By Susan McCarthy
Many years ago, I was excited to see that the local New Age shop would be offering belly dance classes. I’d wanted to take a dance class for a while, but I was intimidated by the idea of taking a tap, ballet, or jazz class for adults.
I was interested in belly dance because a year earlier, when looking through a home & health catalog, I saw a video (and we’re talking VHS tape) with a title somewhere along the lines of Belly Dance for Fun & Fitness and I thought, “why not?” I fell in love with the dance.
At the time, I was living in my parents’ house. They were hoarders and keeping everything still seemed normal to me as well at the time. This meant that I barely had the space to shuffle around my bedroom to crawl into bed at night and so most of my dance practice was limited to isolating single movements as opposed to dancing around my room (which would have been an impossibility).
By the time I saw the local class offering, I’d practiced this way for hours, but I’d had no way to judge whether what I was doing was right or not. Most of the women in class had never belly danced before. One woman had taken classes for a year or so in the nearest big city, Boston. I lacked confidence in my skills, but both the teacher and other students told me that I danced as well as the woman who had taken formal classes.
Every so often, I wonder if I would have had the nerve to signed up for the class if I hadn’t been watching videos and practicing in my bedroom for a year and felt comfortable with the moves. The reason I hadn’t been able to push myself to take tap or jazz was because I was afraid that I’d be too awkward and embarrassed.
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