Kami pulled into the small, secluded parking lot then walked down the dark alleyway that led to the front entrance. Her stomach was in her throat and unease filled her as she walked through the graffiti laden alley, she wondered if she had made the right choice coming here as she picked up her pace. The concrete was covered with blackened remnants of gum, cigarette butts and small shards of broken glass. The old down town district was mostly a ghost town but Kami could hear faint music coming from the direction of the dance studio and followed its hypnotic beat.
The dark alley gave way to a dimly lit sidewalk and Kami located the Chakra Dance Studio. Through the glass storefront Kami saw the group of ladies who had already arrived for the belly dancing class. Her stomach lurched; she hated meeting new people.
A small voice warned her not to go in, but she refused to listen. It was just her fear of new things, she reasoned. She had to at least try it; she had already come this far. Kami forced herself to open the glass door.
“Hello darling!” The thin dance instructor wrapped her arm around Kami’s shoulder and drew her in. “You are new.” She said with a choppy accent. Something about the lady’s manner sent up a red flag to Kami.
“I get you something to wear. Set your bags down.” She indicated an orange sofa already piled with other dance bags. “I’m Maleah. Come, we find which color best for your Chakra.”
“Chakra?” Kami asked.
Maleah only nodded and motioned for Kami to follow to a chest filled with sashes and beaded tops. Maleah sifted through the chest as Kami noticed various gems and crystals hanging in the glass windows. Pretty decorations.
The instructor pulled an orange belly-dancer costume out of the chest and placed it into Kami’s hesitant arms. “Go in back room, put on chakra costume, we start class.”
Kami closed herself into the “dressing room” and looked at the costume. How many other people have worn this thing?
Leave, a small voice insisted. Don’t stay.
Kami furrowed her brow, thoroughly confused. Why shouldn’t I stay? She sat on the single chair provided and took a minute to pray. God, what are you trying to tell me? It makes no sense. I just came to dance.
The still, small voice didn’t sound again, but as Kami opened her eyes she noticed for the first time strange posters that lined the walls:
The Different Chakras Showed a girl in meditation with an aura glowing around her. Down the length of her spine were different color lotus flowers, each representing an individual “chakra” (or “force centers”).
Your Force Centers and Spiritual Consciousness preached Hindu and New Age spiritualists beliefs of how the chakras interact with basic states of consciousness.
Shake Your Chakras – For health and pleasure explained how chakras were affected by belly dancing in various colors. According to them, wearing a certain color, along with matching crystals, had different impacts.
Kami read about orange carefully. Orange symbolized the Sacral Chakra: Svadhisthana and was reserved for the ultra-sexy dancer, who undulated in ways that moved everyone. Orange was related to violence, pleasure, reproduction and addictions.
The descriptions disturbed Kami. She came to dance for fun, not for spiritual healing or Chakra balance or arousing people. The newspaper ad that led her there hadn’t mentioned any of those things.
Perhaps she shouldn’t have come.
You don’t have to stay…
The Voice was right.
Kami wouldn’t stay. She gathered her courage and stepped back into the studio, orange costume in hand. The ladies were circled around Maleah in meditation. Each one wore a costume like the one in her hands and large matching crystals hung around their necks. Their eyes had been closed in concentration, but Kami’s emergence disrupted them.
Maleah looked at Kami with obvious irritation. “It does not fit?” She quizzed.
“It’s fine,” Kami explained, “I just can’t stay.”
A few of the ladies looked at her with open disdain.
“Fine,” Maleah sounded eager to be rid of her. “You leave costume. We meditate. You be quiet now.”
Kami didn’t say another word. She left the orange costume, picked up her dance bag, and left the group of New Age belly dancers to their strange practices.
Thank you for leading me out of there. Kami prayed as she headed back to her car.
A disturbing weight lifted from her soul.
Well done child.
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