I’ve always been fascinated by bellies. Probably because I’ve always had one. My mum told me not to obsess over it. ‘It’s only baby fat’.

But the baby fat wouldn’t go, and having a baby of my own didn’t help matters.

My latest craze has been joining a gym, and since I discovered torrents, I’ve also been scouting for videos. 

Not that kind of video. Bellydancing videos. It seemed like the perfect way to learn the old seductive art.

Not that old seductive art. Even though the moves are surprisingly similar.

And while we’re talking seduction, I find it odd that Arabic culture, which gave us the buibui, simultaneously gave the most erotic titbits. Just think … bellydance, genies, chakacha … there must be some irony in there somewhere.

I’d tried to learn this dance before by reading tutorials on a website. There’s something very wrong with a person who learns more from reading than by watching, and a few years back,  I learnt the four basic moves using text and a bathroom mirror.

So anyway, I got some bellydance videos online, and proceeded to follow the instructions. The movements looked easy enough, and the ladies were beautifully toned. They were mostly workout videos with choreographed sections to add psyche.

A couple of lessons I picked while learning to bellydance: number one, grace isn’t inherent. Some people just don’t have it. I noticed this the hard way when I tried to do snake arms and figure eights.

I didn’t get past the first five minutes because I fell over laughing.

Which brings in lesson two. Never learn to bellydance in front of a six foot mirror. Really. Just don’t.

It’s perfectly logical to watch yourself, to make sure you’re doing the moves correctly, but you’ll end up hurting yourself … or someone else. Like the girl in the video.

I watched the routines for a bit, then decided to stick to salsa. It’s  far less ridiculous, and really, anybody can look sexy doing salsa.

The final lesson of bellydance was a confirmation that my brain is wired wrong. When I go to the gym, I can easily do crunches but have problems with the leg raise. Similarly, in the art of bellydance, I was easy with the shimmy, undulations, and even the camel, but I couldn’t for the life of me do a figure eight. Go figure.

I admit, bellydance is great ab exercise. I may have looked ridiculous, but I could totally feel those muscles working. I might keep up the workout – just as long as I don’t let my Sailor watch. If he must watch, I want dim lighting lots of  slinky cloth and bells to hide accentuate my movements.

After a few minutes of death by laughter, I switched over to Billy Blanks because, well, all I need is space and a yelling voice. And, it’s the perfect excuse to learn how to punch. 

The first session was lots of fun. There were all these pretty people to watch, I didn’t look half as gracelees [though I did keep falling over], and the sweat piles up quite fast, which convinced me I was doing something right. Billy himself is a little loopy, but you can’t win all the time.

The trouble came in when he started with the kicks and the punches. First off, even in mid-workout, I noticed that I punch like a girl. It’s embarrassing really.  And just after the workout, I looked slightly more buffed, which is great, even if it’s all in my mind.

But there were bits where we had to punch left, kick right, start from the top. First, I don’t know my left from my right. Second, I can’t talk and skate at the same time, so that whole walk, jump, punch, kick thing was so not working for me.

Luckily, again, I have a sense of  humour, so whenever I got lost [which was all the time], I’d just launch into a silly dance and wait for the butterfly. I like the butterfly. And at least I can keep up with the beat.

Conclusion, bellydance is not for me  – except to work abs, and only in candlelight. Billy Blanks holds some promise, and I might even learn to coordinate.

As for salsa, well, I have to learn to do it in heels – it’s so hot.

I like to look at everything in business terms, because in the end, it’s all about the money. All these skills were being expressed through video, because anyone can learn by looking right? And a video makes you learn by doing as well.

But what I learnt is that even with video evidence, it’s not always one size fits all. The people demonstrating the video are there because they’re good, and it’s their job to make the task look easy. It may have taken them years to do that, but you’re under the illusion you can do it in an hour.

Everyone can watch a video, just like everyone can use Microsoft Word, and everyone can hold a pen and write some random text. But clearly, not everyone can do the job and do it well.

The beauty of video is that it’s a reference point. You can go to it over and over until you get it right. Same thing with written word. You can refer as often as you need to.

Online work goes even further, because your work is on the net forever. Years from now, someone could bump into your blog post or web copy and feel the impact of your business. You want their memory to be positive.

Want web copy that speaks well for you? Try me. I may suck at bellydance, but I’m pretty good with keyboard in my hands …

110 thoughts on “Bellydance videos and other dumb ideas

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