Dot writes: should you find yourself holding a Turkish-themed children’s birthday party, and should you realise at the last-minute that you have omitted to arrange for any culturally appropriate entertainment, you have only to call me. With enthusiasm I will perform for you the following exciting dance move: having carefully aligned my feet hip-width apart with knees slightly bent, weight evenly distributed, bottom tucked under, chest lifted and head elegantly poised (and doing all that takes about five minutes) I flop my belly out and then – on the beat – pull it in again. I could also try tracing a circle with my pelvis, but let’s not get too technical after only one lesson.
My problem with dance-classes (on Wednesday I had a belly-dancing class, first of a course of nine) is that I did ballet for some years as a child, and some part of me expects my youthful suppleness and control magically to reappear, which of course they don’t, just like my waist doesn’t. I move confidently to the centre of the class and behave like I know what I’m doing, and then I’m rubbish. But I do think the belly-dancing is going to be fun, though the teacher talks so much I wonder how much dancing we’ll ever manage to do. She’s a real character. A tiny sparkly soft-voiced Irishwoman; completely blind, so she checks our movements by feel (intimidating); face rather old and puffy, and she says she’s been dancing since 1974, but she has the legs of a fourteen-year-old. The other women in the class are a mixed lot, including a couple of quiet young girls, a mother and daughter, and two or three thirty-somethings like me. Maybe I’ll make some new friends. Flopping your belly at someone has to break the ice, hasn’t it?