Tonight was week six of my belly dancing class. It has been fun and definitely a challenge. We’ve been working our way through a routine. Parts of it I can actually do. Each time we do the routine those parts that I can do aren’t necessarily the same. Sometimes I end up just walking the correct steps. Adding a shimmy with the hips and/or the shoulders is sometimes more than I can handle. But I’m trying.

One of the latest things we learned is something affectionately known as the corkscrew. I am happy to say that I’m well on my way to being able to do it. Stand with your feet parallel and only a few inches apart. Bend your knees. Now, circle your hips, being careful not to stick your “tail” out as they circle around the back. The next thing to try is to contract your ribcage in circle. When you do this, it causes your shoulders to move up and down. After you’ve mastered both of those moves, put them together. The shoulders follow the hips. You’re not having them work in concentric circles – so they’re not in sync. Believe it or not, I can actually do this move – to the right. I’m working on reversing it to the left. But here’s the kicker… while you’re doing all of this, shimmy your shoulders. That’s where I fall apart. I’m pretty impressed that I can do the first two moves at the same time.

Tonight she had us do a move that should be the simplest one of all. You’re supposed to move your head from side to side – without tilting it. You also keep your shoulders still while you do it. If you imagine drawing a line at the edge of your face that is perpendicular to the floor, and you move your head so that the line stays perpendicular to the floor. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that I have trouble with this one. I’m sure my massage therapist would not be surprised at all. I guess I know what I’ll be working on before next week.

The cool thing about this class is that I’ve learned how to move parts of my body that I’ve never thought of isolating before. Have I ever really thought about the muscles around my ribcage? Nope. Did I know that you move your shoulders using the muscles in your back? Not that either. I’ve also learned that sometimes you need to take your brain out of the equation. Last week I tried doing some of these moves (particularly the corkscrew) after a few glasses of wine. Guess what? It worked. Why am I not surprised? Hmm…


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