On Life and Love

Belly dance vs. Hip-hop: Inviting Failure

For some reason, Greg-the-cat doesn't like jinglies.Hip-hop started again on Monday! The thing that struck me (again and again) for the entire sweaty hour was how great it was to fail again.

As some folks may remember, I started both hip-hop and belly dance back at the beginning of January. Hip-hop stopped in May with the end of the school year, but belly dance kept a comin’. I took about 2-3 hours of belly dance a week this summer, but since we’re working up to a recital in December, we’ve been repeating the same couple of songs over and over again. That’s kind of becoming a problem.

This month of belly dance has been a tough one for me. This is about the seventh time that I’ve sat through the “this is belly dance posture,” and “this is a hip hit” spiels, and all the people I’ve been dancing with have moved up to the next level of class. I’m not good enough to move up into the intermediate class, but I’m unchallenged with the choreography of this song–which is a short song I’ve done before–and because of how many complete newbies we have, we can’t really focus on perfecting technique.

I just don’t work well that way. Dance class as it was in March – June was best, where I was still slightly overwhelmed by everything, always two steps behind and forced to focus. I always want to be learning something new while I’m getting better at the old. (That’s some PEAK Learning 28-3 bidness right there. Here, have some J.R. Anderson.) I dance because I like to dance, not because I want to perform on stage.

Having hip-hop on Monday night made that all clearer. I walked in (already tired after two hours of belly dance), and as soon as we started dancing, I started screwing up. Tangling up footwork, forgetting moves, and generally being a beginner. Failing.

It made me count my little successes, like that fact that I’m pretty good as chest isolation moves now, even while I’m trip-trip-tripping over my own feet. It’ll keep me from getting complacent. I can always push because there’s always a harder challenge.

I miss failing at belly dance. It’s not at all that I’m great at it–because really, I’m kinda a lousy dancer–it’s that I’m “good enough”. But if I just like to dance, does it matter that I’m not learning new stuff?