Monday, October 13, 2008

My bellydancing debut...

So, B-day came and went, and I think it was a success. The Catholic Librarian is relieved that it is over, and that her only task now is to fill everyone in on it :)

We had a dress rehearsal on Friday, and that was my first inkling of the extent to which costume malfunction possibilities are a reality in belly dancing. Claire lent me a costume (a lovely bell sleeved, short blouse with a matching skirt in copper) to go along with my green hip scarf and veil. She had to re-sew elastic into the waistband of the skirt, so she couldn't bring it for me until dress rehearsal. After assessing the less than adequate ladies room situation, we gradually threw caution to the wind and changed right in the hallway (I overheard several murmurings of "I hope the janitor isn't around.") Routines commenced. I *really* liked the advanced class Spanish fusion dance performed to Hakim's Ah Ya Albi. My intermediate level class did our number - Entel Hob from the Bellydance Superstars 2 collection. The advanced class very sweetly and graciously applauded and encouraged us, which I truly appreciated. As we ran through the number, aforementioned costume malfunctions began to present themselves. Veils began to stick to sequins on blouses; sleeves began to get caught on hipscarf coins; and, most maliciously, veils began to catch on skirt hems, threatening to lift said skirt and expose the underwear of the bellydancer in question. Anxiety ensued. Modified manuevers were practiced. Bellydancers with furrowed brows went home, recalcitrant costumes tucked firmly under their arms.

Saturday morning I spent extra morning time with Hank and Mike, since belly dancing was going to consume the majority of my day. I arrived at the venue at noon for the combinations workshop that was being given by a well known local dancer. I perused the tables of fancy hip scarves, silk veils and other shiny costume things but didn't buy anything, for which I deserve a medal. Our workshop began, and four aching hours later, we finished. My hips *still* hurt. I don't think they've seen that much activity before, ever. There's only so much a girl can shimmy.

I went home for a quick bite to eat and for some more Hank time, and then returned, laden with my costume, for the Hafla. I went up to the dressing room, where coins and chiffon abounded. I dressed, practiced, and managed to convince myself that I had lost my veil only to discover that it was actually wrapped *on my body*. I was a little nervous.

Finally, it was time for the level 2/3 class veil number. We solemnly proceeded to our spots. The music began, and I began my hand undulations with rapt attention to detail. I unwrapped my veil, check. I draped my veil, and did my hip lifts perfectly. Gentle spins with veil swoop, check. Veil flip with undulations, better than average. Veil drop with hip sways, no prob. *sigh of relief* Then comes the tricky part. Veil forward, drop. Flip over head. Attempt to smile. Flip veil to front and step over carefully (allegedly saucily), while re-arranging fingers for upcoming envelope. I carefully begin raising my veil when I feel *it*. *It* being the distinct feeling of my veil catching on the back of my skirt, and lifting it for the world to see. I panic. In a graceful move, I reach behind myself and yank my skirt down off the offending veil. Well, maybe it wasn't so graceful. But at least the audience didn't actually see any flesh that they weren't supposed to. And Mike claimed that he didn't even notice, for which he was rewarded appropriate husband bonus points. Anyway, I envelope, hip sway, wrap veil into what Claire calls the "burqa" and proceed into our circle. Dismantle burqa at somewhat near the appropriate time and do pinwheel stuff with veil. Finally, we reach the end, and I have to do my 16 count solo. I walk forward, trying not to run right out of the room, do a veil swirl and a hip circle, and walk out, trying to look graceful again. The advanced class greets us with perky applause and well wishes, which make me feel better. I am assured that audience members did not notice skirt mishap. I feel relieved and go to change.

So, all in all, it went as well as it could have. Really, as one of my fellow belly dancers put it, no one else but you (and your classmates) know what is supposed to be going on, so as long as you smile, show no panic, and shimmy something cutely, the audience will be none the wiser.

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