It was almost 4 years ago that one of my best friends asked me if I would go with her to a belly dancing class because noone else was interested.
Amanda Craine’s class at that time was in a church hall and we fumbled our way through the first class with no understanding of how any of the beginners in the class were making their hips shimmy and their walks Egyptian!
4 years later I am hooked! After having a break whilst I was travelling, I am trying to get back up to speed – having left my shimmy somewhere in Asia!
I am part of the improvers group who dance for 1.5 hours a week and perform at Haflas and events throughout the year. For the uninitiated, a Hafla is a gathering of dancers to share performances, food and conversation. Anyone of any level can perform and there is usually a souk of clothing and decorative items.
My first Hafla was a nail biting event and took place at a hall in Keighley. I had made my own costume (more on that later) and was nervous as hell. I smiled so massively at a man in the audience I think I scared him …. You should never direct all your belly dancing powers at one person…. Its just too much!
I really enjoyed the dance though and pledged to perform with my friend who introduced me to it, at our annual mini music festival in our garden in Bradford! We went down a storm – despite the very small dancing space. The biggest performance so far was at the Dance Mill debut at Victoria Theatre in Halifax – a ticketed event to celebrate the fantastic Dance Mill’s birthday which attracted over 600 people. We were only on for 5 minutes and it just wasn’t long enough!
I love the camaraderie of dancing in a group so am resisting the slightly tummy churning (excuse the pun!) idea of solo performance for a little bit longer – plus I need to make myself a smashing outfit to wear first and that is taking a bit of practice on the old sewing machine.
This is one hobby that ensures that you don’t have to diet… afterall… you need something to shake!