Friday, August 26, 2005


I've been accused of having a midlife crisis!!! yes, that's right. . one of my long time co-workers thinks that i'm in the throes of one right now!! WAAAAAAHAAAAAA HAAAAA!
blame it on dancing -- bellydancing.

Yes, belly dancing is something that i'd been wanting to do for a while, but couldn't seem to find any DVDs out there in the stores and i felt just WAY too weird to think about going to some class in a neighbourhood association building, under the pallor-inducing fluorescent lighting. . *did i also mention that its very unflattering?!* worrying about looking like a bull in a china shop in front of everyone else. . attempting to make my hips swivel and shimmy and do other unnatural motions with my pelvis?! uh, no.

So, on my birthday, my youngest child had obviously been paying attention to my occasional murmurings about my desire to learn this sinewy, ancient dance style. I've always been partial to most kinds of dancing. . i've taken a few classes in my day. . and i'm fairly quick on the uptake when it comes to learning moves and choreography; best of all, dancing is FUN!! I've been shlogging it out for years with friggin' leg lifts that make you look like a dog peeing on a hydrant, stupid step classes where an automaton leads you through an hour of staring at your feet climb up and step down from a neon riser, mind-numbing weight training circuit machines the soul-sucking treadmills and elliptical trainers. . . Every time i was in the gym I felt claustrophic and wanted to run outside so that I could feel the fresh air and hear sounds other than the hiss and click of machinery and see sights that made me happy, not the 'stepford wives' lined up in a row with dour and dismal faces. Life's too short, man!!!

As i opened this gift on that birthday. . i looked at the title: Kathy Smith's "Flex Appeal" and at first i thought "Oh, another fitness video, GREAT." THEN i looked further down to see the rest of the title:

OH THE JOY!!!! I was ecstatic. I kept looking at the cover, noticing Kathy's nifty bugle-beaded hip wrap and coordinating filmy top. She smiled beguilingly. I was beguiled. . not with her, cuz i'm not 'that way'!!! but with the exotic craziness of being able to try something different and fun and who cares if i'm a 43 year-old grandma?! I will shake what my momma gave me and i will shake it well!!

Next day i worked my shift even more grudgingly than usual! I kept thinking, "i'd rather be bellydancing." Finally at mid morning break, i could stand it no more! I whipped off my headphones, logged off and ran down to the basement, grabbed the video, ripped off the plastic, popped in the tape and watched the FBI WARNING scroll down the screen with growing excitement!

I stood in front of the TV, in my work out clothes. . . no, i don't have any flashy stuff yet but I will figure something out! I anxiously transferred my weight back and forth from one foot to another. . then the music started. . middle eastern snake charmer stuff. . I felt like i was having my break in Marakkesh!!! Kathy and the dancers appeared on the screen, swaying and circling their wrists against a lush, velvety backdrop, pillars, potted palms. . . I WAS in Marakkesh!

From the beginning breathing. . to the arm and wrist movements. . i was totally reeled in. . i loved it! It was so calming and graceful. I felt very girly! I progressed to 'snake arms'. . which are funky and fluid. . then came the various 'hip' moves. Kathy taught well. . the ladies slid serpiginously. We did chest circles and shoulder shimmies. . which made me feel like a dance hall hoochie!!! i was sooo grateful to be alone. . trying to make your 'parts' do things they ain't used to doing. . . i'll tell ya, not too pretty. . more like a clydesdale trying to race at the Kentucky Derby! hilarious! worked down to hip shimmies. . 'ummies' (a little grinding - but very high class grinding), 'mayas', 'hip drops'. . i was learning it all!!! I looked like the hip snaking ladies on the Old Navy 'skirt' commercial!!! . . . da da da da "old navy's got new skirts now, (our skirts are super chic), our skirts are very flirty. . (our skirts are super chic. .) super skirts, super skirts, they're super skirty." I recognized the hip shimmies right away!!! and I'm doing them!!! I fought an urge to drive to Old Navy to purchase a 'flirty skirt'! I was impressed with my hips, but i had to go back to work.

I'm typing away, illnesses flowed in one ear and out the other, doctor's voices droned incessantly jamming medical terminology into my brain, but my little heart was saying "You know you wanna dance!" So, once i signed off and escaped my little prison chair and my solitary confinement quarters, I raced down the stairs to put the tape back on. I continued swirling and shaking. I was happy. I even did the 'advanced section'. . Would you have ever thought that belly dancing could drench you in a sweat?!!! well it does!!! i was positively drippy by the cool down stretch time. .

I excitedly told the girls at work about my glorious, groovy new work out! This is when the term 'midlife crisis' came up. . i don't care! they've known me long enough to think i've lost it and get away with saying it!!! Maybe I have?! i've lost something all right. . . BOREDOM with exercise and my work and my routine!!! I now look FORWARD to working out!!! I cannot actually believe this. . where has this epiphany been hiding out?! I'm only jazzed that i've finally had it!!! a bona fide lightbulb moment. I've always loved dancing. . . so why did it never occur to me that i could do this exclusively for fitness. . and forget about the donkey kicks and tae bo, turbo crunch, power 90 nonsense?! i finally got it!!! So, now that i'm beginning to actually dance and not knock things flying with my hips. . i am wanting to expand my horizons. . . and after an search. . . along came. . . ta da. . . . Brazilian dance with live percussion!!! Man!!! is this fun!!!! It took no time for my DVD to arrive. . and with equal eagerness i turned on that DVD player. Instantly the bongos and conga drums transported me to Carnivale!!! I samba'd all over my basement. . i flung my arms up and wrapped them around my hips and let my backbone slide. . . I have to tell you that this is addictive stuff here!!! more shimmying and a lot of profuse sweating. . and a lot of listening to the dance instructor bark in her charmingly high-pitched, breathless accent "fife, seex, seven, aight!! samba right and travel and hips and hips." Brazilian street dance is fast and exciting. . . belly dancing is slow and intoxicating. I'm hooked. yep, definitely hooked. Now when we walk the dog at night I've noticed that i'm even beginning to walk differently, I'll have to watch the swaying. . i don't wanna hip check Rob and make him fall off the curb!!! midlife crisis, my hips!!! I say midlife appreciation!!! YA!


Tracy said...

Serpiginously - What a cool word!

Maybe you and the grandkids could work up a craft together and make yourself a jingly jangly hip wrapper thingy. Some silver bells, a bit of ribbon, some sparkly stuff.... :)

Kathryn said...

what a great idea, Tracy!!!

supersimbo said...

mmmmmmm are u ok kat??!!haha

Kathryn said...

just my usual weird self!!! LOL!!!

Anonymous said...

Everytime I see you post about 'belly dancing' I want to give it a try...but I have seriously no coordination!! I might just fall down!

Kathryn said...

hey, that would be okay if you fell down!!! you'd get better every time! and you could ice the bruises. . haha. . .

Kevin said...

Good for you Kathy! Your post is too funny though.

When I first read this post a few days ago I didn't know what to say. I still don't. I don't know if I will ever understand belly dancing's appeal, but I am glad that you are doing it, because it is something you have wanted to do. Good for you to also keep going despite your co-workers comments. Mid-life appreciation as you say it sounds apt. It's your life, make the most of it. :)


Alexis said...

Wow now this is to funny. Belly Dancing I have a picture of my 6 yr old brother many yrs ago with a belly dancer. His eyes were popping out of his head. Now why a 6 yr old kid with a belly dancer my parents had just got back from Egypt and they met a man who had an Egyptian resturant in TO. We went and his wife belly danced as the evening entertainment.

Kath you go girl. Glad it is your hips and body and not mine. Now I would be a sight for sore eyes doing that kind of dancing. Besides I might go one way and my bad leg another.

Follow your heart, have fun and let us know when you will be having your dance recital. HEHEHEHE

Kathryn said...

heh heh. . that's funny about your brother posing with the belly dancer! I'll bet his eyes were popping out!!!

I will follow my heart, thanx! As for dance recital. . i'd better get an outfit first!!! But seriously, I think i would DIE if anybody saw me dancing!!! (belly dancing anyway) ahhhhh!!!!!

It may seem silly, but its a great work out and its fun and i love it. Also love the Brazilian dance. .its got some of the same moves the hips and the shoulder shimmies - but its so fast and its also VERY fun with the drums and whistles - a lot of the Brazilian dances were originally done to celebrate occasions like the 'cafe', which was a dance to celebrate the coffee harvest. . they do some African dance, but also latin, with the samba and some caribbean latin with the samba reggae.


Paula said...

Fantastic! Keep it up :)

Kathryn said...

hey, thanx, Paula!!! I will!! I've been doing some online reading on the history of belly dancing/"Oriental Dancing" (oriental meaning 'eastern'). . apparently it wasn't at all lurid or sleazy until it was brought to Europe, then subsequently to North America. It seems that the costumes were altered, the moves as well. .i'll have to read some more. They danced with veils, swords, serious stuff! don't think i wanna go there!!! maybe veils! but that's where i draw the line! Its interesting finding out what ancient dances mean and how they reflected the culture of the people.