I’m very mindful of wanting to be respectful towards other cultures. I can only hope that my love and deep respect of the sacredness of belly dancing would allow me the permission to enjoy its beauty. I truly adore everything about belly dancing. The enchanting music, the flowing movements and the harmonious connection it creates between the women I dance with. It truly is a gift to the world, I am grateful to experience it.
My girls always knew when I was heading off to my belly dancing class. They could see a sort of excitement in my preparation to leave which peaked their curiosity. Of course this would lead into full blown tantrums that I either not go or take them with me. Whatever it was that I was doing, they wanted in on it. I appeased them by coming home and sharing with them what I’d learned in the lesson. They’d follow me around the room trying their best to copy my attempt at the Egyptian walk, giggling and laughing all the way. It’s true, the movements of belly dancing invoke a sense of joy.
I used to think to myself in those classes how powerful it would be for my girls to watch and join the women in the room. To be led by us. To be shown what it looked like to be a woman who felt empowered by the magic in her hips, at peace with the flow in the sweeping of her arms, joyous about the company she kept. That’s why I was overjoyed when I heard Lisa Ambrose was holding belly dancing classes for kids at Studio Tula. Finally, I had the chance to introduce my girls to a love of mine, a passion that I knew instinctively that they would love too.
Studio Tula is not a cold or clinical classroom. The energy of that space has a beautiful serene and nurturing feeling. You feel at ease and at home as soon as you arrive. The girls were immediately excited by the space and the exotic music playing that had them dancing even before they knew how.
Lisa is a natural teacher of children. Her ability to both teach the techniques while also relaxing and letting the children find their way, makes for an enjoyable class. The girls watched her move with a sort of awe in their expression. They tried their hardest to do it “right” but what mattered most was that the girls were having fun in their bodies. They were trying new ways of moving, they were exploring, they were being the free spirits they are while in the company of strong feminine leadership.
I spoke to Lisa after the class about what she loved about teaching the children.
“I love their joy” she told me “and I’m excited by the idea that I could journey with them if a passion for the art was to unfold. The class introduces them to their body’s natural way of moving. It encourages fluidity and natural expression. The sway is very natural for females and this kind of dance enhances an awareness of that”.
When I mentioned that my girls weren’t quite getting some of the moves she added “I’d rather that they enjoy the class and not get it quite right. They’ll pick it up over time from my demonstration. Each week they’ll get it a little bit more. I love that they’re smiling and not being too serious in themselves”.
That’s the reason I love Lisa and her gentle, loving and encouraging belly dancing classes for children. My girls ask me each day if it’s Tuesday yet so that they can return and once again move their bodies with a sense of joy and fun.
Maybe I’ll see you there?
Bronwyn Bay (belly dancer)