Essay Contest Winner – Honorable Mention
My Most Memorable Belly Dance Moment
~ by Rachel Allen
For the past 2 1/2 years I have had the joy of teaching the local Junior High Girls Bellydance in Southeast Saskatchewan, Canada. This, by far, has been my most rewarding experience and one I volunteer for with my costs covered by the school.
Each class of each session consists of fun, smiles, giggles, challenges and growth. Not only for my students, but for myself. And each year there is a moment that stands out significantly that makes me realize why I volunteer for this group, and why I love Bellydance so much.
The moment that stands out for 2009 is from my last 6 week session. There were two sisters who just came to watch a friend of theirs. Being shy and self-conscience they didn’t want to participate. Their exact words were ‘but we can’t dance’. With a little encouragement and a lot of enthusiasm from myself, the school’s teacher and fellow students they decided to give it a try. About a ½ hour into the class I caught the two of them giving each other a High Five with the biggest smiles beaming on their faces as they were getting the moves I was showing everyone and placing the moves into a fun choreography piece. These girls, 3 months later, are still in my class, with even bigger smiles and a great sense of self confidence and co-ordination.
The moment that stands out for 2008 was a very shy girl whose family just moved to town. Her teacher convinced her to join as it is a great activity to meet people and to gain good self esteem. She joined and loved it, but we never seen her smile for the first 4 months. She was steadfast and studious as she learned the moves and choreography. My husband, who comes in to video and take photos at the end of each 6 week session, for the girls as mementos of class for them, would try and get her to smile for the photos to which she would reply ‘I don’t smile’. At the end of the year, this same student was the focal point of the group photo as she was posing in a very cute Egyptian fashion with the absolute biggest smile on her face. Bill looked at me, grinned, and I said “I know, it feels good”.
Throughout the classes I see my students grow and learn, physically, emotionally and mentally. I receive comments all the time from their parents, relatives and teachers how the girls have changed and flourished. My class is geared for all girls no matter who they are, how they feel, or their background. They all come out of the class with a great sense of self worth, self esteem, better co-ordination and a very positive body image for themselves, as well as others.
To me, this is the true essence of Bellydance and why I continue to grow and learn all that I can to share with my students ~ each one an inspiration and true treasure.
~ Happy Shimmies to my Students and to all Dancers Worldwide ~
Photo of Kaya by Brittany Oliphant