Friday, 9 May 2014

Shake for the Sheik: why I love belly dancing...

Baked potatoes, pastries, hot pies, pizza, mountains of buttery pasta, endless cups of tea and stacks of digestive biscuits, fish and chips….comfort food for a cold, wet day but, oh, the price to pay, in the shape of a thickened waist and a pair of flabby hips, symptoms of our prolonged and miserable winter. My interest in belly dancing did not originate within an amateur class taking place inside of a gym disguised as an Arab souk, no; it stemmed naturally from looking disconsolately at my winter waistline in the mirror, of a morning, of wishing the surplus covering away and swaying in response to the need to do something about it. The instinct to move rhythmically is almost certainly a primal one, born of an atavistic link to a serpentine ancestor, perhaps? Whatever, the number of warm-weather cultures that espouse this torso-driven dance cannot be incidental; Turkey, Egypt, Morocco all have their versions of belly dancing. I’m still struggling with the hip movements, have yet to don silken veils, hang rattling gold charms from my midriff or master the use of finger cymbals – who cares? It’s great fun and I’m already down to last summer’s waist size…ready now, shake for the Sheik….

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