It may have been freezing cold and foggy outside, but when we turned up for our December meeting we were transported to the Middle East thanks to the lovely Emily, who was teaching us the ancient art of belly dancing.
She explained the historical origins of the dance, which was first seen in the UK by the Victorians who were horrified by it. However, the belly dancers were equally horrified by the Victorian women who, although they were more covered up, would dance very closely with the men, which was completely different to belly dancing.
After giving us a quick history of the dance, Emily gave a brilliant demonstration in traditional costume, showing off the various moves involved and clearly enjoying the dance. We were all impressed, particularly with the way she was able to shimmy so quickly!
Then it was our turn. We began with a warm-up to make sure we wouldn’t pull anything during the dancing, before learning some basic moves. A few of us discovered out muscles were so unused to exercise that we couldn’t remember how to move them, while others took to the shimmying movements more easily.
By the end of the evening, we had learned enough to do a simple routine to a piece of music – quite surprising, considering that only one of us had ever done belly dancing before! Emily was a clear and patient teacher and made it great fun for all of us.
The awful weather meant our numbers were depleted, but those who came out quickly warmed up with the energetic dancing, along with quite a lot of laughter. Our energy expended, there was just enough time for a cup of tea before we headed home.
This was our last meeting of 2012 and the new programme for 2013 will be distributed soon. We’re confident the meetings will prove just as popular as those we have enjoyed so far, so check the website again soon to find out what’s in store.