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Belly Dance Dropout, Part Two

by Roberta McReynolds

Editor's Note: Roberta continues her belly dancing experience from Part One

There was an unsettling change to our environment the third week of class. Full-length mirrors now lined one wall. I stepped over for a closer inspection and was jolted by the reflection. Could I possibly be that frumpy? Traumatized from the image, I turned and slunk away. I passed the next mirrored panel and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a more recognizable me. Except for the huge head now setting atop my shoulders. Perplexed, I walked along the wall of mirrors. A smile was beginning to light my face at the myriad of ridiculous effigies looking back at me.

"Where did those mirrors come from, a Carnival Fun House?" I asked no one in particular.

We rehearsed the things we’d already been taught, before the class was introduced to the ‘door bump.’ It was an easy, quick sideways thrust with hip and thigh. I’ve practiced this one for years, every time both my arms with loaded down and I needed to close the car door. Bump!

The instructor, Yazmin (name thoughtfully changed to protect her professional career), paraded us across the floor single file. So far, all of our moves had been executed while standing in place. We must have looked like ducklings waddling after their mother, although I think that ducks have better presentation.

The march back was even worse. The ‘bump’ in the step-bump-step-bump was replaced with a hip circle. I barely could figure this one out while rooted to the floor. Walking at the same time sounded like a bad idea.

The ‘hip circle’ is a series of four exercises done in rotation. Yazmin traveled so smoothly from position to position, she made it look like one blended move. I was confused about when I needed to step and which leg needed to match which point of my circle. Did it matter if I was going clockwise or counterclockwise? Then there was that continuing issue about remembering to breathe.

I stumbled and tripped along, grateful that the instructor couldn’t see the chaos behind her. I willed the minute hand on the clock to move faster so my oxygen-starved system could recover.

Yazmin dismissed us at last, but not before assigning homework. We were required to teach one belly dance movement to someone else. Next week we would explain what we taught and demonstrate our technique. I considered my short list of possible victims as I drove home. I knew in my heart that even my best friend wouldn’t go for it. That left me with only one option….

"Hi, Honey, I’m home," I hoped the false cheerfulness wouldn’t give me away too soon.

"How was class tonight?"

"The first thirty minutes went okay, but the last half wasn’t so pretty. Oh, and I have an homework," I baited him.

"What’s that?" Mike replied. Poor fellow didn’t know what was coming.

I explained the assignment. He didn’t say a word; just gave me a long, unblinking stare. I smiled at him, but Mike still didn’t bat a lash.

"Well, it’s either you or the cat," I told him. Honestly, it could have gone either way.

Two days before class Mike rose up from his favorite spot on the sofa and asked what he had to do. We tried the ‘washing machine’ and the ‘door bump’, while the cat watched from afar with a critical eye.

Page Two, Part Two>>

©2008 Roberta McReynolds for SeniorWomenWeb
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