In May of this year, I took part in a bellydance show. I've been dancing bellydance for the 4 years I've been in Greece. It was the first thing I did when I arrived here and it turned out to be a lifesaver for me. Through bellydance I made some really good friends and was able to create a routine of my own in those early days when I was still fully reliant on Mr Zeus for entertainment.
In our classes, we like to encourage dancing for the group. It builds confidence in the dancer and helps the rest of us be not quite so critical - everyone who feels like dancing is welcome to do so, and it's only then you realise the amount of nerves that come with performing, even for a group of familiar faces. You're not quite so quick to comment on what you thought was sloppy dancing once you've been on the other side!
The teacher asked me if I wanted to dance some Bollywood for the girls. So I did. Once a week for a couple of weeks I danced something for the girls and I'm happy to say they loved it. Eventually, news came round of a show and my teacher bullied the organisers to get me into the programme. This would be my first time dancing on stage alone, ever. I would be dancing a form of dance that is not very familiar to the audience, and I'd be doing it in costume and thus praying with all my might not to step on the edge of my sari and fall off stage. To say I was crapping myself is an understatement.
Show night came around and I was a complete bag of nerves. I kept cursing myself for agreeing to do this as I stood in the wings. My heart was pounding and my mouth was dry. Eventually, the moment came when I had to step out of the wings and onto the stage. And what a big and empty stage it felt like!
But once the music started, I was fine, and even managed to enjoy myself. I flew back into the wings on a cloud of adrenaline, wishing I could do it all over again. When the next number went on, I made my way to Mr Zeus in the audience and members of the audience started coming up to me, asking where I teach.
Now there was an opportunity I hadn't thought about! Sadly I didn't pursue it. Although from time to time I give a mini-class with my bellydance teacher's blessing during our regular classes, I realised quickly I didn't have the resources or the time necessary to teach on a regular basis. First off, I had no idea how to teach a form of dance I hadn't actually learnt, I had just picked up growing up with Bollywood movies. Moves I can pop out without a second thought become impossible for me when I try to break them down into teachable sections.
But I do have good news for anyone interested in learning Bollywood. On the same night as I performed, another wonderful dancer danced a Bollywood number. This October, she has started teaching and having attended her class, I can say it's totally worth it!
Check out the website of Oriental Expressions dance school. Bollywood dance lessons are every Monday from 7.30pm and cost EUR 15 per lesson. Enjoy!