Then came the shimmy.
My flat little butt remembered it's long-forgotten Shakira-induced desire to shake. Our teacher diligently showed us 6 different ways for our bodies and brains to understand the shimmy, making us laugh the whole way. Gradually, it came. And it was So. Much. Fun! All of us ladies were beaming. The trust we had gained from each other during our many bumbling group dances strengthened and we were dancing improv together! Pivot bump! Egyptian! Arabic! Shimmy shimmy shimmy!
I don't think I decided for sure that I wanted to continue dancing in a new session until lesson 6 - the very last class. We worked on our shimmies more, on our zilling and then at the end we did a shimmy drill. For seven minutes we shimmied! We turned our shimmies and walked our shimmies backwards and forwards and turned again. Our teacher motioned for us to get into a circle, and like good little dance students we giggled and found our places.
We danced and shimmied and turned in that circle - connected to one another and yet each of us dancing with her own unique style and confidence. It was possibly the most joy I had felt since my life had been catapulted into chaos that past February. There was no way I was letting that feeling escape. I haven't stopped dancing since then.
When think of the first time I danced in a group, stressing over not understanding the Egyptian, and the few discouraging moments where I thought I couldn't keep going, I can't imagine what my life would be like now if I had let that stop me. Most things worth doing are difficult, and learning to belly dance is no exception.
If I had let my failures and self-doubt keep me from going back to class, I'd be missing out now on one of my greatest joys. Now I love improv in groups with my dance friends - we laugh at our mistakes, congratulate our improving skills and zaghareet after! The Egyptian eventually did succumb to my will, and I've learned many more moves since.
I hope this encourages you, on bad days, to keep going. Whatever you're up against today is no match for your perseverance. One day you can look back and see where you've been, and look forward with excitement and joy at what's yet to come.
'On with the dance! Let joy be unconfined!' ~ Lord Byron
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