On Life and Love

Dense Belly Dance

Shortly after H and I did the West African dance class last month, we decided to try a belly dance class down in the Ballantyne area of Charlotte, where I work and they live.

We’ve gone every week since. This is a different instructor than the one I went to from 2010 thru (sporadically) 2012, and there are some fascinating differences.

This instructor is more inclined to talk “technical” about the dance moves from the first class–the muscles involved, what should be contracting and relaxing during a move. That’s great for me in relearning properly, and H has done other formal dance training before and finds that immensely helpful.

We drill a lot in every class, short but comprehensive sequences of moves through several songs.

We aren’t doing choreography, so while there isn’t that same sense of “completion” at the end of month of moving through an entire choreography, I’ve also learned a lot of moves in one month that I hadn’t learned before. Some of that’s likely due to differences in what moves each teacher considers to be “intermediate” vs “beginner”.

Also, zills drill in every class on basic patterns and moving while finger cymballing (difficult!). Then there’s named percussion patterns, how to recognize them, how to finger cymbal to them, and practice dancing to them.

Every class.

It’s the densest damn class-style instruction I’ve had in anything in years, I think.

I’ve also gotten some invaluable help from the instructor for dancing with my subacromial bone spur. I don’t think I can articulate the relief of waking up the morning after doing belly dance and being able to pick up my keys from my bar counter without my shoulder giving out or having a twinge of pain. No more sawing at my rotator cuff for an hour.

I still can’t do things like serious military press without causing longer-lasting pain, but I can finally do much of the overhead work of belly dance and only suffer the (delightful) muscle soreness of my shoulder muscles getting stronger.

Only major downside of this class is that there aren’t mirrors in the studio. It’s pretty tricky to assess how “figure 8” your figure 8’s are without a mirror.

H and I are probably going to keep exploring other dance styles, but we both like having BD as a regular thing on the calendar.