“I’m very definitely a woman and I enjoy it.” – Marilyn Monroe
The modern Indian woman likes to believe that every day is women’s day. But when it comes to picking out one day from our lives and creating a memory out of it, there’s no letting go of that chance. So when the women at Suyati got a beautiful opportunity to celebrate Women’s Day this March, there was no looking back! We had the perfect recipe for making this day memorable—a day filled with masti, dance and health benefits!
The excitement was obvious; but there was also a sense of hesitation. After all, what awaited us was a workshop on Belly Dancing! There were smiles alright, but also hordes of butterflies in the tummy when this was announced.
The workshop started at 3pm and the entire Suyatian girl gang of close to 30 assembled on time with enthusiasm and a bit of trepidation. This was a first time for each one of the ladies and the anxiousness was natural, not to forget the apprehensions over the reputation belly dancing has. However, Jyothi Vijayakumar, owner of Maya – Studio of Goddess Arts, who was conducting the workshop, put everyone at ease.
Jyothi is a true epitome of beauty and grace. Her mere presence changed the vibe in the room. She sensed our hesitation and started the session by breaking the myths related to belly dancing. Jyothi explained that belly dancing originated in India and that it was a ritual restricted to close circles of women. She also revealed the health benefits of belly dancing for women and how it had personally helped her.
Soon, Jyothi played music and showed us a couple of steps, egging us on to try. In spite of our collective awkwardness and giggling fits, we ladies swayed to the music, our inhibitions melting away one step at a time. It was wonderful to see some of the shy ones emerging out of their cocoon and joining in the fun. Jyothi was generous with compliments and words of encouragement.
Finally, we were all split into groups and urged to perform a choreography routine. There was laughter, excitement, music and loads of belly dancing! We threw in a couple of typical Bollywood thumkas and latka jhatkas for effect! We also learned to do the famous Shakira move! Can’t say we were good, but at least we tried.
The highlight of the workshop was the special performance by Jyothi. The girls watched, awestruck, when she moved effortlessly. It was a visual treat!
After a heart-to-heart chat with Jyothi, we wrapped up the workshop and headed for tea and snacks.
Over tea the discussion continued. There was a new found self-confidence for each one of the ladies. The coyness and hesitation were replaced with full-throated laughs and a confident stature.
It was truly a memorable day. We had learned something new—an art form that until now was shrouded by misunderstandings, and we had gained a sense of liberation that reflected in our personalities. The perfect Women’s Day treat after all!