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The next time I decide to do something embarrassing, I’m going to either a) make sure no one is home, or b) close the bedroom door. Little Guy was playing in the bathtub Saturday morning (something he hasn’t done in a long time), so I had to stay upstairs where I could hear him. So I decided to try something I haven’t tried in a very long time – belly dancing!

I took classes at the Community Centre just before Little Guy came along, and I really enjoyed it. I couldn’t believe that I was, in fact, the youngest in the class. The majority of women were in their ’50s, and most were not first-timers like me. I bought a DVD 2 years ago and it’s been sitting on the shelf next to my yoga DVD, collecting dust.

Belly dance is a torso-driven dance, with emphasis on hips. The focus of the dance is on relaxed isolations of the torso muscles, rather than on movements of the limbs through space.

There are three basic types of movements:
Percussive movements – Staccato movements, most commonly of the hips, ribcage or shoulders, which can be used to accent the beat.
Fluid movements – Continuously flowing horizontal and vertical figures of 8, or infinity loops, commonly used to interpret the music.
Shimmies, shivers and vibrations – Small, fast, continuous movements of the hips or ribcage.

Dancers may include travelling steps, turns and spins. The arms are used to frame and accentuate movements of the hips, and to create beautiful lines and shapes with the body.

Belly dance is a non-impact, weight-bearing exercise, which improves flexibility and strengthens the spine, back, legs, and abs. It is also a good exercise for the prevention of osteoporosis. Dancing with a veil can help build strength in the upper body, arms, and shoulders.

Most people are shocked when they hear that I used to belly dance, maybe because some of the dance movements can have a very sexual connation, but it’s really good exercise. Little Guy thought my coin belt was “too noisy” but he liked my veil. And Hubby…well when Hubby walked in on me, he just kind of snickered and departed. Smart move!

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