Melodie’s Teacher Stories: Mom the Belly Dancer by Melodie Rosenfeld - Ourboox.com
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Melodie’s Teacher Stories: Mom the Belly Dancer

Melodie Newman Rosenfeld is a lecturer at an academic teachers college in Israel and has been working with teachers and Read More
Member Since
Apr 2016
Published Books
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Jackson, an artistic but violent 8-year old, grabbed Darcy’s hair and yanked. She was my aide and pretty strong, being a former forest ranger; nevertheless, it took us both to wrestle him to the floor and ring the buzzer for our retired police officer who rushed the room and sat on Jackson to subdue him.

 

Jackson could only count to three; his mother had been on drugs and alcohol when she was pregnant with him. Swiss-cheese-brain is what we called the consequences of that pregnancy.

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Melodie’s Teacher Stories: Mom the Belly Dancer by Melodie Rosenfeld - Ourboox.com

Roland, a swaggering, even more violent 12-year old who was abused by his uncle, lived in a group dorm and was hit-on by his uncle any time he went home. Roland once held up a chair and threatened to throw it at my head: “You’re dead meat”, he shrieked at me. He could barely read.

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Melodie’s Teacher Stories: Mom the Belly Dancer by Melodie Rosenfeld - Ourboox.com

Every morning we corralled Jackson and Roland into their seats with another four severely, emotionally-challenged boys.

 

 

 

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Melodie’s Teacher Stories: Mom the Belly Dancer by Melodie Rosenfeld - Ourboox.com

Nightly over dinner, my family insisted that I share my daily classroom war stories.

 

My husband and I were on a Sabbatical in California with our daughter, Adi, who was 13 at the time, and her three younger brothers aged 11, 7 and 2.  As a special education teacher, I commuted 40 minutes from Scotts Valley to my special class of six in Los Gatos.

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Melodie’s Teacher Stories: Mom the Belly Dancer by Melodie Rosenfeld - Ourboox.com

Meanwhile, in class, we played all sorts of unconventional games to get the six boys to count, to sit at their desks, to read work pages, to write. We used play-doh to review phonics, Las Vegas gambling games to motivate for arithmetic, jump rope for vocabulary rhymes, plastic chip rewards for sitting, colored paper cards and markers for writing. We also did art projects.

 

Once I bought a whole, fresh fish at the market. We slathered it with acrylic paint, lay paper over the inert body, lifted it off gently, and voila – each boy made a fish print.

 

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Melodie’s Teacher Stories: Mom the Belly Dancer by Melodie Rosenfeld - Ourboox.com

To get my mind off of my emotionally disturbing class, I signed up for a class of belly-dancing in Santa Cruz.

 

My belly-dancing teacher had studied in Cairo and she was inspirational. She wore flowing hip scarves with jingly coins, and dangling earrings which swung with her long, luxurious hair. Her hour-glass figure and painted red toenails bespoke feminine attraction and open, lustful joy.

 

 

 

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Melodie’s Teacher Stories: Mom the Belly Dancer by Melodie Rosenfeld - Ourboox.com

She showed us how to keep our bare feet together while we moved with the music, swiveling our hips and chests, and outlining our curvy bodies with suggestive rotations of our hands. I bought colorful scarves, long earrings and Aladdin pants. I carefully watched our teacher over the months and copied her movements.

 

Even as a mother of four, I was still attractive and she complimented me on my dancing. I relished our weekly group.

 

 

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Melodie’s Teacher Stories: Mom the Belly Dancer by Melodie Rosenfeld - Ourboox.com

Towards the end of the year, our teacher scheduled a belly dance performance for family and friends. After several group dances, each student would perform a belly dance by herself.

 

Since my four children, husband and brother-in-law were invited, I put together a modest costume, showing a minimum of skin: flowing pants, a soft blouse with sleeves and colorful scarves over my hips and top. The teacher bought us each new, long, dangly earrings and I was set to go.

 

 

 

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Melodie’s Teacher Stories: Mom the Belly Dancer by Melodie Rosenfeld - Ourboox.com

There were three weeks left before performance night. And one big problem. I couldn’t remember the sequence of steps to my personal belly dance. I asked the teacher to go over the steps with me once again.

 

 

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Swivel six steps to the right with a right-revolving hip swing, then swivel back six steps to the left with a left-revolving hip swing; turn around; lean forward and shake my bosom four times forward and then four times back, then outline my body with my rotating hands looking left and then right and then do another 10 suggestive moves to the music.

 

Wonderfully executed in class, but when I got home, who could remember?  When do I swivel? How many steps before shaking my top?   Watching the teacher, I could imitate her perfectly. But at home, with the Cairo music blaring, I couldn’t remember the steps.

 

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Two weeks to go. Panic begins to set in. I request an extra class and go over the steps again with her. I have it down perfectly.

 

Until I need to remember it all by myself. Poof, gone. Or at best, mixed up.

 

 

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Melodie’s Teacher Stories: Mom the Belly Dancer by Melodie Rosenfeld - Ourboox.com

Meanwhile, I struggle daily with my emotionally challenged students. I get Jackson to be my art supply man. Good move.

 

I get Roland to settle down by inviting in a 10th grade, equally-unhinged-girl to sit with him and show him the alphabet. He can’t concentrate from gazing at her lovingly, but at least he has stopped threatening me with a chair.

 

 

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Melodie’s Teacher Stories: Mom the Belly Dancer by Melodie Rosenfeld - Ourboox.com

And I struggle daily with the ever-approaching, inevitable doom of forgetting my steps on the big night.

 

Then it hits me. I love mind-maps and charts. I might remember the steps if I could just draw them out and maybe color-code them.

 

 

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So, I get some cards, write out the steps and add a small sketch for each part: I draw in six, curly-cue marks leaning to the right for the six right swivel steps, then six to the left to remind me when I’m supposed to swivel left. For the shake-my-top four times forward & four times backward, I draw in purple and orange wiggle marks which remind me of my scarves that I wear on top. And so on.

 

I scotch-tape the index cards to the dashboard of my car and talk the steps aloud every day during my 40-minute commute.  If I need to, at each stop light I look at the cards again. This seems to do the trick. I remember the steps. Bring on the Cairo music.

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Melodie’s Teacher Stories: Mom the Belly Dancer by Melodie Rosenfeld - Ourboox.com

The day before the performance, my 13-year old daughter asks if she can perform with me. I chuckle. “Honey, it took me roughly a month to learn this sophisticated, individual belly dance”.

 

“Show me”, she says. So, I put on the Egyptian music and demonstrate the dance three times. She remembers the steps with no problem. Should I laugh or cry? We get her some cover-up scarves and perform the dance together the next night on stage while her siblings, father and uncle cringe in the audience. They let out their breath and clap enthusiastically when we finish.

 

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Melodie’s Teacher Stories: Mom the Belly Dancer by Melodie Rosenfeld - Ourboox.com

I suppose my emotionally-challenged and fetal-drugged students taught me that some of us have swiss-cheese brains even if our mothers took vitamins and orange juice when pregnant with us.  Some things we can remember easily and others we just can’t.

 

They taught me that games and tricks and colorful cards are sometimes as helpful for us as it is for them.

 

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Melodie’s Teacher Stories: Mom the Belly Dancer by Melodie Rosenfeld - Ourboox.com

And my daughter taught me that she’s a better dancer than I am.

 

Okay, maybe not a better dancer but a faster learner when it comes to dances.

 

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Melodie’s Teacher Stories: Mom the Belly Dancer by Melodie Rosenfeld - Ourboox.com

Photo Credits

p.2  Swiss Cheese  http://a.abcnews.com/images/Health/gty_swiss_cheese_kb_150529_16x9_992.jpg
p.4 Dead Meat   http://vadervarade.deviantart.com/art/YOU-RE-DEAD-MEAT-560219399
p.6 Cowgirls   http://www.owensvalleyhistory.com/classic_cowgirls12/cowgirl_postcard01_t.jpg
p. 8 Pow  http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/comic-fight-club/
p. 10 Fish  http://artbiozoo.weebly.com/
p.12 Belly dance teacher   http://larabellydance.com/community/costumes/
p.14 Aladdin pants  http://www.missbellydance.com/Belly_Dance_Chiffon_Harempants_p/hp07.htm
p.16 Dance Costumes  https://ae01.alicdn.com/kf/HTB1FjWEOFXXXXXyXXXXq6xXFXXXf/New-Lady-font-b-Belly-b-font-font-b-Dance-b-font-font-b-Costume-b.jpg
p.20 Llama   http://ind5.ccio.co/D5/S8/lC/44337b67caa020912aaf83c6dc5fb2f0.jpg
p.22 Barbie   https://i.ytimg.com/vi/6IOlaBct6GE/hqdefault.jpg
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Photo Credits

p.16 Dance Costumes   https://ae01.alicdn.com/kf/HTB1FjWEOFXXXXXyXXXXq6xXFXXXf/New-Lady-font-b-Belly-b-font-font-b-Dance-b-font-font-b-Costume-b.jpg
p.20 Llama   http://ind5.ccio.co/D5/S8/lC/44337b67caa020912aaf83c6dc5fb2f0.jpg
p.22 Barbie  https://i.ytimg.com/vi/6IOlaBct6GE/hqdefault.jpg
p. 24 Buzon mind map   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/600×315/14/b4/5a/14b45a260e9d2307159552716e78da23.jpg
p.30 Right-Left hemisphere   https://reconnecteducation.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/creative-learning.png
p.32 Kitty dancer  www.freakingnews.com/pictures/34000/Ballerina-Kitten-34271.jpg
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