Being at Karoun the other night and watching the amazing belly dancer brought back personal memories of my brief foray into belly dancing.

I am not much of a dancer. I didn’t usually humiliate myself too much as a kid, but no one was awestruck by my abilities. The Frug and the Pony? I could do them. I could even do a pretty good Lindy, though by the time I learned it, it was 20 years out of date. I badly wanted to dance. I took tap and ballet. There were worse kids in the class than me, but not many. I moved on to jazz where I wasn’t nearly as bad. But “not nearly as bad” is not anything like “good.”

I had dreamed of being a ballet dancer. Despite silly rumors that all you need to do to make it happen is “keep at it until you get it right,” I wasn’t going to be a ballet dancer. Or, as far as I could tell, even a moderately acceptable ballroom dancer.

As I hit my mid twenties, I found myself working for a couple of technical photography magazines … and one of my bosses taught belly dancing in her “off hours.”

Belly dancing. It wasn’t what I’d had it mind, but I was assured that I could do it. Not a lot of flying feet, air leaping and it was apparently okay if you were a little bit rounder than the average dancer. I figured … why not? I signed up.

It turned out I had a real knack for belly rolls and all the hip stuff. I could do a surprisingly good back bend and I just loved twiddling with the Zills, (zils), or finger cymbals, (from Turkish zil, “cymbals”). Those are the tiny metallic cymbals used by belly dancers and they make a delicious little miniature clanging sound.

I was having fun. Although I didn’t see myself morphing into a serious dancer, I was having a good time. I discovered there were more uses for belly dancing socially than I had ever imagined. Even for me who had only taken a few lessons. Men really like that hip movement.

Then, along came the shimmy. I knew from painful past experience I cannot shimmy. As a girl, all my friends could shimmy. I couldn’t and it wasn’t for lack of trying. My shoulders wouldn’t shake. My hips would shake. I could probably have done a full hula, but was hopeless at making my shoulders move. My instructor told me to try doing it sitting down. I made the chair shimmy, but not me.

I failed the shimmy.

Belly dancing had been my last hope for finding my place in the world of dance. Not long thereafter, I got more serious about learning to ride horseback. That went much better and although I never was ready for the Grand Prix, I became a reasonably good rider.

Watching the belly dancer the other night brought back all the memories. What startled me most was that this brilliant dancer — Melina really is brilliant — didn’t use a single shimmy in her long and extremely complex routine. It was all hips and belly rolls. So maybe I could have skipped the shimmying and moved ahead. I guess I’ll never know.

If you or anyone you know might be interested, Melina has a dance studio in which she teaches not only belly dancing, but acrobatics called the Daughters of the Rhea.

Additionally, she and her husband, Czech circus star Sacha Pavlata, direct the Moody Street Circus, a belly dance and circus studio for all ages in Waltham, MA. Moody Street Circus’s mission is to joyfully share the Pavlata family legacies of circus arts and belly dance to wonderful students of all ages, and to foster friendly community, strengthen bodies, hone skills, fuel joyous dreams and imagination, and promote positivity and fun. .

Categories: Anecdote, Humor, Personal

Tags: , , ,

7 replies

  1. It’s a really good exercise too, Marilyn. Peter did the twist when invited up on stage with a belly dancer. It seemed to work okay.


  2. This made me think if that old (very old!) song, “I wish that I could shimmy like my sister, Kate….”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I definitely have the belly, but not the dance to go with it . I was more into twist and all the dance hall stuff that followed. We learned pair dancing at school, waltz etc. but it was a girl only school so as I was taller than most, I had to lead and never really learned the woman’s steps.

    Liked by 1 person

Talk to me!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Touring My Backyard

Rediscovering Singapore

Our Eyes Open

Come along on an adventure with us!

Travel with me

Travel snapshots from Toonsarah

Thoughts & Theories

My Personal Rants, Ravings, & Ruminations

France & Vincent

Writing Magic, Myth and Mystery

Barb Taub

Writing & Coffee. Especially coffee.

This, That, and The Other

Random musings on life, society, and politics.

Keep it alive

A look at life, achieving good physical and mental health and happiness

Covert Novelist

Light Hearted Mysteries

Salted Caramel

Blogging, Motivation, Lifestyle and much more.

Sarah's Attic Of Treasures

Making My Home A Haven is important to me. Sharing homemaking skills. Recipes and food. Bible Studies. This is a treasure chest of goodies. So take a seat. Have a glass of tea and enjoy. You will learn all about who I am.

Green Screen

The Environmental Movie Podcast

bushboys world

Photos of my world and other stuff I hope you will enjoy too. Photos taken with Canon PowershotSX70HS Photos can be purchased.


Independent views from someone who offers some historical context

My Blog

Just another site

National Day Calendar

Fun, unusual and forgotten designations on our calendar.

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Trent's World (the Blog)

Random Ramblings and Reviews from Trent P. McDonald

Views from the Edge

To See More Clearly

serial monography: forgottenman's ruminations

wandering discourse, pedantic rant, self-indulgent drivel, languorous polemic, grammarian's bête noire, poesy encroachment approaching bombast, unintended subtext in otherwise intentional context, unorthodox unorthodoxy, self-inflected rodomontade, …

draliman on life

Because sometimes life just makes you stop and think

The English Professor at Large

Posts about old Hollywood, current concerns



The Day After

Musings, Photography, Writing, and More



Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

Welcome to the Anglo Swiss World


Your Source For The Coolest Science Stories

%d bloggers like this: