Dance has always been in my life. It’s something I’ve always loved, from jazz classes to high school dances. I’ve loved being on the dance floor (preferably surrounded by people so no one could see me). Being an incredibly shy person, belly dancing wasn’t exactly a logical choice for me since it is often done as a solo. But a friend of mine was taking classes and invited me along. I was super excited. At the time I was looking for a hobby because I hated the fact that when people asked me what my hobby was I always answered reading. I wanted something more “exciting”. Belly dance could be my “thing”. I had no intentions of doing anything more with belly dancing than taking classes. I hated that at the end of every class we were forced into a circle and we would individually go into the middle and do some kind of dance. This usually resulted in me running to the middle doing a booty/shoulder shake and then getting the h**l out of there. But I loved the class. I loved that it was teaching me how to isolate my muscles, it was hard work but fun. It was teaching me rhythm, something a friend told me I had none of and didn’t think I ever would. It made me feel confident about myself and my body. I loved all that. So that’s why I continued, it became more than just something to say was my hobby.
[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] I love when I’m having a hard day and my husband says to me, “why don’t you go practice?” An hour later, I’ll feel lighter and more at ease. [/pullquote] In 2008 I moved to Seattle and had to find a new teacher. I was still thinking this would just be my fun exercise on the side and nothing more. I found Mellilah’s classes and soon after, she was planning a student recital. She wanted me to do a solo, along with some group numbers. She didn’t know about my hatred of dancing in the circle in my old class. I was terrified, could I do this? Did I want to? I worked hard on my solo, with a little help from Ruby and Mellilah, I was able to choreograph the whole thing. When performance time came, I was so nervous, I was shaking and nauseated. Why was I doing this!? (You can see in the photo below how nervous and shy I was.) But that performance was the marking of what would ultimately become why I dance. I loved the feeling of showing something I created, something I loved. I always wanted to be creative, but I never felt that was my strong suit. I was just the nerdy girl who studied too hard. But here I presented something I loved, to my friends, family and strangers. The feeling of being on stage was exhilarating, even if I was scared to death.
Why I dance has changed but the ultimate underlying reason is because I love it, it brings me joy.
• I love dancing for people and seeing their faces light up at my performance. That knowledge that I can make them happy with something I enjoy is why I dance.
• I love when I’m having a hard day and my husband says to me, “why don’t you go practice?” An hour later, I’ll feel lighter and more at ease, that is why I dance.
• I love that I’m constantly learning in this dance form, it’s endless, and that’s why I dance.
• I love that no matter how nervous I am right before I go on stage, once I’m out there, the nerves disappear (most of the time) and I can just be with the music, that is why I dance.
• Most of all, I love the confidence about my body and myself that bellydance has given me.
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