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Mommy & Me bellydancing.

Once upon a time there was a misfit mama who was looking for a fun & different PLAYout to do with her girl.

The aforementioned Tornado of a Girl had a babysitter who was a belly dancer & she found the whole concept (& name) gigglyamusing.

Many were the afternoons spent with her tee shirt yanked up through the neck-belly exposed-and dancing.

(Note: her mama was far too mature to ever participate in this action. no matter what the neighbors say)

And a misfit idea was born.

And, after a few bazillion searches on Google, reservations were made at a Mommy & Me Belly dancing class.

Before class began the Girl was quite intrigued by the various & sundry accessories belly dancing used.  The pleading for a scarf & castanets immediately began.

Being highly aware of the ephemeral nature of her Girl’s love Mama (ever resistant to the child’s pleaseplease countenance) said no.

Thankfully class began soon thereafter and sound makers & scarves were passed out for all to enjoy.

And enjoy she did.

(if youre checking in through a reader theres a video-snippet of said enjoyment below)

What did I learn from this Mommy & Me abwriggling extravaganza?

  • I need to teach the child to use my video camera. I rocked the belly dancing and, alas, you shall just have to take my word for it.
  • I was reminded of the LACK of inhibitions of the littlelittles & the emerging inhibitions of the slightly-olders. Yes I was cognizant of this fact before, but nothing highlighted it more than watching my 5 year old dance with wild abandon & seeing the 7 and 8 year olds shimmy kinda shyly.  Here’s where you mothers to the olders hit me up in the comments below with your tips for preserving the comfortablity in her own skin.  Thank you.
  • Belly dancing works your core & balance. I was quite sore in the core the next day and  the Tornado was not. I like to pretend this is NOT indicative of the fact her core kicks my core’s…glutes, but that I focused & worked the core more intensely.  In addition many of the moves had me teetering thisclose to toppling (which further worked the Tornado’s core as she laughed. Hard).
  • Belly dancing isnt too sexualized for young girls. I will admit that this was a concern for me.  I had no idea what to expect & the dances we learned were no more ‘seductive’ than the Tornado’s more traditional creative movement classes.
  • Belly Dancing encourages body love. Next to my experience in a NIA class the class was the most Ive ever been surrounded by women of all shapes & sizes who clearly adored & treasured their bodies.  That fact alone ensured we’d return.  If it takes a village—-these are the villagerwomen I want surrounding my daughter.

I’ll admit I went into this experience having zero plans to blog about it.

I anticipated it would be a bit to touchyfeelyOUTTHERE & not something easily related to by moms & non-moms alike.

I was wrong.

It was a great workout (& I can see how the more you do the dances, and they become second nature, the better the workouts would be as well) and more than that it was 60 minutes spent focusing on how amazing our bodies are and what wonderful wiggly things they can do.

No matter their size shape color or lack of core strength (*raises hand*).

We will definitely be back and, for you Austinites, Ill keep you posted on our recital debut.

This post is brought to you by the fit-minded, no idea if they’ve ever belly danced, healthy-living Peeps at Sears Fit Club.

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59 Responses to “Mommy & Me bellydancing.”

  1. Lindsay says:

    I love your PLAYouts with your daughter. I need to remember more than exercise can be fun :)

  2. Helen says:

    Interesting point.
    I have always been too self-conscious to try belly dancing and I wonder if I brought my twins with me to a class (they are 4) if I would be less inhibited?

    You are such a great role model.

  3. Mike LaMonica says:

    Cute post and even cuter daughter! I photograph a lot of kids…

    Smile! http://vimeo.com/15014466

    ~Mike

  4. Bea says:

    How sweet is the video?

    She captures your PLAYout idea in that snippet as you can tell she isn’t thinking about our adult notion of exercise at all!

    Love ya Miz.

  5. Reen says:

    Belly dancing? Hmmmm. I was always way way way too self-conscious for that, but you know, I don’t think I would have a problem with it now. Sounds like fun, Miz! Think I might be doing some “research” to find out about classes in my area. :)

  6. Debra says:

    Yay!!!!! I’m so glad you went to belly dance with Tornado! We used to teach a Mom’s and me class but as the economy got worse so did attendance.

    And you are right… belly dance is feminine to the core! It is only sexualized by dancers who want it to be sexual and a lot of those do not have Middle Eastern dance training. So therefore, know not what they do :)

    Oh, and one tiny thing. They are called castanets in Spanish dance and zills or sagat in Middle Eastern dance. I’m so glad Tornado had a good time.

  7. Jen (Making Messes) says:

    Your little tornado is too cute! I’ve always been intrigued by belly dancing. Looks so fun!

  8. Lynda says:

    This older girl (50) is far too inhibited to try belly dancing.

    I wish I had had a role model mother like you, Miz.
    My own mother loathed her body and I have unhappily followed suit.

    You rock for all you do.

  9. Ajay says:

    I think you are doing amazingly! Tornado is going to grow up to be a fantastic young woman. Keep surrounding her with strong female role models.

  10. Colleen says:

    Miz ,

    The Tornado is just adorable!!

    I love seeing the creative ways the 2 of you get healthy activites in. It gives me so many ideas for my peanut as she grows!
    Love it!

    You are such an amazing mommy!

  11. Ava says:

    I’m curious if you feel you get enough of a workout in with these kinds of exercise experience with your Tornado?

  12. Coco says:

    I have a friend who *hates* “exercise” but LOVES belly dancing. It really is a good way to get moving, enjoy your body and have fun!

  13. Anonymous Fat Girl says:

    Super cute! :) My daughter is also 5 and that is such a fun age. She is in kinder-dance where they do just about every form of dance except belly dance. Need to explore that option for her though. :)

  14. Amber says:

    My favorite part of this post is that you participate with her and don’t just sit and watch!

  15. Amber says:

    And yes we need a video of you belly dancing LOL

  16. Michele @ Healthy Cultivations says:

    What a sweet and great post!! I’m new to your blog and am finding it a joy with every post.

  17. Jules - Big Girl Bombshell says:

    You asked Here’s where you mothers to the olders hit me up in the comments below with your tips for preserving the comfortablity in her own skin. Thank you.

    The BIGGEST piece of sharing I can offer..the tools you have given her are a great start..but honestly it all changes when they go to school…do u plan to home school or will tornado be entering a “school” system. Giving her the tools to deal with peer pressure, the teasing for being different and how to stay and maintain in her comfortability while being affected by what others will say is a BIGGEE! The comfort of YOU MUST be within her more when you physically aren’t.

    • MizFit says:

      THANK YOU! I really do appreciate your thoughts. I know so much will change in her world come kindergarten next year.

  18. Karen says:

    So cute! I tried belly dancing when I was at the spa last year. A bit inhibited and a bit uncoordinated, but it was fun. Today I have my own mommy/daughter workout - but it is me with my mid-70s mom! We workout with a trainer together once a week. See what you have to look forward to!

  19. angela says:

    I’ve always wanted to take a belly dancing class. ;)

    As a mom of a 10 year old all I can say about preserving her confidence is, keep her in activities like this that she feels confident in. Mine took ballet at age 4 for about 6 months, Then we took a break because she was starting school. By the time she returned to another activity it was karate at almost 8 and she was really timid about it at first. That said, karate builds great confidence and she’s still at it and wears a blue belt now. But I strongly feel just keeping them active in things they love builds confidence. For awhile she was rocking the karate, swimming and yoga schedule and loved it all and was amazing at all of it. Keep telling yours she can do anything and keep her involved and she won’t be as likely to think differently.

  20. Sagan says:

    I loved my belly dancing class when I took it - I think it was a 6-week course. It really is about getting comfortable with your body, rather than being “sexy” (and therefore it is child-appropriate :) ).

    My boyfriend always tells me how glad he is that I’m comfortable with my body - to him, that confidence about how you handle your body is more important than weight and such. But so often people go on a weight-loss journey without attending to how well they know their body… and it’s SO important to KNOW yourself and to love your body to be healthy physically and mentally.

  21. Cathy says:

    I’m 23 and Unapologetically Myself as you say.

    It was a lot of seeing my mom embrace and love herself unconditionally I thnk that made me this way.

    Sure I went through times of wanting to fit in but I grew through that and into myself.

    I love your blog, Miz.

  22. Scale Warfare says:

    I wish there was a way to bottle up the courage and confidence that little kids have so that we could take it as medicine as we get older! I was nervous to dance at my own wedding…but the 4 year old there? He danced like he owned the place, he didnt know to be nervouse yet! I want that back :)

  23. shauna/dg says:

    OMG that could almost convince me to breed just so i could do that. you two are the bee’s knees :)

  24. Kerri O says:

    So fun! I’ve done a few belly dancing workouts (just off fitTV) and loved them. So great that you got to do this together, you’re such a great mama, your imagination always inspires me. It is sad to see this in kids, although I think mine are less affected because we homeschool I still see it some in my almost 8 year old.

  25. Jen, a priorfatgirl says:

    um…I will either need to borrow a child or google an Iggy and Me Bellydancing class because it looks like so much fun!

  26. becky says:

    TOO CUTE!!!

    You are such an excellent mommy! When I have kids (hopefully soonish), I am pretty sure that your blog is going to be my bible. :-)

  27. tj says:

    aww what a FUN mommie&meeeee day! :) I love it!

  28. Hilary says:

    Thanks for bringing up something I’d thought about too the whole fear that a belly dancing class would be too sexualized for young girls.
    I am so glad to hear I was wrong at least in the case of your class.
    The whole world is making our girls grow up too too fast so I am very careful.

    Thanks for all you do.

  29. Najla says:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the class, I’ve been teaching adults for over ten years to belly dance but this last year was my first foray into the Mother-Daughter classes. I was really surprised at how uninhibited the daughters were and how open they were to try different moves. There certainly is something that occurs as we age, where we lose confidence in our bodies…which is such a shame! I think you set a great example for your daughter and here’s hoping that you can counteract those inhibitions that will start to creep in!

  30. Fab Kate says:

    Belly Dancing is FUN. All of my girls have done it at one time or another. My eldest is is a troupe, and does performances around town and will be competing this year. My youngest will, although she hates anything ‘girly’ put on her hip scarf and jingle her coins from time to time.

    I wish I could afford lessons for myself and the twins (I did go to a few with the older of the twins for a while, but the expense got to be too much)… I’d probably do more dancing.

    One of the things people don’t realize about belly dance is the level of muscle isolation it takes to do some of the more complex movements, and how fit you’re making your core by engaging in those movements.

  31. Alyssa says:

    I don’t have a kid yet and I am still stealing your PLAYout idea.

    I am curious too like someone else asked do you get enough of a work out?

    • Lori C. says:

      My opinion is yes. I know that we SWEAT and my hips are sore the next day. It’s a great part of an active lifestyle and, I think, would be a great intro for someone wanting to begin exercise as well.

  32. Roxie says:

    I’ve taken several series of belly dancing lessons and find it to be one of the most body-positive activities out there. I’m so glad that you and the little one enjoyed it!

  33. JourneyBeyondSurvival says:

    Fun! Love the playouts.

  34. Kate @ Walking in the Rain says:

    hehehehe very cute.

    I’m friends with a few people from the local belly dancing troupe and watching their kids dace during performances or get excited over the sparkly scarves is pretty cute.

    I took my first belly dance class last fall after hemming and hawing about it for years. I love how there are many different body types in the classes and in the troupe so I don’t feel so out of place.

    However, I do have major inhibitions which affect my class performance. Just something I need to work on.

  35. Sara says:

    Oh Miz that little video says it all!

  36. Jody - Fit at 53 says:

    Carla, I actually did this in my 20′s way back when! It is quite the workout! I love the mommy & me part of this & YES to learning to love the bod no matter what the size of it or how you look. WONDERFUL!

    Tornado - beyond cute!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  37. charlotte says:

    I so want to try this now!! And we def. need video up in here of you doing your belly thang! Get another class member to hold the camera! Looks like Tornado had a blast:)

  38. Marste says:

    Bellydancing is a type of dance I never tried. Maybe this year . . . :)

    I don’t have kids, but I do have opinions! Which I’m going to share! And you can ignore . . . ;)

    I think a certain amount of shyness might be normal, as kids become more aware of their bodies in general. But to minimize it (and eventually make it recede as Tornado ages), communiciation is key. Something tells me you’re already probably good at that, so just know that it TOTALLY pays off down the road. Conversations that start with things like, “Am I fat?” and proceed along the lines of, “Do you think you’re fat? Why do you think that? Do you think the information that forms your reasons is reliable?” Those kinds of questions from you (age-appropriate, obviously) will train her brain to ask them of itself later. (Something I cursed my mom for when I was a teen but which probably - frankly - saved my ass from being even crazier.) That was the most important thing I learned from my mom - the ability to think critically about my own thoughts.

    Also, this is kind of random, but before she gets older-older, think about encouraging her to play with photos in Paint or Photoshop. If you can impress on her early how easy it is to manipulate images, she’ll remember that when she sees magazine models later. (I am still grateful for the art school friend who walked me through a bunch of magazine covers until I started diagramming them reflexively in the supermarket lines. It made a HUGE impact on what I thought of as “normal” and “fake.”)

    Anyway. Sorry for the long (rambling, almost-off-topic) comment! ::)

  39. messymimi says:

    Something i always wished i had done when i was young.

    Please enjoy, i’m sure it’s worth every moment.

  40. Shelley B says:

    Awww, love that you did this for (and with) her!

    I think some kids are inherently shy about their bodies and some aren’t - I was from way back. I don’t guess you’ll have any problems with E not wanting to bust a move, so to speak, as she gets older.

    Oh - woot woot on running for 10 minutes!!! :) :) :)

  41. Gina Fit by 41 Maybe 42 says:

    I used to belly dance (for fun, only one recital — still have my music and skirts). Loved it. We moved so much, and I just got away from it.

    So…are you trading in your tutu for 7 veils?

  42. NYCPatty says:

    What a fabulous class! Your little girl looked like she had a great time and the environment of mothers and daughters sound like such a bonding experience. Thank you for sharing.

  43. Vicki Kron says:

    You are a great inspiration, and the Tornado is adorable. My kids are grown and my grand-kids live in another state, so it has to be all me.

    I’ve always said my belly was too big for belly dancing, but now I’m thinking twice. Maybe…..

  44. KCLAnderson (Karen) says:

    I remember watching a belly dance show when I was about 10 (1972). What struck me most was that most of the women were quite voluptuous and there was not one ounce of shame or self-consciousness…come to think of it, I would be so into it today…finally.

    As for Tornado feeling good in her skin? I’m not a mama but will provide this advice: she will probably, at some point, because it’s “normal” and she will be influenced by other kids, feel not-so-good in her own skin. Allow her her feelings when she does. Don’t try and tell her that she *shouldn’t* feel them. I think we’d all love to eradicate those bad body feelings for all kids but until we do, we don’t want them to feel even weirder for feeling them. I like Marste’s advice too :-)

  45. erin margolin says:

    I’ve always wanted to try belly dancing, but part of me is too scared/nervous and I’m also soooo uncoordinated. It would be fun to do it w/ my girls, though (I have 5 yr old twins). This is such a cool idea. Now I’m going back to watch the video clip!

    ;-)

    Erin @ The Mother Load
    @erinlynn76

  46. Ladonna Sharr says:

    GREAT POST…..

  47. Erin says:

    I always wanted to try belly dancing! Great pics girl!

  48. Fit Chick in the City says:

    I really love this post! Belly dancing and children sound like a joyous combo!

  49. Quix says:

    Awesome! And yes, next time, we need video of YOU. Random stranger-cam perhaps?

    As a little girl (since I am no mudder), I definitely had more confidence due to gymnastics, skating, swimming, and all the other active stuff I was involved in because I was GOOD at something even if kids teased me and I was STRONG.

  50. Joyce Cherrier says:

    I love all the fun things you do with your daughter! You not only inspire me with your healthy lifestyle but as a parent too! Sometimes parenting can seem like a series of to-do’s but you remind me to put the fun back into it. I think your belly-dancing outing will be one that’s always remembered & cherished by you both!

  51. Pubsgal says:

    Just wanted to circle back and say how much I *love* this! Mom & me fitness, the PLAYout, and especially your delight in a new discovery. (I love how you find the life lesson in just about every situation! Having an open, playful mind is such a gift.) And the video - priceless! The Tornado is so adorable.

    Hmmm…as for the body confidence, I think some of that is school and peers, but there are other influences, such as TV. We’ve had some interesting discussions already (little daughter is only 6), which when I trace them back, it turns out they’re from TV ads.

    And re: fitness of belly dancing, our gym has a class, and it’s a good workout. For me, it wasn’t a drench-me-in-sweat, DOMS-for-days way, but I did feel it, especially in my core. (As I’m feeling it after hula class - arms, quads, and core - but so fun!) I think dance is a great mental workout, too, because you’re processing how to do various steps and put them together. Much more so for me, anyway, than hopping on a treadmill or stationary bike, or swimming laps.

  52. Kahramana says:

    Hi, MizFit, Najla sent me the link to your post and I am delighted that you and your daughter had such a great experience. I’m especially glad that you felt the positive body-image vibe in the class. One of the reasons I love belly dance so much is that it’s about working with what you have to express what you feel.

    Hope to see you and the Girl again this spring!

  53. Dawn says:

    I read your blog through Najla and wanted to share with you….I was also at the Mom/daughter classes with Najla. My daughter is 10 (and very quiet). Going to the first bellydance class was one of the hardest things for me to do ever. I’ve always had a lot of body issues and SO didn’t want to pass on those insecurities to my daughter. It is such a welcoming communitee and all about loving yourself (no matter what size/or shape)and being true. I’ve come a little ways (and I definitely think my daughter has gained such an inner confidence)….and gosh darn it, bellydancing is FUN! I hope you continue to dance…for both of you….

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention Mommy & me belly dancing class. | MizFitOnline -- Topsy.com - 07. Jan, 2011

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Joyce Cherrier, carla birnberg, Jen, a priorfatgirl, MikeLaMonica, Gretchen Glasscock and others. Gretchen Glasscock said: Mommy & Me bellydancing.: Once upon a time there was a misfit mama who was looking for a fun & different PLAYout… http://bit.ly/gUPbL7 [...]

  2. Body Loving Blogosphere 01.09.11 | medicinal marzipan - 09. Jan, 2011

    [...] MizFitOnline, Mommy & Me Belly Dancing Class [...]

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