Aysu was standing in the back of the room like she had years ago. The dance studio was a live with music, flashing lights and the beat of the East Coast Swing was familiar and it called to her muscle’s memory. Elhira had asked her to come and dance. It had been years since Aysu stood in the room, the large dance floor lined with mirrors was so familiar. But it wasn’t the same without her brothers there. Once, she and her older brothers had come here every weekend and they were good dancers. She danced for about four years in this style. She had once been good.
But now, here she stood not even remembering the basic step. “Once on the floor, I’ll remember,” she told her best friend Elhira. “Muscles have memory, you know.” She had been so excited about coming and dancing all night and now here she was. No one to dance with. No one good, any way. So she went and began to dance the familiar steps with one of Elhira’s friends. He was just fine. He wasn’t amazingly good, but he knew some stuff.
After almost an hour of beating about the room and bordly dancing with Elhira’s friend,s he stood back and watched, remembering the nights she had stood just like this. Only never for this long. She had three brothers to dance with and now they had all moved on. She was bored, longed to dance like times of old and had no one to do it with.
Finally, she spotted a boy from her acting class who had been something of a stalker a year ago. But she was desperate. She knew he was a great dancer…and so did he. She asked him to dance and they did. It was amazing. He was not attractive at all, but his movements were elaborate and strong; he knew what he was doing and knew that she could follow along. It was like old times as she flew across the dance floor, her arms twisting and her legs stylishly bending and kicking. Her body came a love again.
But it was too short lived. The song ended and she was back to standing and watching. It was like being her old 14 to 18 year old self again’ moody, depressed and hanging back. It was awful. Then Anika, her sister, came up and said, “Let’s go out and belly dance! No one is asking me to dance.”
“Sure,” Aysu thought. “You’ve dance more than me, skinny thing.”
Aysu really did love her sister, but after battling her anorexia for 3 or more years had made Anika something of a given enemy. She was thin and fragile but insisted on dieting all the time and working out. Belly dancing was one way she did this and that angered Aysu.
“Fine,” Aysu said outloud. “But only for a few seconds.” She really didn’t feel like showing her raqs sharqi to hand full of West Coasters on the dance floor. But that didn’t last. Aysu and Anika hit the floor and didn’t stop undulating and swimming through the air until the song ended.
Aysu came off the floor thinking, “This is why I belly dance. I can do it alone.”
Sad, but true. That’s the way it was. Belly dancing was beautiful and feminine and passionate; and you could do it alone. You depended on no one. It was freeing.