I heard that belly dancing is a great workout, especially for abs and core. So when my gym offered a free trial class the other week, I was there. I was sore for a few days, which is probably a testament to my need for it.
As a first-timer, I spent most of the hour trying to figure out how to isolate hips, abs and shoulders. Each body section essentially does its own thing to give the dancer graceful movement and, ideally, a toned body. I was anything but coordinated as I tried what the instructor called a washing-machine hip shimmy. And I nearly fell over raising one hip to complete a multi-step circle. I tried swirling a scarf in my arms the way my experienced classmates were doing, but got tangled in it. So much for being graceful. As much as this is exercise, it's clearly an art.
Only two of us in this small group were first-timers. Most of the women had been taking the class for a year or less and they said it helped their posture, strengthened their arms and abs. One woman has been doing it for years, and it shows.
I expect that I'll return to the class occasionally. It was a fun, low-impact break from my regular exercise routines, and that's something we probably all need every so often. If only I could be graceful at it!