Hips Don’t Lie: Confessions of a Terrible Dancer

I have a complex about my dancing abilities. Basically: I SUCK.

I used to blame this complex on my sister. Vy is a trained jazz and hip hop dancer / teacher / choreographer (singer too). She is ridiculously talented – she even spent 3 years touring the world as a Vietnamese pop star. Check out this video montage, where you can see clips of her concerts, dance rehearsals and teaching gigs.

She’s pretty much amazing.

I did not inherit this gene. I, instead, am her biggest fan and wildly jealous older sister. Whenever we hit the club scene, she’s that girl who, when she’s on a crowded dance floor, people stop to watch. Guys even challenge her to freestyle battles. The girl’s got moves, man.

Next to her, I look like Forrest Gump.

But, as I’ve discovered here in Italy, Vy is not to blame for my complex. I’m just that bad.

While I was in Rome last month, my friends Claudia and Clara invited me to their tribal belly dancing class. Mind you, this is not an Italian style of dance (it originates in Egypt or Turkey or something). I wanted to try it.

What did I learn? Shakira’s right: Hips don’t lie!

I have tremendous respect for people who can dance, but I honestly thought belly dancing would be easy. You just shake your tailfeather, right? A shimmy here, a shimmy there.


I used muscles that day that I didn’t know existed. Isolating your hips and belly require sharp precision. Then simultaneously curling the wrists and making graceful foot movements is even more difficult. Throw in the choreography and a prop (in this case, a handkerchief to seduce the audience and twirl around)…forget it! I was totally useless.

The girls had been practicing this routine for months, and they looked great. I hung in for as long as I could and had a good laugh. It was loads of fun!

But I think I’ll leave the dancing to those who can. Me and my awkward, uncoordinated self – I’ll stick with traveling.


  1. Anonymous

    This video is very nice !

    Last time you danced very well too ;-)

    I like read your blog,
    Take care and keep in touch !


  2. I’m sure your not that bad ;) Show me!!

  3. vy

    I have never thought of you as a bad dancer. That was all you. I’ve seen a ton of people who dance badly and you’re not one of them! And I’m not just saying this because you’re my sister! And I bet if I took a belly dancing class, I would think that I can’t dance too. haha

  4. i love you seester. and your sweet little lies too.

  5. Hi!!
    It’s Carlotta, the teacher you did the lesson with in Rome.
    It is true that bellydance looks easier than it actually is. It needs lots of practise like every other kind of dance…I’m glad you wrote it!!
    Anyway you weren’t bad at all, you just need some practise :-D
    Hugs from Rome!!

    P.S. I really like your blog!You visited lots of amazing places!!!

  6. carlotta, you are such a talented dancer and teacher! i had a blast with you, thanks for letting me join your class for a day. keep up the good work, and maybe i’ll see you next time i’m in rome :)

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