Some of you are probably aware of my Scottish dancing activity - been doing that for a long time.
But I have been doing Middle Eastern Dance far longer - since I was about 9 years old. Yes, that's 'belly dancing' for the Americans. Technically I probably fall under American Fusion, because I have a lot of different influences, including Hula, Lebanese, Turkish, Egyptian, and probably some Tai Chi lands in there, too. I prefer Turkish and Lebanese music, overall, but anything with a beat will do. I taught for a few years (maybe around 10), too. But then kids, and kids who freaked out when I danced, and life, and not much dancing for a while.
I've been getting back into it lately. Good for keeping in shape!
I have also been teaching the girls (Misses M and R) to dance. Mainly just by dancing with them. When I'm working in the kitchen, I put on a CD, and we dance.
Lately, this has taken root. The girls are 5 1/2, and are very into the concept that 'girls do things that girls do' - dancing being one of them (boys dancing makes them wince - but that will come with time, too).
A month or so ago, I had the music on, and left the room to do something. When I came back, Miss M was in the kitchen, dancing alone, trying out her arm movements, swinging her hips. I backed out of the kitchen so as not to embarrass her (she hates being noticed when she's focused inward). Came back later. Didn't comment.
A few weeks ago, Miss R shifted from being all over-done hips and silliness and stiff arms to really getting snake arms and the fluidity of the hands.
She was showing Miss M in the car on the way to school yesterday. See, like THIS! (rolls her elbow outward, wrist following, fingers rolling after...)
Miss M was frustrated, and was certain she could NOT. Nope, not even going to try.
Miss R was puzzled by her sister's discouragement. She paused a moment, and then said something I thought was absolutely brilliant.
'You can. It is inside of you, you just have to find it. Then it comes out!'
Exactly! All these movements are inside of us. They come out from the inside. Especially if we have watched others dancing, especially at these ages. It helps to have seen it, over and over. Even when teaching adults, the key (I find) is having the movement come from the energy inside. It looks different when you do it that way, too.
Miss M hasn't found the inside snake arms yet. But she has found many of the other moves.
I will continue to dance with them as long as they'll tolerate it. It may go away at some point, but I really like the idea that they will grow up with these bouncing, swinging, long, fluid, curving movements 'inside of them'.