In the Belly Dancing course the word belly is mentioned surprisingly little. Nor have any of the participants any stomach to talk about. Instead it is all about the hips which need to be quite mobile. In the beginning of the course we start off by doing some exercises in order to warm up our joints. Already, we create a lot of noise due to the beautiful belts we are wearing. They are colourful, adorned with coins and contribute to the creation of an exotic atmosphere.
Next we practice some of the basic moves. They consist of rolling our hips in upright or lying eights which are gradually transformed into more flat infinity signs. These movements are rather complex and require a certain ability to coordinate one’s motions. Fortunately the music helps to find a rhythm. It is the first time that the muscles of the participants come to ache because of the unfamiliar movements. The tutor though has already foreseen this and offers some stretching exercises that help to overcome the sore muscles. Additionally, we are shown some practices to ameliorate one’s posture.
Subsequent to running through the hip movements for a while, we carry on with arm movements. The most important thing is that all movements are of a flowing nature, no angles are allowed. Afterwards we try to combine arm and hip movements which ends in some chaos at first. Again the individual tips of the tutor sort it out so that all students make a lot of progress in the course of the class.
In the end it is even possible to dance some small choreography, first as a group and then a different step arrangement in pairs. This conclusion of the course is satisfying since it shows what progress is possible in only one session. After all, most participants started off as absolute beginners.
All in all, belly dancing is not easy but thanks to the patient tutor it is not impossible to make a lot of progress in one session. Due to the flowing movements belly dancing is very relaxing. Nevertheless, the motions are very energetic so after the session some muscles are complaining about being overstrained. But it is definitely worth it.
About the writer: Carolin Langner is currently staying in Worcester for a 6-week work placement. She originally comes from Mainz, Germany, where she recently completed her studies. She holds an M.A. in British Studies. Working for a German newspaper and a text publishing company, she hopes to gain some new insights and experiences during her internships at the Worcester Arts Workshop and Visit Worcester.