I have finally found a belly-dance class I want to go to.
For the last 7 or 8 years of my 10+ years dancing (I refuse to calculate more accurately – I don’t like feeling old), I have not gone to classes. I’ve read books and articles. I’ve practised at home on my own. I’ve occasionally swapped moves with other dancers or seen dance performances. But I have not gone to classes.
This is because the only classes a available were offered by dance teachers focusing on a cabaret style (all those sequinned bras and bejewelled hips) and that is not my style. I have taken classes with this kind of teacher before. Excellent for learning the basics and even the not-so-basics, but not good for helping me dance like I want to.
For a long time I didn’t even know that other dancers felt like this and that there was a whole world of dancers (men as well as women) dancing the way I wanted to. Through the wonders of broadband, I have discovered this world and I now have a name for my kind of dancing: not cabaret, but ‘tribal’.
The next step was to find somewhere to learn and practice my kind of dancing. I was so desperate to dance with others that I started a club in my home suburb. Not a class because I do not yet feel qualified to call myself a teacher – even though I do teach newcomers the basics and some extras. Not a class because so many of the women I knew who wanted to try dancing had neither time nor money to commit to a class. A club – which is blossoming as we speak, from chance conversations and one solitary poster in the local library. There are many women out there with the desire to dance.
And so my excitement when a chance ‘Trade Me’ purchase (our local version of eBay) led to an email conversation with a tribal dance teacher a few hundred kilometres away who knew a teacher in Wellington, my home city.
Now the dilemma.
The classes are in the centre of the city, 20 minutes walk away from the railway station or 5 to 10 minutes from parking.
The classes run on Tuesdays until 9:30pm or on Sundays during the day.
Sounds straightforward, but it isn’t. I have to choose between compromising my personal safety walking round town at night or feeling guilty for disrupting family time on the weekend. I could take a friend to travel with, but why should I have to.
And if I do chose to go at night (with or without a friend), do I risk wearing my dance gear (much like yoga gear) or should I take a change of clothes with me to help keep me safe?
Or should I ‘just’ not go to the class?
I am sick of having to spend my life considering this stuff. There is so much I haven’t done because of guarding my personal safety. I’m seriously not keen about the idea of getting raped or mugged, but I am so tired of feeling like I’m the one who has to ‘play it safe’.
I want to live in a world where I can go to a night class in town on public transport without having to worry about being attacked.
I want to live in a world where, if I do suffer an attack, it’s not somehow MY fault for daring to walk down the street, but the blame is placed fairly and squarely on the bad guys (or gals) who do these stupid and violent things.
But I don’t.