A few friends who watched this may have wondered if I was really ever going to learn to dance. Well - yes - in my own time and my own way. It's less frustrating to me to try to learn technique after I have the prerequisite strength to even start to practice. And I have a long memory for dreams and goals. Setting up a goal for something two years off is pretty comfortable for me.
Six months ago, I started working out at a gym regularly. Treadmill, weights, swimming; whatever I felt like doing. I also focused a lot on knee and thigh strength - leg press, stretches, etc., because that area is used heavily for dancing posture. I tried to avoid injury and take it slowly, but get myself past my fears and into good habits. At the time I started, walking 1.0 mile was difficult even at a slow pace; I was stiff and weak. Each time I went, I worked up to what I could do, and just kept coming back. Eventually I was doing a mile and a half to two miles regularly.
One month ago, I exercised at the gym on a day when I had time to spare. I walked 3.0 miles in 60 minutes on the treadmill, and it was only "a little" difficult. The winter months have messed with my routine; I haven't gone nearly as often as I intended to. But the strength I'd gained during the summer and fall was mostly still with me.
Today I went to a beginner bellydance class. I kept up. I noticed my right leg is a bit weak; moves that rely on it were more difficult than they should be. But I kept up. I finished the class feeling only slightly worn, and happy. I also intend to do careful work with my right leg to strengthen it, so dancing gets easier.
My goal of "get strong enough to start dance class effectively" has been met. Yay!
Now I get to move on to the fun part - learning the moves. :)
And, apparently, I get to go buy smaller exercise pants. The ones I got 6 months ago, which fit then, look like clown pants now. I couldn't even see my own shape in the mirror to notice how my hips were moving. That's awesome. I haven't lost much weight over the six months... maybe 6 or 7 pounds... but my body is reshaping. It snuck up on me.