Jill Of Some Trades

And Master Of At Least One


Leave a comment

Shake it ‘Til You Make It

belly-dance

Our Troupe

A long time ago, in a hair colour far, far away, I began what is likely one of my life’s great passions – belly dance.  I started this hobby, like everything in my life…by accident.  My friend and I wanted to take Latin Dance and I called around, and ended up on the phone with my beloved dance teacher Samia.  She explained that all Latin dances come from Belly Dance and I should come and check out a beginner class.  My friend agreed and off we went.

I didn’t love it right away.  I had an instructor that was a little bit of a snooze for me, but we got to watch the advanced classes.  These ladies were amazing and turned me into a little wannabe.  One day, we were told that we were going to be in a recital, and I thought FAT CHANCE, NO WAY JOSE, NOT HAPPENING, so yup, you guessed, it, I got suckered into buying my first skirt and belt and practiced my little heart out.  As we practiced, Samia came into the room, with her French/Lebanese accent, and her watchful eye, she made me soooo nervous.  She always had a couple of corrections, then did a quick sweep around the room, and then left as quickly as she came in.  I was hooked, and hoped that one day, I’d learn from this master and literally, right after the recital, I joined her Wednesday class.

Samia was an amazing teacher.  When she taught us new choreography, she would dance a section for us, and when you watched her, it was magic.  Something swept over her  – it was like she was performing on a stage in some distant land, not in our little dance studio.    She was tough, don’t get me wrong, but once you got to know her, she became your dance mother.  She wanted to know about your life, and she learned so much about you.  There were no secrets with her, she just knew us so well, that it was impossible to not spill your guts.

Once you started performing, she would select a dance name for you.  I wondered what exotic name awaited me, as my fellow students walked away with  monikers like Najwa (meaning secret conversation), Aisha (alive) or some other names that implied strength.  I walked in and Samia smiled at me, and told me that my name would be Shams.  Ugh, I thought in my inside voice, it’s doesn’t end in a cute sounding vowel.  When I asked her what it meant, she told me, it means “The Sun”.  She then humiliated me, unintentionally, by telling me that it was because my cheeks are so cute when I smile, it charmed her so much that it reminded her of the sun.  Yup, tough girl, that’s me.  Eventually, it grew on me.

One day, Samia asked me to join her troupe as a performer.  The goal was to create shows, not recitals and that we would all pitch in with the hope of earning money just for doing what we all loved to do.  It was fun, but a lot of hard work practicing 3 days a week.  There was nothing better though, than performing with the troupe and seeing what choreography Samia would dream up.  Everything was amazing, until one day, our beloved teacher told us all some devastating news – she had to retire because of issues with her feet.  It’s hard to explain what it was like to hear that news.  She was a safety net for all of us, and we all fell apart that day.  I tried to stick with the school that she had built, but after less than a year, I gave up.  It just wasn’t the same.  I tried other places, but some people are irreplaceable, so after ten years, I put my costumes away and moved on.  Then, life happened and I got completely distracted by other things.

Late in August, over dinner, someone who knew that I used to dance asked very briefly why I didn’t do it anymore and my answer was lame.  I don’t even remember what it was, but I started thinking and thinking and thinking some more about it.  Within a few days, I was Googling belly dance schools all over Toronto trying to figure out which could be “the one”.  I had my first class tonight, deciding on a beginner course since it’s been so long.  It was GREAT.  The second song the instructor played was one of my old solos, so I knew that this was the right place.  It wasn’t easy at first, but once I started moving again, it just felt right.  It may not be the same as it was, but that’s OK, it doesn’t need to be.

 

 

 


3 Comments

I’ve Avoided It Long Enough…

P1020175

Hiking to a glacier in Norway.

I have a love hate relationship with exercise.  Some of it, I love!  I also love the way that I feel after I finish.  I HATE the guilt that I feel when I don’t want to exercise, having to get there and even thinking about it.  I tried to avoid writing about physical activity, alas, it’s part of the theme for this month.  I’ve avoided it long enough.

I am one of those annoying people that will try anything once unless I’m so totally freaked out by it that the stress on my heart would be too much for me to take.  Basically, we’ll say anything having to do with getting on a bike is not going to happen for me (unless it doesn’t move) or anything else where the threat of injury is too great.  Here’s a quick peak at just a few things I’ve tried and my yay or nay to them:

  • Indoor Rock Climbing – Nay.  It smelled like the inside of a jock strap (don’t ask me how I know this) and I got stuck in a group where one of the girls kept crying that she was scared, so she got the easier part of the wall.  My friend and I were put on a more advanced wall even though we were newbies too.  I was too short to reach most of the rocks and it just wasn’t the most fun thing I’ve ever done.  I may try it one more time, but I’d really need to be persuaded.
  • Kangoo – Yay and Nay.  If you haven’t heard of Kangoo, it’s a high-energy, interval work out.  You get to wear these fabulous boots with “bouncers” on the bottom.  You jump through an entire work out to really fun music.  You get very dew-y (my lady-like way of saying you sweat like a beast) and it’s a lot of fun.  It does, however, take a lot of practice and it was really hard for me to master.
  • Zumba – YAY!!! – I love Zumba.  It’s a really fun workout.  If you love to dance, you’ll love Zumba.  You get very dew-y, but you feel great after.  If you ever do decide to try it, you are constantly moving and it does require some form of coordination.  The first time I tried it, I never thought I’d get the hang of it, but I did it regularly for a year, and after about three sessions, I felt like I could follow along.  The place I went to closed, and I have been looking for the better part of a year and a half for a place that’s close to me.  I’ve finally found it so I may take it up again.  WARNING – the “warm up” isn’t a gentle way to ease you into the class – it’s more like “on your mark…get set…and go”.  Find a place with air conditioning.  I tried it again just a few weeks ago, and as much fun as it was, the lack of air conditioning was unbearable, and I’m a person who is almost always cold.
  • Spinning – Yay and Nay.  I like it but am not in love with it.  The pain in my tush was a bit unbearable and I had pins and needles in places that shouldn’t have them.  I’ve done it twice in my life, and would do it again…with some encouragement.
  • Hiking – Yay and Nay.  I thought I hated hiking.  After my daily 5 mile hike at the Biggest Loser Resort in Malibu, I thought I’d never willingly try it in the history of my life.  OOOPS I Did it Again in Norway and I LOVED it.  I also think I secretly liked it in Malibu too…but I can’t see doing it in Toronto.  It’s something I’ll do on holidays when I can see things like glaciers, whales, amazing vistas…
  • 237

    I hiked up this hill after an hour of walking on the beach – it was painful, but really gorgeous.

    I’ve saved the very best for last.  I’ve always loved dance and have belly danced for 10 years.  It’s a huge YAY for me and as soon as my foot heals, I’m looking for a class.  If you’ve never tried it – it’s fun and therapeutic.  It’s the one workout/hobby that I’ve ever done where I could actually turn my brain off and just focus on what I was doing in the moment.  I miss it.

According to Dr. Oz’s partner in the “You” books and Sharecare, Dr. Michael Roizen, the optimal amount of cardio is 30 minutes of walking daily and 60 minutes of sweating per week (a high intensity work out).  I definitely walk at least 30 minutes    a day, but I do need to start doing more intense cardio again – both for my physical health and to de-stress.  I’m getting into the habit of living to work again, and I need to find a way and reason to leave at a reasonable time at least twice a week.  I already go to a trainer once a week – I need to make an appointment with myself to leave another day a week and get on the Oz approved elliptical.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Today, I’m grateful for knowing how to take a day for me when I need to.  It took me years to figure out that I need this every once in awhile.