Thursday, October 8, 2009

Belly-dancing Virgin

"Think about your line ladies. You wanna be on the diagonal. We gotta see those tattas."
"That's what I'm talkin bout!"
My tattas are unenticingly encased in a sports bra and a sweaty gym t-shirt. My booty, which I'm tilting and tucking and dropping and popping in ways which are going to hurt tomorrow, is not looking its best in gray sweatpants from the charity shop. All around me, strong, beautiful women in floaty skirts, jangling belts and the sort of crop tops I used to wear when my stomach was tween-concave, are shimmying up a storm. I'm the only white girl here, one of the handful under forty, and the only one who looks like they got lost on the way to a cut-price pilates class.

I was warned at the beginning of the session that "we have a lot of fun here", but between and after and during the fun there's a whole lot of stomach isolations and deadly reps. You don't realise how many muscles you use to shimmy until you've shimmied for an hour and a half straight. By the end of class one-armed sit-ups would have been a blessed respite.

"Come on ladies. This is going to give you an hour glass figure. Hour. Glass. What you want? You want cuckoo clock? No? Then five, six, seven, eight..."

As always, the hardest part is the five minute break, which I spend smiling shyly at people and hiding in the toilet. But when I come out for the last session something clicks into place. As long as I don't look in the mirror I too am a strong, beautiful woman doing snake arms and undulating my womb.

When I look in the mirror I am the awkward before-version of a dance makeover film, the white girl who studied ballet for years and takes notes after ballroom class but can't shake her booty for love nor money.

But I figure if I can just get my hands on one of those jangly belts, I'll be ready to start the dance-training montage.

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