This week, Jilly confronts her own mortality. (NB: Not as grim as it sounds.)
My friend has invited me to go to belly dance classes with her. I would dearly love to but worry that my 50 year-old body, after three children, a couple of minor surgeries and numerous weight changes, isn’t up to it. The idea of wriggling around with a group of girls half my age also makes me feel nervous, and I don’t want to look like an old lady. I don’t feel old, but what do you think? Will I look foolish?
Oh honey, you think YOU’VE got problems? Hah! When I started dancing I felt like a fish out of water. Although come to think of it, that’s not surprising!
Not only do I not have a belly button, hips or a spine – which has made mastering back bends very difficult, let me tell you – I also have eyes the size of footballs (‘Cleopatra’ eyeliner looks totally wrong on me), and eight tentacles instead of two arms and two legs. Costumes never fit me.
To make matters worse, land-based gigs are out. But what could have been limitations I have made my strengths. For example, there is no one else in the industry who can play two sets of zagat and tabla and do a full-body undulation and snake arms all at the same time. Yes, it takes concentration and I don’t do it perfectly every time, but even when I screw up the audience loves me just for trying. Think of all the things that have happened to you in your life that you could bring to the stage.
The life expectancy for a colossal squid is about 4.5 years, BB, and next week I turn 7. You do the maths. But I plan on sticking around: in the words of the late, great Bert Balladine, “You have nothing to dance about until you are over the age of 30.”
My advice to you, BB, is to take what you have and work it! Life is too short to miss out on something you ‘would dearly love to do’ just because of a few stretch marks and wrinkles. If you can move, you can belly dance. If you still don’t believe me, check this out:
Enjoy your first class!