Susan's Blog

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Pas de Vembre

Today it really looks as if there were no more vember. There is only a raw, sticky rain, the kind that pulls down the remaining leaves and mashes them into the ground.

So what did I do on such an ugly day? I bellydanced for three hours, at a workshop given by Bellydance Superstar Rachel Brice. For those of you who don’t know, Rachel Brice is probably the number one tribal-style bellydancer anywhere. Tribal is an American contemporary dance form, derived from gypsy, Indian, and other forms and melded into bellydance. You get a lot of sinuous snakelike and very slow movements to music that sounds like garbage cans clanking around in a puddle. It is very freaky in some ways; the girls often wear hairpieces of rasta-braids, beads, ribbons, and feathers, and belts of cowrie shells and lots of metal. Tatoos abound, especially on backs and bellies.

Rachel Brice is a fantastic teacher, who knows exactly how to describe how a movement should feel. “Squoosh your right ribs together like an accordian, and stretch your left ribs up. Then, holding that, shoulders move straight out, to the right. As they start to go up, pull your right ribs up, up, up, and then squoosh your left ribs together.” This is the “sidewinder,” a fabulous torso figure 8. She has you do this for several minutes at a time, thoroughly drilling it in. She is really funny and warm, and walks around the room stroking backs that are too tense, and pointing into spines that are too curved.

We had only one 20 minute lunch break, and some yoga stretching before and after. The rest of the time we were doing Mayas (reverse verticle hip 8s), Omis (interior hip circles), hip locks on the up and on down, chest slides and chest circles, shoulder rolls, arms (a disaster) and glute squeezes. The glute squeezes were so funny looking (it is just what it sounds like: you squeeze one side of your tush by contracting only that muscle, and then the other side) that Rachel played merry-go-round music to the exercise, to let us know that it was silly and not to worry if we couldn’t get it exactly right.

My hair was dripping wet when we were through. I drank two bottles of water and ate two little candy bars when I got home. The good news is, my hips hurt less now than they did this morning! That’s because we did so many good stretches and because Rachel showed us every single move generating from obliques and low abdominals, rather than from hips. So now my hips don’t have to lie, cry, pop, or die.

And tonight, the Bellydance Superstars are doing a show, and we are going! Rachel Brice, Sonia, Petite Jemillah — all my favorites. I am totally psyched. And at least Ned will be happy to see Petite and her adorable little pout. Lets us forget the lack of vember outside.

1 comment

hey, that’s really good…sounds a lot like skinny puppy to me…be well, susan -mrs. g.

— added by Anonymous on Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 11:52 pm

%d bloggers like this: