All my life I have danced:
I have early memories of hitting the dress up box and getting my mum to put music on the record player so I could spin round and round…
Later I put the records on myself, and spent my afternoons dancing through ‘Cats’ and other favourites.
Then came the dance classes – scraping my way through to Grade 4 in jazz ballet, before I could go no further due to lack of bendiness and ballet training…
I never entirely stopped dancing – there were still the afternoons and evenings with the records, then CDs…
Then in my late twenties, I finally went to the belly dance classes I’d craved for some years.
It was in many ways like coming home – women of all shapes, sizes and ages enjoying themselves. My height and my non-bendiness weren’t barriers to dancing 🙂
… this was the nineties and belly dance in New Zealand meant cabaret – sequins and chiffon and wide smiles. Not my style. And my student budget couldn’t stretch to more classes.
I wasn’t home yet.
So, I kept dancing in my lounge on and off, then off more than on. Kids came along (and complicated my budget and schedule!)
… and then I discovered the internet!
While I was away, belly dance had exploded into tribal and fusion forms (gods bless America!)
There were people like me out there!
Since then, I have become ‘somewhat’ obsessed with belly dance – workshops, books, DVDs, classes, costumes, performing, teaching, learning…
I have made friends and drilled techniques and danced and learnt and learnt and learnt (there’s still plenty more to learn).
I have, at last, come home 🙂
Recently, I set out on a new stage in my journey:
I want to start dancing myself – my voice.
Not someone else’s vision or collection of techniques.
My inner critic pricks holes in me while I practise: “you can’t call it belly dance, if you’re only doing snake arms. Throw in more technique…” and other such helpful comments… I ignore it and dance on.
I throw caution to the wind and pick random CDs – some Middle Eastern, many not – and try to let go and let the music carry my body to that place beyond technique… to expression.
This is very much a work in progress, but I am amazed at how much my ‘ten minutes’ have freed me already.
I am excited to see what comes next…
… watch this space 😉