Ooh, I'm glad I finally have time to post on this thread. I started taking belly dance lessons recently as well, and I really, really love it. I started with lessons at this one studio, then added another weekly class at another.
I too find the hour really relaxing, and it tends to fly by. I walk out of there feeling both relaxed AND more energetic (and I really have to tone down those hips when I'm walking home!
). It also makes me feel -- dare I say it -- beautiful. The movements are extremely sensuous and complement a woman's form beautifully.
I was initially surprised at what great exercise it is. I can definitely feel a difference in my obliques and lower back, which have tightened. Also (and yes, this is TMI, I'm sure!), the muscles that you work on in belly dance are useful for more... erotic
I also got some DVDs so I can practice at home between classes. Yup, I'm addicted!
If you haven't already seen it, there's a belly dance thread on the Exercise forum -- you should check it out.
Thanks for bringing this up! I've been dying to talk about belly dance with more people!