Today, a few days into the new year, I took my first bellydance class of the year. It felt like its been ages since the last class, even though it has only been couple of weeks... I took it real easy during the holidays, spent time with friends and family, rested, and just was plain lazy for a while. I was still almost too lazy to go class today but I did anyway. Having been very used to dancing every day, I donít normally get sore very easily, and Iíve developed good stamina and strong muscles. But today, I had the distinct realization that the past couple of weeks of my inactivity and ďdoing nothingĒ, has had a huge effect on my body, in a very short time.
I felt weak, could not focus on the class in the beginning, and my quads were burning from just the warmup! I felt my muscles screaming at me for leaving them alone to wither for so long. They are not at all used to that, they want to feel toned, strong, and useful. I so felt like I let my muscles, myself, my mind and my body down; I almost felt like I cheated them and committed some terrible crime against them by not exercising for so long. Those feelings created a stream of thoughts and reminders in me that I realized are actually quite healthy to think about. I was reminded of how blessed I am to be able to dance at all, and how very thankful I am for all the wonderful emotions dancing brings out in me. And I was also reminded of how easy it is to forget and to quickly lose contact with oneís self and body. There is nothing better than coming out of a dance class feeling alert and alive, happier than ever, mind full of inspiration, high on endorphins ... What a magical feeling that is! I feel like I am a better person after a dance class, and now that it is such a part of me, I wonder how I could do it to myself and not dance, it seems like a sin!
Have you belly danced yet today? Have you not even started your lessons yet? Still thinking, still debating? Donít think any longer! Do yourself the biggest favor you could ever do, and stop finding excuses for not going to classes! You might be holding yourself back from one of the greatest opportunities this life and humanity has offered you - dance! Celebrate your life, say thank you for being just the way you are, and do something you owe yourself big time - love yourself!
I hope this coming year will be full of loving thoughts, heartfelt talks and countless hours of dancing for you! Iíd like to thank each and every one of you for the loyalty and kind emails I have gotten from you this past year. To conclude todayís thoughts Iíd like to share one of those emails. This comes from a lady whoís first email to me you are about to read. We have never met, but she has made an incredible impact on my life that Iím very grateful for. She has suffered so much herself, but was the one who has comforted me and helped me deal with my a loss of a dear friend this past year. We have now been emailing back and forth and even sent gifts to each other, and although weíve never met I feel like Iíve known her forever. Her story is a story of courage and the willingness to live. It touched me greatly and Iím sure it will touch you too; that is why Iím sharing this.
Again, Iím very grateful for the many people belly dance has connected me with and how much I have learned from them. If you need a boost, please read the following..
(Note: The following email is referring to the tragedy that befell the students and faculty at Virginia Tech in April '07. In case you've forgotten, the facts of this grim event can be read about here.)
Hope you'll bear with me; I have to give you a little background information before I can ask you my question:
I am a Virginia Tech employee. On April 16, I was supposed to be in dear Librescu's class (the professor who stood in the doorway long enough for his students to leap out of the window) during the time that Cho went on his killing spree in Norris Hall. By some bizarre coincidence, my student's grandfather (also a Holocaust survivor!) died and I received her email 30 minutes prior to class telling me that she wouldn't be attending.
Instead, I went to do some work in Randolph Hall--directly behind Norris. Not only did I lose my dear Librescu (who was a hero long before 4/16), I knew and worked with Kevin Granata. Jeremy Herbstritt was in my student's FEM class; Matthew LaPorte was in another one of her classes...and poor Minal Panchal--the only student who did not survive in Librescu's class--sat a mere 5 feet away from me.
I was and am devastated.
However, it was sort of a wake-up call for me. Having come so close to possible death, I've decided to do all of the things that I've always wanted to do: the kind of things that I was either afraid to try or simply kept postponing because I was too "busy".
I'm 42 years old and I've wanted to belly dance since I was a child. Besides finally writing full time, I decided that belly dance was the first thing I wanted to try. I scoured the internet, searching for the perfect beginner's DVD (I live in a very small town... there aren't any belly dance classes here...) and your 101 DVD consistently had glowing reviews.
Boy, were they right! It is perfect: clearly explained and performed, non-intimidating and fun! I've bought more DVDs since then, but I always return to your DVD because it is easiest to understand, you break moves down to the bare basics and I love doing the dance sequence!
I've tried ballet (and I was the WORST ballerina in the history of dance LOL) and modern dance, but it always felt clumsy and stiff. While it certainly isn't easy and requires its own type of precision, when I belly dance I feel like I'm at "home"... that this was meant for me.
I want to do this for the rest of my life.
Finally, my question: are you planning on making a DVD for intermediate belly dance? I've almost worn out your 101 DVD and I think I'm ready to move on. I know there are many intermediate and advanced DVDs out there--and I do not doubt that they are excellent -- but I just seem to understand your style of instruction better than I do the others. If one isn't already in the works, I hope you are planning on making one...and I'm sure your many, many fans do, too!
Again, thank you so much...while I was--and am--devastated by recent events, I am trying to take a greater appreciation in life. It is a small beginning, but belly dance truly makes me happy...and I discovered this through your DVD.
Good luck in all that you do!
(Note: the answer is YES!, there are more DVDs on the way! -- Amira)
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