Too Fat to Dance?
Life as a voluptuous belly dance goddess
I started belly dancing on a dare.
My mom suggested I take a community education class. It seemed like a unique and exotic way to stay active and healthy. But me dancing? I had my doubts.
I might consider doing it, if only I was more built for the part. After all, who wants to see a “big girl” like me shimmy around? The swaying, sensuous, feminine movements intrigued me, but I also had chilling visions of “plus-sized” me in a class full of svelte, trim dancers.
Little by little, my mom wore me down. I started to really believe I might not only enjoy belly dance, but be good at it. At 22 years old, I mustered up the courage to sign up for beginning belly dance through a local community education program.
After one class I was hooked.
I remember walking into that first class in an all-too glamorous high school cafeteria. The site that greeted me was about a dozen women of all ages and sizes. There were mothers there with daughters, college students, young women like me, middle-aged friends enjoying a new hobby and older women seeking activities for their retirement. Even our instructor was not what I imagined. Instead of the thin, tall, model-like dancer I envisioned, she was a spunky, curvaceous, petite redhead.
I was amazed to find that many of the basic movements were almost intuitive. For the first time in my life, I found my curves useful – even beneficial.
After the six session intro class ended, I was hungry for more. My instructor recommended a local dance school. I started the Level 1 class the following month.
Still slightly intimidated by the “official” dance class atmosphere, as well as the petite Level 1 instructor, I positioned myself in the back of the studio for the first few classes. The third class we began to learn hip shimmies. To my horror, as I shimmied my hips many other things came along for the ride!
Sensing my discomfort, the instructor said to the class, “If you notice other things shimmying, that’s good. In the Middle East, the ideal dancer has more than a little meat on her bones.”