Getting Into The Groove
It seems as though
many New Yorkers are dot-com-ers of some variety, and follow the go-work-in-an-office, work-out-at-the-gym and see-a-therapist routine. Although I am a New Yorker (since September 1993) and Im a complete web-head, I refuse to conform to the aforementioned nonsense. The idea of a smelly gym, sneakers, and aerobics class music make me nauseous. However, there comes a time when one realises one spends an awful lot of time in front of a computer and well, frankly, you start to feel like a bowl of oatmeal.
An interesting solution presented itself one evening when I received a phone call from my good friend, Kylie. Bellydancing. They have classes every Tuesday night, you can pay by the class and go whenever you can. Years and years ago I had taken ballet classes, but the idea of taking up a Middle Eastern style of dance was very intriguing: very sensual movement as opposed to very tight, precise positions.
So I braved it one Tuesday night, after fussing over the perfect, flowy dance attire: a black georgette ankle-length skirt, black leggings, and a bell sleeved top which showed an itty-bit of midriff. We were aware wed be dancing barefoot, and Kylie and I promised not to gross each other out too much with our normally boot-wearing feet. The finishing touch for me was a bondage chain belt with O rings hanging all about; making plenty of clanging noise as you dance makes everything fit in just right.
We arrived a bit late, dumped our shoes and jackets in the corner and started stretching along with the six other students and our instructor, Safiya. We moved along practising undulations with our guts and a variety of arm movements that traced our silhouettes. I learned very quickly that bellydancing is a lot harder than it looks, and my efforts probably looked less like a Middle Eastern goddess dancing and more like Madonna wiggling around in her Lucky Star video.
The studio grew incredibly warm as we swayed and shimmied to the steady percussion beat. Although I tried my best to keep up with the dance routine being taught, it didnt matter so much if I didnt hit the moves just right. It was such a wonderful experience to just let go and have fun feeling the movement and music; I may even be so bold (and cheesy) to say it was like becoming one with the music. The launch deadlines of work, bills to be paid, roots needing to be dyed, and dirty dishes in the sink disappeared, even if just for an hour and a half.
Recommended Music for Bellydancing
(probably already in your collection!)
Dead Can Dance
Spiritchaser Lisa Gerrard and Pieter Bourke
Semantic Spaces Belladonne
Various Artists Compilation from Prikosnovenie Peter Gabriel
Passion Soundtrack Jarboe
Scarification from Disburden Disciple
would be excellent! Somehow I imagine bellydancers smeared in blood....