Hello again fellow hip shakers, as I said in the last blog belly dancing became a big part of my life, and like a rollercoaster there has been ups, downs and even twist. So the adventures of the Chubby Belly Dancer continues, but be warned…… what I’m about to say is the harsh truth, sugar coating what happen to me is not fair to you. Anyone who is not happy with their body because they are obese ( just like me) needs to know that whatever feelings ,good or bad, and or obstacles they have run into, they are not alone. And if you know me and are my friend, take extra precaution reading my blogs, I don’t want to put you in a even weirder position around me. Know this, I love you guys dearly, and there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for my friends.
Okay, so lets do a very short summary of what I wrote in my last blog. I love to dance, I have been moving and a grooving since I could walk. I take care of my paraplegic mother, work at a flooring store and I’m a emotional eater ( that’s how I got the big belly I have now). On a Vegas trip I spotted belly dancers and became fascinated, watching them dance inspire me to take up belly dancing. The first teacher I found, Bomb Dropper, rejected me like a bad virus. The second teacher I found, Bahaia, welcome with me with open arms and I fell in love with the dance. Now the adventure continues. To be honest at first I had no idea where taking belly dance lessons once a week would take me, I was just very happy to be doing it and I couldn‘t wait to get to class. It had become something I would tell not only my friends and family, I let everyone within ear shot know. Every ones reactions were mostly positive, but of course if they weren’t blown away by it I thought they were nuts. HELLO , did you not hear me, I said BELLY DANCING. To me it was the coolest thing ever, and the fact I was doing it ( even though I have major body issues) was without a doubt a major accomplishment. It took a family member to make me think , did I want to pursue this more then just weekly classes, can I do this more then once a week, and how far can someone like me go. Now this where I decided to expand my knowledge of the dance, being a night owl I would do research and watch performances on youtube at night. I really love youtube, it help change my life, side note: ( If u love your performance, video it and put it on youtube, it really does inspire people) After a month of doing this the coolest thing came to light, it was in Bahaia’s class when I first heard of the Austin Belly Dance Convention, a place where master teachers come from different parts of the globe to teach workshops, showing students new way to dance. YOU ARE KIDDING ME, here in Austin a event like this happens, in my own backyard I can expand my knowledge and meet star dancers. I was giddy when I got home, but the next day when I got on the net to look at the event and what it had to offer, I found myself becoming sad. All I could think about was my weight again, it took months to unpeel myself from the wall in Bahaia’s class and work my way up to the front. I still remember that day being in the front row, I wanted so badly to not suck and to impress her with what I had learn in class. Needless to say I wanted her to see I was dancing the best I could. Now I have to go into unknown territory if I wanted to get more out of this dance, which I did. I wanted to digest everything I could if it helps me become a better dancer. But sitting in front of the computer and wondering can I really do this, I started to develop that goldfish swimming around in my gut feeling, just like that day right before starting my first belly dance class. For a week I thought about it, and before I could chicken out I took what I call, the safe route. The Austin Belly Dance Convention offers many classes, the headliner has workshops on Saturday and Sunday mornings and there are also mini -workshops you can take in the afternoon. And also there is a ton of shopping for belly dancers available there, which I love . One of the mini workshops was being taught by my teacher, so I decided to take that one and then go to the shows they had on Friday and Saturday night. There, I might not have gotten into the pool, but I did manage to get a toe in.
So here it goes, my first experience into the Raks Sharqi world outside my normal classes. I miss the night show Friday, but when I got to the venue Saturday afternoon to take my class I still had to push myself out of the car. You probably thinking by now, my word she is a ball of nerves, but remember I am still very self conscious about my weight. I been made fun of, look down on and been told I would never be able to do certain things because of my weight, that is something one does not get over in a few months. This was a big step for me, and one giant leap for my new belly dance life, one I was determine to have. The atmosphere at the convention is very hard to explain, but I will do my best to describe it. Keep in mind, this was my very first visit to something like this and I was by myself, I still was a introvert and had not reach out to people just yet. I saw faces I recognize, but said nothing. I was determine to sit on the couch alone and wait for my class to start, I hope no one notice me. I was afraid to be deem not worthy of taking classes with other ladies who had far more experience and talent then I did. But out of nowhere that girl with big hair and glasses plop herself on the couch next to me to say hi, it was Jessica, the one who took role that first day in Bahaia class. We talk about the convention a little bit, and when she asked what classes I was taking I told her only Bahaias, she said “that’s it, mmph” we said our goodbyes and she left. That girl was determine to make me feel I belong, little did I know that down the road she become one of my dearest friends. After taking my class I went downstairs to look at what the vendors were selling, after table browsing for awhile I actually started to imagine myself at a night market in Marrakech. There I was surrounded by beautiful costumes made out of lovely fabric, exquisite jewelry and what you may call a belly dancer arsenal (cane, swords, veils, finger cymbals, you name it) and many other sparkly things. And on top of that there was music playing in the background, all that was missing was the camel rides. But I will be brutally honest, when it came to the costumes and even hip scarfs, options for a chubby girl like me were slim to none, and I teared up a little bit. I left and went to change clothes at a friends house and came back to watch the Saturday night show. If you have never seen a belly dance show, get to the net and find one nearest you, its an incredible thing to watch. I actually stood in the back since all the seats were filled up, if my feet were hurting during the show I didn’t notice, I was too busy taking it all in. The talent on that stage was incredible and I told myself, that’s why I want to learn as much as I can about this dance. I want to dance like that, or at least try to be the best I can be. I want to dance with fluidity or no hesitation in my step, just like those fabulous dancers did. And that’s why they come to teach, to help lead you onto that path, but you have to be willing to open your heart and mind and learn what you can from them. I went home that night , laid in bed I thought about what I saw. No one there looked down on me for my appearances and people in general were friendly and happy. I was cursing myself for being scared, again and I wish I had taking more classes. But I knew one thing for sure, me having this big belly was not going to get in my way from learning from a star dancer, when one comes to your town, and you have always admire their dancing, go and learn from them. Bahaia actually started this wonderful event called the Austin Belly Dance Convention, the first year I went was her last year to run it. Now Stacy Lizette (another great dancer) is in charge of it, and she does a wonderful job of running it. In the past few years I go to the convention and I enjoy every bit of it. From the classes, shopping, shows and hanging out with my fellow belly dancing friends. I can honestly say every time I leave a class, I take something away from it, learning from these wonderful women has made me a better dancer and I hope to grow more. So go fellow hip shakers, learn what you can, cause in my opinion you can always learn more!
In the next blog, I will talk about Camperet a belly dance camp, another big step for me. Then the one after that I plan to cover the chubby pink elephant in the room, my weight in the belly dance world. How people have treated me, the costume issues, my stamina and what I’m doing about it now, stay tune.
Shakes You Later
P.S. Thank you Bahaia and Stacy creating this workshops and bringing in dancers with tremendous talent to teach them. To be able to learn from them is such a wonderful gift I cant thank you enough for.
P.S.S And thank you to my new found belly sisters without you guys i would never come out of my shell to be the ham I am today, love u!
Here are links I love
My teacher Bahaia,, the one who open my eyes to this wonderful dance, love her!
Kahramana Is a belly sister who makes beautiful hip scarves, she has then in all sizes, and I mean all sizes, her I the ones I wear and love.
Kimora is another belly sister of mine, a talented sword dancer and makes the best belly dance t-shirts
And finally the The Austin Belly Dance Convention, best place ever!!