and took these three pictures. I still remember hearing him say, “She’s got it!”
I particularly love the veil dancing, which can be quite enchanting. Here is one photo of me posing with my 70 plus year old aunt while teaching her how to belly dance. I was in my early 40’s then. She at 70 could square dance, and fox trot with the best of them!
I still love to watch the dancers though because of the beauty of the moves and the intricacies the many, many differing international styles, music, and items danced with. They can dance with swords, candelabras, lit candles, canes, and flaming torches! There is also a wide variety of clothes that can be worn by the dancers too. Some can balance a scimitar on their head, kneel down, lean back, turn over, and all kinds of potentially dangerous moves.
So if you are looking for a fun, energetic, beautiful, challenging, entertaining exercise to do alone, for your spouse or for money, Belly Dancing is the one I would pick again….if I were much, younger and had a good back again.