Susan's Blog

Monday, October 15, 2007

Baby Bellies

Today I taught my first Baby Bellies class. I am offering an After-School Activity at Ben’s school: Middle-Eastern dance for grades K-4. I got four little girls: two second grade, two first. All I can say is: WOW!!!! Being only the mother of sons, who never played much with girly-girls, this was my first exposure to real girly-girls since I was one myself. (I do not say “girly-girl” pejoratively; I only mean that these are the traditional kind of little girl, the pink-and- hairband-wearing, tights and leggings kind. The kind I was/am.)

I have hardly ever taught anybody anything. So I planned a lot for today. I burned a CD for the class. I studied my own bellydance notes to come up with a lesson. I bought round silver aluminum cookie trays for them to practice posture and balance; I introduced them to beginning veil and zills; I showed them two traveling steps; and I showed them snake arms and head isolations. They used my hip scarves and were delighted by the jingling of the coins and by the colors of the veils.

I am amazed at how quickly little kids learn. Quickly and joyfully. Questions, questions, questions. “Why do you have that on?” (my black lace hip scarf) “Why do they do that?” (balance stuff) “Is this right?” “Can we take these home?” (everything) They are so agile and flexible, they could do just about everything I showed them! And so gracefully! It is just a wonderful thing to watch; they all moved so beautifully, so naturally; delicate, yet strong. It is very different from dancing with older women. It is amazing to think how long it took me to master isolations like snake arms and head circles while doing the grapevine step; these girls tried a few times and could do it. They just needed reminding to slow down!

I am just so happy right now. I can’t imagine a better way to spend my time, frankly, than teaching little kids something they really want to learn. My mind is blown. I hope I can keep up with them.


That sounds so wonderful!!!

— added by Natalia on Monday, October 15, 2007 at 9:06 pm

Typical kids make you feel like a star, they’re soooooo easy peasy.
Good for you, better [and cheaper!] than therapy.

— added by Maddy on Monday, October 15, 2007 at 9:12 pm

The trays are an awesome idea! I just thought of something – when they get more advanced, “tray of cookies” (instead of candles) and then if they succeed on keeping it on their head, they can eat them. 🙂

I need to return your pink hipscarf too. Sounds like you could use it.

— added by Shannon Brooke Davis on Monday, October 15, 2007 at 11:04 pm

Oh, my gosh, that is so beautiful!! I saw the title and had this vision of toddler tummies, but little girl tummies are darling too.

And aren’t they a kick? I went through two girls, and now I have their kids to enjoy, and I love them! They are energy, and curiosity, and love, and orneriness (the good kind), and fun in one bundle!

Metta, Rjaye

— added by Anonymous on Monday, October 15, 2007 at 11:28 pm

your house looks beautiful-a soulful place for a beautiful party- cheers to you-and teaching girly-girls…good for you

— added by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 at 12:11 am

I see an afterschool franchise in the making.

Your writing makes me happy.

— added by celeste w, studio 501c on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 at 1:33 am

Good for you, Susan! I love the visual; girls comfortable in their own skins, moving with innate grace and poise. Imagine what could be different for us as a culture if kids got to have experiences like Middle East dance and, say, Yoga, as part of their school curriculum. Being present in the moment and loving who they are, knwoing each is beautiful in his/her own way…..perhaps eating disorders and body image problems would go down?

— added by Em's Mom on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 at 7:27 am

Such a beautiful experience! ANd Em’s Mom took the thought right out of my head! I can only imagine how different so many girl’s lives could be with that kind of self-confidence.

— added by Niksmom on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 at 8:20 am

I think you’ve found what you were looking for (even if you weren’t looking for it)! It’s quite amazing the good feelings you get from the innocent, un-selfconscious, unconditional happiness and warmth from little kids.

— added by MarkZ on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 at 10:39 am

Oh my gosh what fun!! You can teach them to count as they dance that seven veils dance, yes? (Is that even belly dancing?) Can’t you just see them, “One. Two….” Are you using any songs from Aladin? Have fun!

— added by Kim Rossi Stagliano on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 at 8:40 pm

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