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Back again to dance class after a two week break for FC. Man oh man… - adventures of a red-headed stepchild in the house of love
mermaid on the mic
Back again to dance class after a two week break for FC. Man oh man is it challenging to me, on more than one level! I remember (mostly) what I should be doing, but actually doing it is a whole different story.  Trying not to berate myself (internally) for letting it go.  The class is perfect for where I am right now, and it actually challenges me - I'm so glad I'm not trying to get it all for the first time, I would be struggling a lot more!  Need to keep that in mind.

When I can forget all the overthinking and just dance, it's actually pretty nice (especially since I get to watch my beautiful friend leading the class) but those moments are kinda infrequent.  At least I still remember how to play zils! 

It has been *years* since I danced with any seriousness (other than messing around at parties, or out clubbing) and I have pretty much lost it ALL - except (most of) the understanding of what I need to be doing.  Well, that, and zils (which was HUGE for me when I finally got it, so I really should try not to misunderestimate myself.... heh.) 

I do think that if I can keep it up every week, and add in some yoga, I should be able to take classes at Tribal Fest in May without embarrassing myself.  That is the goal, anyway.

One thing I especially enjoy is when we dance in groups (practicing leading and following, and transitioning between steps.)  I love it because at those moments we're really dancing (rather than just drilling) and also because of the problem-solving aspect of it.  When we're following the teacher, we're just following the teacher as best we can, and that's that.  Dancing in groups, we have to figure stuff out ourselves!  I love it!  I got "stuck" twice during these times, but learned from what happened and I'm sure I'l go on to make new, more exciting mistakes in the future.  Hooray!

Watching myself in the mirror is... interesting.  I am the fattest I have been in a long time - perhaps evar, I have no real way to tell.  Standing in front of a mirror - with my belly hanging out, no less - is freakin' SCARY!  The weird thing is, that my bellydance clothes are actually incredibly flattering and I look better in them with my bare belly hanging out there than I do in some of my more covered outfits!  Bellydance clothes are just mad flattering to the female figure, pretty much at any weight.  This REALLY helps! 

A couple years ago, I signed up for a series of classes with a local instructor without ever having taken one of her classes as a drop-in.  I won't do that again (unless I already know the teacher!)  This class was not a good fit for me, for a number of reasons - the (seemingly) smallest being that everyone in the class wore exercise wear, with a hip scarf.  I was the fattest person in the class - which would not have bothered me, really, except that we were all wearing such totally unflattering stuff!  OMG, it was nuts!  Most weeks I cheated a bit by wearing one of those bellydancer unitards with the mesh midriff, and a really *nice* hipscarf - so I was definitely overdressed (compared to the rest of the class) and I still hated every minute looking in the mirror.  Now I don't think I could even manage to wriggle into the damn unitard, but yet I look better in class than I ever did in that class!  Being able to dress in a more flattering way makes a huge difference in my morale (and probably helps me dance more gracefully, too.)  It's hard to be graceful when you feel like a baby elephant in track pants!  %-)  I am never gonna take another class that doesn't encourage us to be beautiful, even in class, ever again.

I actually wasn't able to see myself for much of tonight's class, as I prefer being to the right of the instructor (it's the natural alignment for ATS) so I only caught a few glimpses of myself when we were dancing in groups and I had the lead.  That's ok, I don't always need to see myself.  It's more important to watch the teacher (or the leader, as the case may be.)  I saw that I actually looked GOOD, and also that the movements really do look good on me as I am now, maybe better than when I was little stick figure anorexia girl.  (That look was NOT attractive, especially undressed - although it was considerably easier to find flattering clothing back then...)

ANYway!  I am keeping at it.  Trying not to get discouraged or beat myself up.  It's only my third class since I started back, and this time we did steps that I remember, but haven't practiced, so I had quite a few balls in the air, so to speak.


oh, and GUNG HAY FAT CHOY!!!!!

I'm feeling: determined determined

12 smooches or Gimme Some Love!
catwoman69y2k.insanejournal.com From: catwoman69y2k.insanejournal.com Date: February 7th, 2008 09:30 am (UTC) (Link)
First off, very elegant usericon. Love the headwear.

AS for your body image, I do think that the chance of being the "fattest" in the class is something that you will encounter just about anywhere. I do agree that knowing the teacher before a drop-in can help in establishing the comfort zone that will allow you to focus.

Keep it up. I have yet to get back into dance myself as my "studio" (read: patio) is still snowed up.

djmermaid From: djmermaid Date: February 7th, 2008 04:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Haha, thanks! It wasn't really about being the fattest nor that I would have felt more at ease had I known the teacher - more that, had I known ahead of time that everyone would be in unattractive track pants I might have found a different class. It's amazing what a difference it made!

Well, sometimes you learn something other than what you think you're going to learn. I also pulled a muscle in that class, a really deep one that bothered me for a LONG time afterwards. I learned from that, too - we were doing a move that I would NEVER do in real life, and I should have kept doing it at half-time instead of going to full peed along with the group. Ow!
catwoman69y2k.insanejournal.com From: catwoman69y2k.insanejournal.com Date: February 7th, 2008 04:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, confession: I thought that if I had confessed that I had been there, done that (in being the fattest in class), that would of been a bit too cliche. ;)

In general, a class setting can be awkward even for someone who knows alot. Only someone very stuck on them self will lack ANY FEELING WHATSOEVER of nervousness in a classroom setting. I think it is good to come into anything grounded (its my personal philosophy). Still equilibrium between double checking yourself in a learning context, and being just plain uncomfortable is key. The latter destroys the learning process while the first one just gives you drive if you take it for what it is.

Someone who was never really good with zils,
graham14 From: graham14 Date: February 7th, 2008 09:52 am (UTC) (Link)

Not for Nuthin'

But that userpic is hot, Hot, HAWT...jus' sayin'.
djmermaid From: djmermaid Date: February 7th, 2008 04:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Not for Nuthin'

Aww, shucks! Why, thank you! ;-)

It was taken right after my very first student recital, so I'm guessing '97? I started dance in the summer of '96 (just a few months before my first burning man!) and I'm not sure how long it took my teacher to get my punk ass out on stage... (I was terrified of performing and generally would MUCH prefer to be behind a DJ rig if I have to "perform") but most likely some time in '97.
silverfae From: silverfae Date: February 7th, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
You know, I am doing the same thing, agonizing that I'm not that slim dancer physique I once had... but you know what's made me feel better about it?
Looking at the changes in the women I admire a lot as dancers and seeing that they too are not svelt anymore. Our adorable Kajira looks far more womanly, Suhaila is not the ingenue anymore, Maria Amaya, etc, so many of us have developed what I call Buddha Belly. Maybe we're becoming enlightened !
(no srsly, I actually read that on a Newage site that as we become more like Buddha, we will store our body fat in our bellies. I laughed and laughed over that one).

and yes, our costumes are the best thing to happen to women's clothing!
*g* I'm still not convinced about Melodia's tho'.
djmermaid From: djmermaid Date: February 7th, 2008 04:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
LOL! More like, as we drink more beer we will store our body fat in our bellies... heh! Man, those newage peeps sure are idiotic some times. I have read that "belly fat" is teh unhealthy and it is better for it to be more evenly distributed... I dunno. Fortunately my awesome BF thinks I am smokin hot even weighing more than when we hooked up, yay! (And says so, too! Unlike the last one, "Bad BF" who used to hassle me about my weight, boo! He liked skinny anorexia girl. Oh well!) Sad but true - gaining weight is one way to tell if you are with a quality man. (I have less experience dating women but as far as I can tell they seem to be a lot less hung up on things like that... although of course there are female jerks too.)

I did notice Suhaila is not longer the little size 4 she was pre-baby - she's still an amazing dancer, of course! You're right, that's what I should be focussing on. Fortunately the dance looks good on a "womanly" figure!

And as to the Melodia pants... you are right, they are EVIL! Don't try 'em, is my advice... or you will end up like me, scouring tribe and ebay looking for your next fix! LOL... a friend gave me a "worn out" pair so I could look at how they are made, as I thought they were way too expensive, and also figured I could make something similar, but with less of a bell-bottom (etc, you know how it is when you sew, "oh that's so cute but it would be better if it was made differently...") So I put 'em on to see how they fit and have hardly taken them off!

I wear them with a long skirt that is cut high on the sides (in the front it hits just above the ankles but over the hips it's only about 6" long) with a similar "lettuce edge" treatment as the pants have at the hem. I still totallt dislike the look of bellydancing in pants (and don't even get me started on those HORRID! garter-pants things!!) but I gotta say, the Melos are UBER comfy yet very attractive (srsly, it is like you are wearing pj pants except that you actually look great!) and the longer skirt I wear with them avoids the "pants" look yet is open enough to allow for lots of movement. It's actually what I was wearing in class last night... and the "mehendi pattern" melodias I'm buying from some other bellydancer on tribe will be here any day... (drums fingers on table) So, learn from my example and DO NOT TRY THEM ON EVAR! I can't promise what will happen to your bank account if you do! %-)

LOVE YOU!!!!! Do I have to come all the way to Kansass to see you?! (I guess if I do I can park wherever I want, LOL!)
evilmommytina From: evilmommytina Date: February 7th, 2008 04:08 pm (UTC) (Link)


I say NEVER should any woman be forced to wear leotards and a friggin' hip scarf to dance in! Ugh! Yuck! I don't care - skinny or fat... SO not attractive... in any sense. That actually seems to be more the norm for cabaret style dance - which is why I - and most I know - avoid those dance instructors and their classes like the plague.

Rock on pretty girl... and use that hip sway - in all its abundance to your advantage - and if the super skinny chicks get in your way - bump em outta the way.


p.s. I think you are gorgeous... as is.
djmermaid From: djmermaid Date: February 13th, 2008 10:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: HIOLY CRAP!...N-E-V-E-R...

Awww, thank you. And yer right - even the skinny chicas looked bad in the "track pants and hip scarf" look. I have *no idea* why they all dressed like that!

I've also been noticing that bellydance really does look awesome on those of us with some flesh to jiggle. And, hooray for that!
bigsockgrrl From: bigsockgrrl Date: February 8th, 2008 04:03 am (UTC) (Link)
I just started a jazz dance class, myself. I used to do a lot of jazz dance in high school. It's certainly different to be out of shape, out of practice, and older and curvier than most of the women in the class. It's a good challenge, but I might drop it because of the timing isn't working very well with my new schedule. If I do, I might look into a belly dance class. I've been using a belly dance workout video, and I've been enjoying it. However, it would be really nice to have a class that changes each time I take it. :) Any recommendations?
djmermaid From: djmermaid Date: February 13th, 2008 10:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I have to say that I think Fat Chance Belly Dance ( http://fcbd.com ) is the best foundation for beginners, even if you don't plan to stick with tribal style. You will learn healthy posture, basic zils, and be able to follow well (which is a useful skill in any dance class) plus you will build the strength to hold your arms up for long periods of time.

Let me know what you think, if you decide to check 'em out.
(Deleted comment)
djmermaid From: djmermaid Date: February 13th, 2008 10:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! Hugs back!
12 smooches or Gimme Some Love!