Why I Started Dance as an Adult
Dance was something I thought was only for children. I thought that if you didn’t start with tap, jazz, and ballet then your career and ability was over. For myself, I was not always a dancer. Every dance trend I would mock. I avoided almost every school dance and by the time I got to my senior prom I spent most of my time making fun of the whole thing on the sidelines.
Luckily, I had an optimistic friend and godmother. She called me up sheepishly and said, “Hey, would you be interested in taking an adult belly dance class with me?” After ridiculing her a little bit, I decided to go. I remember thinking, “What am I doing here. I am not a belly dancer! I cannot imagine myself in a bra, shimmying around and moving gracefully.” But being the sarcastic person I am, I thought it would make a great joke and story. So next week, we went together. I remember exactly what I wore that day. Black ugly sweats with Adidas stripes on the side, a stained over-sized T-shirt, and my dirty white mis-matched socks. I might as well have worn a sign that said, “Here for comic relief only.”
Though I don’t remember anything from that first class in terms of content, it didn’t matter. What I found was exactly what I didn’t even know I needed. I found a place where being myself was ok and my body didn’t dictate the treatment I received. I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin right away I knew that the others around me felt the same way. My instructor created this environment and I was thriving in it.
Fast forward a few years and I’m performing regularly and teaching other adults to belly dance. I found confidence in the dance language that I had been given and couldn’t shut up about it. So why did I stay?
Dance came into my life right as I was making a huge life change. I was lonely and unfulfilled after ending a 5 year relationship. Due to a move I had lost contact with many friends. Dance provided a built in community and friendships. I kept an open mind and made an effort to meet as many people as possible. Through dance I’ve created lifelong friendships that I cherish greatly. I continue to meet new people all over the world thanks to the same common language we speak, belly dance.
Ever body is wonderful. It moves in a way that is unique to you. By dancing and involving myself in an inclusive community I realized that I was truly ok the way that I was. Everyone was diverse and represented all shapes and sizes. Your body type didn’t matter, what mattered was your willingness to learn.
Learning Again as an Adult
Nothing feels better than taking notes from an amazing workshop or regular class. By continuing my dance education I’m learning about culture, history, and technique. I also get to travel and explore other places that I would of not gotten the opportunity to explore before.
As I spoke to in the first few paragraphs, dance truly changed me as a person. I gained confidence in myself and body. I felt included for the first time in a community of people who all felt similarly to myself. This is why I teach, and why I dance. I hope to give to others what was given to me many years ago.
Why do you dance? Sound off in the comments below!
Kat teaches belly dance and runs an adult dance studio in Tacoma, Washington called Tacoma Dance Studios. You can find out more at www.tacomadancestudios.com/bellydance