The belly dancing classes i attend are a wonderful space.

We all shimmy and shake and tinkle to our own personal level of ability. We laugh at ourselves and wear scarves bedecked in clinking coins around varying shaped hips and bottoms. Young girls swing almost undeveloped hips while older women are reminded of unused muscles of youth. Shoulders, breasts and bellies undulate and move rhythmically; knees walk and hips snap; arms flow and veils sweep.

 And in the back row i almost strangle myself repeatedly with my piece of exotic fabric; i step on the wrong foot and pull muscles trying to drop a hip in the wrong position;  i clink whenever one else is clanking and i fall over my own feet.

 I have such terrible co-ords hanging washing is a challenge. And now i am expected to be all flowing and graceful with a veil between my fingers. Now that really is a challenge – and potentially life threatening in an a 3 metre radius.

 But i love it. The women are all just doing their thing; there is no competition or nastiness. The women who are more capable encourage the crap ones (ie me) and remind them that everyone is bad to start with.

It’s not all ‘lets look at our vaginas in a mirror’ hippy women shit where we all share stuff. It’s just easy, gentle energy. I may never even be friends outside of the studio with a single one of these women, but i like the time we share learning to belly dance.

 It’s energising and empowering!

I do think i may be bad at dancing forever but so what, it’s not as if i will ever get a position in a harem.