This June we are kicking off with a series I named "Try It Out" in which I will be taking classes in different styles. And what better way to kick off this series with some belly dancing!
I was a little early to class so decided to pop into their store where it felt like I stepped into a costume shop in Morocco. The color of the dresses and intricate jewelry everywhere transported me across the world.
I was sooooo tempted to buy something just to feel like an Egyptian goddess in class but I stopped myself as this was my first class and who knows what we actually needed! (I later came to find out a belly dancing belt would definitely be ideal)
Layla Mary was our instructor who immediately knew all the girls by name and would share stories about her life and asked them about recent trips they had, their family members and other points of conversation beyond a teacher/student relationship. I could tell these ladies built a bond in class and they knew each other well. They all recently had a performance together and were discussing the amazing feedback from family and friends who watched.
Layla Mary has been performing New York Cabaret-Style Belly Dance for forty years and has performed all over the world including Egypt, Europe, Canada, and the Caribbean. She greeted me with open open (even complimented my work dress) and spoke before class about the beauty of belly dancing. "Everyone can have a piece of the pie. You can't weigh out or age out of belly dancing. We have women from all shapes, sizes and ages join and it's amazing what these women can do."
And she was right! Her class was full of diversity. From apple shaped women in their 40s to tall women in their 30s. My favorite was this woman in her 70s who was very lively during class! She told me she used dancing for flexibility and staying active, something not even physical therapy or chiropractic services could do for her. Belly dancing did much more for her and she had fun doing so.
And let me tell you, this was definitely a hard class for me. I never think of myself as graceful and belly dancing is a GRACEFUL yet seductive and beautiful style of dance. I had to keep reminding myself to drop my shoulders and relax and smile. And while to contrary belief, most of the belly dancing is arm and foot work. There is intricate choreography with your hands and even a whole technique when you use cymbals. I learned how to gracefully wave my arms, body roll just using my upper body (this is tough), and some quick foot work. Overall, I had a blast and will definitely be back soon!
Have you tried something new this week or plan to? Let us know in the comment section below!
Dance It Out,