(Though the show just recently passed I still wanted to share this blog about my little journey of dance and how it inspired me to feel whole again. Enjoy. It was written prior to showtime but with all the rehearsals and running around I present it to you now). Photo by Bradley Marshall or dancer hubby.
I’ve never felt so included and so part of a team as I do now. I have been belly dancing since I was fifteen years old, that makes it ten years since I fell in love with Egyptian dance. I learned all I could from my early instructors, Samay of Mid-East Performing Arts Company and then for a brief time once I left Florida with Alexandra Smith of the Alexandria Dance company in Knoxville, Tennessee. Several workshops between by instruction of either school helped me to gain more of a respect for the art form. I went on hiatus for a few years after this due to medical issues. Once healthy enough to try to pick up where I left off I joined the students of Belly Motions in fall of 2015 after having moved back to Miami, Florida. I was so nervous to start again. Getting to know new people, being afraid of overly competitive dancers, and trying to keep up when I was so out of shape felt like a giant weight on my shoulders the first day I walked back into class. Though I’d been at advanced level years prior I forced myself to start from beginners again and work my way back up (as I’ve done every time there is too long a gap between training).
I attended several classes held by Miss Alexandra on the weekend to try to catch up and although terrified couldn’t pass up a challenge that presented itself only two weeks after I began. I was told choreography programs were soon to commence for a theatre production being held in spring 2016. Taking a leap of faith I signed up for an advanced level baladi choreography knowing I’d been two years out of practice.
This is how I came to join eleven other dancers under the direction of Yesenia, our instructor and choreographer extraordinaire, who has drilled us for the last six months. Alongside them I was able to prove to myself I could still step up to challenges, face them dead on, make new friends and be humbled by amazingly talented people. I was stunned at the inclusivity I felt from the other dancers and staff and can honestly say I have never felt so appreciated, so part of a team as I do now. My expectations of diva type dancers who degraded others were bashed. My old conceptions of the dance community in Miami were re-aligned to a more positive frequency. With the guidance of our instructor the students and I were able to learn an advanced level choreography we are due to perform only three days from now on stage. It has been such a humbling, positive and strengthening experience. I’m a more mature woman compared to who I was years ago when I first started Egyptian belly dance. I still have a lot of studying and training to do but I can finally say I am proud of myself for falling back into something I love so much while battling bouts of depression, anxiety and medical issues that kept me out of commission for so long. I have Miss Yesenia, the Belly Motions team and the wonderful students I dance alongside to thank. Your strength and dedication were and continue to be an inspiration. (One of our girls showed up to rehearsals with I.V. needles taped to her arm so she could receive treatment before &/or after dance when she discovered she had Lyme disease. Talk about dedication, strength and drive. You go Nancy!) Thank you all for helping me believe in team work, art and myself again.
If you live in the Miami area and are interested in taking a class at Belly Motions click on the link below or stop by the studio.