When I was talking to the Chief Loon about this dance class, I joked about someone teaching me how to shake my behind. Well, it turns out that "belly dance" is a misnomer. The abdominal area stabilizes you. It's everything else that's in motion, particularly the hips. And the hips are controlled by the "glutes."
Yep. I'm learning how to shake my behind. I'm not going to go into too much detail, except to ask this: can you clench and release one half of your bottom independently from the other? My teacher can. Me? Not so much.
The stance is odd. Knees are always bent slightly, feet are together, lower abdominals are held in tight -- head up, arms up over your head (or out to the sides, depending upon the step), shoulders back, chest out, fingers arched (as if you're holding a coin between your thumb and middle finger)...and now try to do all this and walk. Roll through the foot, don't stomp. Heel to toe. You're a walking S-curve.
This is definitely going to take some independent practice. I was talking to some of my fellow classmates afterwards. One woman who's been coming for a year was very encouraging. She said at some point, your body has an aha! moment, where suddenly it understands what you've been asking it to do and the movements you've been struggling with start to happen naturally.
Great! In the meantime, I'll work on my stance and that (ahem) other thing with the glutes.
And I found out what a coin scarf looks like. A couple of the women in the class were wearing them. All the little coins jingle when you move. If I decide to stay past the current session, I think I'll be getting one of those.