I will be starting bellydancing classes in a month! Can I just say how excited I am?
For those of you who don't know, I LOVE bellydancing. Now, I am not a natural dancer. I didn't take jazz, or tap, or ballet as a child. Scratch that, I did take jazz very briefly at some point before dropping out due to lack of confidence. But bellydancing....LOVE LOVE LOVE!
A few years back, I want to say maybe 5 or 6, some girlfriends and I decided to try it for fun. We started at Main Street Dance in Markham, just doing their summer program. Well I was hooked immediately. Before that summer was over I was already performing at a wedding. ME, the shy girl with no rhythm! It seems I found something to bring out my confidence.
We continued at MSD which is where I met my good friend and avid bellydancer, Amy Jackson. I've done two recitals with MSD, and will always remember it as the place where I found my passion for dance.
Pics from Main Street Dance recitals. (Featured dancers: Amy Jackson, Karlene Taylor, Nicole Mostaard)
It wasn't long before I discovered Arabesque Academy, school of Middle Eastern Dance. This place was the real deal. The Arabesque Dance Company has some of the top bellydancers in the country. I took classes there on and off over the years, completing up to the Intermediate 1 level. I've done two gala performances with Arabesque.
Arabesque Student Gala, fall 2009. Me (far left), 19wks pregnant and Amy (second from right), as well as two ladies from our class. Intermediate 1 choreography, Tales of the Sahara, by Melissa Gamal.
Never in my life had I found a hobby I loved so much. Bellydancing was a way for me to stay in shape, and hang out with my friends. A way to learn about a new culture, and a new art form.
When I was pregnant with F, Amy invited me to join the dance troupe she was a part of, called She Raks. I was so honoured to be able to dance with such amazing ladies. I was so sad to have to give it up once we moved.
Bellydance is probably the single hardest thing I've had to give up since moving. Initially I looked around, hoping to find it at a dance studio here, but with no luck. The closest I could find was Barrie, an hour away. Not a possibility for the time being. But then, last year, I found a small dance studio about halfway between here and Barrie that had bellydance, called the The Danceroom. It is more fitness based bellydance rather than technique, but still! I've finally gotten around to calling and now will be starting in June!
Throughout my amateur bellydance career, I've danced in 4 recitals, at 2 weddings, 2 Christmas parties, 1 birthday party, 2 cultural events, as well as several other community events, and countless haflas (intimate get togethers where bellydancers perform for each other and support each other), and have been featured on local television once and twice in the local newspaper.
I am SO excited to get back into it. There is just something so amazingly feminine about bellydancing. It is an ancient art form, created by women for women. It is sensual but not sexual. It is powerful and mysterious. It makes you feel good about your body, no matter what it looks like. I have seen so many women, young and old, big and small, empowered by this amazing style of dance. There is so much culture and history to be learned, the music and costumes are amazing, the movements are intoxicating.
Watch out bellydance, I'm coming back! I'm thinking that maybe, once I get back into it, I can somehow form a bellydance club here in my town, or maybe even teach it. I would love to share it with this community, and get the women of Collingwood shaking their hips!