My Eqyptian belly dance class last night was an introduction to cane work, which apparently involves twirling phallic shaped objects around in a cheeky manner and being much with the mocking of the men.
My teacher is a ex-Goth classically trained ballet dancer who now specialises in sword and tribal dance. She's fab. In my first class she squeed about Harry Potter and explained that we were going to have to put up with a lot of 'snake arms' in her class because she was a Slytherin. She's also prone to offering visualisations to help us with certain movements. Orlando Bloom and chocolate sauce, for example.
So give Mel a cane and you have trouble! To her credit, I honestly believe she *tried* to give us a straightfaced explanation of the cultural history of cane work within Eqyptian dance. Evidently the traditional martial art for Eqyptian men involves stick fighting, which is practised to a particular rhythm. Women also dance to this rhythm and they may 'borrow' a cane (or stick) to dance with. They may mimic the masculine movements, but with feminine shimmies and hip flicks. It's cheeky and provocative.
'What's the word I'm looking for?' Mel asked as she strutted round the class, cane over shoulder.
Pause while class recovers temporarily.
Mel (trying to talk over the giggles): 'Ok, ok. So the cane is phallic.'
She proceeded to teach us one of the traditional cane moves: twirling. Hand on her hip in mock-flirt posture, she twirled her cane in one hand.
One girl collapsed to the floor in hysterics. Mel stopped and glared at her. 'What?!'
Girl (doubled over on floor): 'Um... it's just, it's um... really sexual.'
I think this is where things went downhill. *g* Seriously, there is something very amusing about a room full of women twirling (mostly sparkly) phallic objects around. Especially when they are clumsy newbies. There were a lot of near accidents as canes flew out of hands while we learnt to twirl, including my cane nearly launching itself out of the first-floor window.
Part two of the lesson was whacking. Yes. That's right. There is a move called whacking. Mel, valiantly remaining straight-faced, explained that this often symbolised women reprimanding men. You kind of hop forward and whack your cane on the ground in front of you. She suggested we visualise an ex-boyfriend for this purpose. One enthusiastic member of the class attempted this immediately, smashing her cane down and thereby breaking it in half. Hm. Not really the intended result, but good to know she was channeling the right energy!
Much hopping and whacking later, our sides were aching more from the giggling than the abdominal exercises for once.
Other things you can do with canes: wave them above your head. Dance around them, point them at people, poke them sideways at other dancers, balance them on your head while you shimmy. The possibilities seem endless. *smirk*
So. I now own a cane. It's covered in purple velvet with gold sparkly bits and pom poms. Don't go there. No really. Don't! *glares at naughty f'list members*