Last night I took two belly dance classes in a row. The first one was easy even for a beginner class. The students signed up through the community education program last fall and are at a more basic level than the classes I usually take. It was nice for a change to be the most advanced dancer in the room, even though that isn't saying much. We take our encouragement where we can.
For you frustrated beginning belly dancers, let me assure you that you will improve with time. At first I felt completely uncoordinated and awkward. Even though I've danced a lot in my life, this is different. You have to train a whole new set of muscles--several sets of muscles--to do things you never asked of them before. Like anything else, it takes time to do it well.
So the good news is eventually, you, too, can learn to shimmy! I am still working on my basic shimmy. Some people seem to shimmy effortlessly right off the bat, while others (like me), find it very difficult. I practice my shimmy every chance I get. When I take the dogs outside to do their business, I will stand there shimmying as I wait. Lucky for me, our neighbors are far enough away so they can't see me, unless they have a set of binoculars handy.
The bad news is as soon as you feel you've mastered one set of moves, Miss K. piles on more. I acquired a newfound respect for belly dance when I realized how many body parts a belly dancer has to keep moving at the same time, often at different rhythms and in different directions. Like patting your head and rubbing your tummy times 20. (One of my classmates says she takes belly dance because she is naturally uncoordinated, and it helps her coordination.) Then comes "layering," when just one body part is doing two things at once, like shimmying while executing a hip circle.
Back to taking the two classes in a row last night. As mentioned, the first class was pretty easy, although I was still a sweaty mess by the end. The second class, the "beginner intermediate," happened to have some more advanced students in attendance last night, so I think Karen cranked up the level of difficulty. She threw in some moves that I flat out could not do in any recognizable form, and my attempts were laughable. But I hung in there until the last 5 minutes. I was so out of breath I had to stop. Plus a wave of nausea had come over me, probably because I hadn't eaten anything since lunch. I'm one of those people who grazes every couple of hours, so going without sustenance for several hours took its toll. Next time I'll bring a protein bar.