They were in Mel's studio the whole time! I'll get to that in just a moment.
Thursday's class went well. No, scratch that. Thursday class was awesome! The evening started with me explaining my idea to Melody, the music, the costume, and even the thoughts on staging I had. My evil idea was well received by her. This made me very, very happy. She even appreciated the short list of music I had been considering, but agreed the final idea was much better.
After we had that out of the way, we talked about my performance from the beginning of the month and decided to focus on some issues for it. The first item to focus on was my hips. My hips didn't move much during the performance. I have a problem with the shimmy and hip movements in general since I started.
The majority of the problem was mechanical in nature. One of the challenges of belly dancing for me, and being a trans woman, especially one who started bringing her hormones into line later in life, is that some my physical characteristics are kind of set in stone and not the same as a cisgender woman's. Take the pelvis for example. The fact that the illium, the wings of the pelvis, is wider and more cradle like for example. That difference presents difficulties for me in the shimmy department. Hip isolations were right out.
So here I am, in Mel's studio, trying to shimmy, and Mel is walking around me, placing her hands on my waist and hips, feeling for how the muscles are moving. Before you ask, yes, those muscles lay differently too. It was this that Mel used to figure out a possible solution.
Rather than relaxing my lower abdomen and letting my legs do the work, we shifted focus to the muscles in the lower back and just above the cheeks. Right away, there was a difference. Larger hip movements were already visible. The amount of effort was a lot less and all of a sudden, hip isolations began to happen. They're not perfect yet, but they're there! I'm also getting a greater range of motion on the left side than on the right, but I think that should level out soon enough.
The down side, however, is that theses muscles have been cranky due to all the use they've been getting lately. I can live with that.