I started learning belly dancing sometime late last year. Ever since I can remember I've wanted to learn this style of dance. It 's lots of fun, even though I’m finding it difficult to get a handle on the moves. I am fond of telling friends and family everyone else is ‘elegant’ while I feel more like ‘elephant’!
My problem is I over think too much instead of getting lost in the music and just moving. It’s definitely not a reflection on Em and Barb, the instructors. They're so patient and I love going to class; in fact it’s the highlight of my week. During the lesson I’m happy, carefree and inevitably, the class clown!
I was lying in bed the day after class and wondered why I felt so up and pumped afterwards. I usually come home with a huge grin on my face, telling everyone how amazing it was, how much fun I have and the joy I get from being around a group of happy, smiling other ladies. I realised it is during that hour I can let my guard down and be me. There’s nothing stopping me from being me any other day of the week…except me and the limitations I put on myself.
I am a perfectionist, so I get annoyed I can’t do all the moves perfectly, even though I’m only a beginner. No one else expects me to have all the moves worked out yet…just me!
I wonder why we (and I really mean ‘me’ here) are so hard on ourselves. We didn’t learn to walk or talk overnight and yet we get frustrated or give up when we are learning a new skill that takes time to develop. Is it because we live in an instant society, where food comes already prepared, or we can ask the doctor to prescribe a pill to alleviate a symptom without having to look at our lifestyle? Is it because others have been hard on us in the past and we've taken on board their belief systems or judgements? Or is it purely because we listen to that silly voice in our head that tells us we aren’t good enough or learning fast enough? Were there unrealistic expectations when we were children?
The other day I showed my daughter some of the moves I’d learnt. She told me she could tell the moment I started to think, the moment I stopped believing I could actually show her. One minute I was fluid and the next I was rigid and unbending – not really a good look for such flexible dance moves. I knew she was right; one minute I was at one with the music and next thing I knew the voice in my head said, ‘Yeah, well it looks okay, but you’re not doing it perfect!’
The thing is, belly dancing lessons is just a great way to have fun, to support and be supported by other women as we learn, to share joyful energy. Not once was I told there would be a test at the end of it, so why am I putting myself under so much pressure to be perfect?
Well, ‘Enough!’ is what I have to say to that snippety voice! I am doing way better than I was last year and I have grasped some of the moves and besides no one else is judging me besides that little voice. Everyone else tells me I’m improving and that should be enough. Anyway, when did the voice inside my head become an expert – did she learn to be an expert belly dancer while I wasn’t looking?
I have come to the conclusion that I do this with almost everything I do and it is time to learn the lesson, the one that impacts on a lot of my life, preventing me from just letting go and doing what comes naturally. I don't have to be perfect, I just have to me...the me that's doing whatever activity I choose. I watched a video today on youtube that Yvonne Anderson had put up. She said we should live life like a musical instead of the alternative...in my case a documentary! This comment really resonated! Ahh! The freedom of a musical.....!!
Tonight I went along to watch the advanced group perform and it was not only impressive, but it was a heap of fun. The joy of the dance was evident on everyone’s face. Not one of them was pulling faces as they listened to Ms Snippety. They were in the moment, sharing the happiness and it was an uplifting experience. I stood there with a silly grin on my face as I watched.
As I drove home I decided that from now on that’s what I want to do, be present in the music and not in my head…I want to have that much fun…and one day, I want to be dancing in front of a group of people and sharing the joy and happiness of enjoying something you love to do!
PS. The class is every Tuesday night in Manly. (
).If you’d like
to meet some wonderful people while having a fantastic time, email Barb or Em (Taroonas
Belly Dancing) firstname.lastname@example.org Brisbane