Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,
Rowyn
rowyn

Dancing

I should write.

That's what writers do, isn't it?

On the last Friday of my trip to Florida, koogrr and I went to the Olympia, a Greek restaurant that hosts bellydancers on Friday nights. We were there to meet playfuleye and ladyperegrine, as well as Moonwolf's parents and a few other friends of hers.

John and I were the first to arrive; this turned out to be just as well from my perspective, because we got to take seats in the middle of the table. There were nine of us, and ambient noise in the restaurant was high, making it difficult to talk even to people right next to you. One of Moonwolf's friends was seated at the far end, with Moonwolf's parents, while most of the conversation went on at the other end. Every time he wanted to contribute, he'd cup his hands to his mouth and shout.

Watching the dancers fascinated me, not only because they were skillful and lovely, but because I could identify some of the moves that they made. We saw two different dancers, and they had distinct styles. The first had a certain sharpness to her movements, her hips snapping into position when she shimmied. The second looked smooth instead, undulating. I think we all liked the second dancer best; unfortunately she suffered from a wardrobe malfunction and her set was cut short.

In the break between the two dancers, the restaurant continued to play music, and two of the regular patrons took to dancing. Moonwolf joined them, joining hands and performing the same steps in a circle. When another couple of patrons started dancing with them, too, and one of them clearly didn't know the steps, I got up to join in and John follwed suit.

I realized something then: I have no natural talent whatsoever for dance steps. Given this handicap, I dance pretty well, but I'm still startlingly bad at picking up the patterns of a dance. I can't watch someone and understand what steps they're performing, or understand how to duplicate their footwork myself. I could only tell what the bellydancers were doing because I already knew how it was done; when I've watched bellydancers in the past, I've been utterly clueless about even where to start in imitating them.

Even here, Moonwolf told me what step they were doing: "It's a grapevine forward and then a grapevine back," she said. I know what the grapevine step is; I do it frequently as part of my exercise routine. But at the time, I couldn't integrate it with other people, or follow how to do the step forward/back part. John picked it up almost immediately, but it wasn't until sometime the following week, while practicing the grapevine at home, that I finally realized what I should've been doing that evening.

I had a good time anyway, faking it. I was grateful to the one other person there, who'd first joined the dance without knowing the steps, because without him I would've been too self-conscious to participate with a bunch of people who did know.

I want to tell the story of the cake, too, but I don't think I can do justice to it, or convey what made it so amusing at the time.
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