I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m not a dedicated belly dancer. Once upon a time, I was. I went to classes, I taught beginners, I accepted dance gigs for parties, and generally lived the belly dance – elite athlete life. All whilst single parenting, studying, working 2 other jobs, and attempting to keep afloat a drowning-not-waving relationship. Yeah, fun times. Thing is, at the time, I thought it was fun. I wanted to load more and more onto myself to prove I deserved to be alive.
A lot of years and therapy and self-reflection, and retirement from belly dance later, and I sometimes miss dance. Thirteen years later, thirteen kilos later, and post-menopause, I certainly long for enough collagen, energy, and true grit to reclaim dance.
I sign up for dance classes. I go a few times, and then it’s all too hard to keep enthusiasm up in the evenings, when most classes are held. So, I keep re-activating my datura-online membership and say: “This time for sure, I’ll do a class a week.”
Since the last time I joined and now, datura have added ‘dance daily’, a once-a-day half hour practice. Well, I gotta say, at this stage I can’t even do a whole half an hour. So I do 15 minutes, and then have a bop around my front room. I suspect that today, between my own warm up, 15 minutes of an Ashley Lopez drill session, a bop, and then a stretch, I managed about 35 minutes all up. Which is still better than me slothing on the couch all day, then sleeping poorly.
I look at the teachers on datura, and look at myself, and hang my head. Well, let’s face it, these are all teachers younger than me, dedicated to their craft, and at the top of their respective games, be it datura style, FCBD style, cabaret, fusion, Turkish, what have you. For all I know, someone is evolving Antarctic style as I write. I don’t see why not. Hazel Edwards has done several writer in residencies, and once took belly dance classes. I’ve visited Antarctica on a small ship. I can belly dance. If astronauts can quilt in space, I can evolve ABD format. First step: sew tiny toy penguins onto a hip scarf. There’s going to be a lot of shimmies/shivering, and absolutely no scanty clothing. Polar boots a must.
(Gods, if Rachel Brice sees this, she’s gonna bloody dare me to do it.)
Anyway, I flitted around my loungeroom for half an hour, astonished passersby, and have moved my body enough to call it a dance session. This afternoon, I’ll take a walk.
I know it’s a case of willpower. If I want this, I’ll make time for it. With witchcraft being a matter of willpower, writing being willpower, art being willpower, and everything else willpower to keep myself functional in the world, sometimes I run short. Or power down. I am guilty of ‘isn’t there a way to be productive while I’m resting?’
Maybe, if PizzaBoy and I happen upon a bookstore this afternoon, there will be music playing, and I can have a quiet little bop. I have no shame. I can dance in stores, shopping centres, malls, and libraries, and I do.