Would you believe I actually did it? I belly danced. An attempt was made anyhow. In my program we have these 'mandatory cultural activities';belly dancing, cooking, or calligraphy. Obviously belly dancing, right? Well that's what I thought, anyhow. Our teacher walked into the class today and of course started jabbering in Arabic. First thing she does: she showed us two videos of herself belly dancing that were at least five minutes long each. Her style of belly dancing is folklore but there are several others. There are types more for show and those more culturally based. We all stood up after the videos looking skeptically back and forth at one another. Shouting 'yalla' (lets go!) we began. One by one we learned the steps, shaking our hips, shoulders and other parts I didn't know existed. Mostly she would just do a new move and encourage us to follow. Though not extremely informative, it was highly entertaining and surprisingly a good workout. There is this move called the fish (samak) where you move up and down on your tippy-toes while simultaneously rolling your belly in and out. We looked ridiculous! All bobbing up and down around the little room, everyone was a good sport though we were clearly not the most talented of all groups. Our teacher came over and corrected several people making them feel her hips as she undulated or repeat a move in front of the class an embarrassing number of times.
All in one classroom, us 15 girls danced for a good hour and a half. Sweaty by the end we swayed to the music, tried to be graceful and move our necks, hands, fingers and hips simultaneously to the slow voice of the man singing the Arab music. Half of the things we did I definitely could not repeat. Nor would I. Maybe the fish move though.Next week I'll update you on how the fish move develops! All you Americans watch out! 'The fish' will soon be coming to a club near you!