Thoughts from One Student

One of my students has been going through some fantastic, personal a-ha moments and gave me permission to share some of her writing with all of you. “Do what you love, and you’ll be great!” Well, um… Not really. I’ve discovered that my body naturally loves certain belly dance moves… I love those moves. Even as a beginner of less than three months, I’m willing to just go ahead and say this: I am good at those moves. You may admire me when I do those moves, and I will be pleased, but not surprised. And there are moves my Read More

Unusual Structure, Unexpected Benefits

One of the stranger aspects to my current teaching arrangements is that I do not yet have any dance studios from which to teach. I haven’t started renting space (and time on the schedule) at any formal dance studios. I haven’t made arrangements at community centers or rec centers. I haven’t joined any college staff or continuing education offerings. But I teach between 3-4 times per week. At first, I started teaching as a “guest lecturer” in a park where my SCA friends had been dancing for years at their weekly fighter practice. We are in a public park, next Read More

Moving Carefully, Deliberately

One of my favorite disclaimer phrases at the beginning of our warm-ups is, “Remember, I am NOT a trained medical professional. Please do not make me drive you to a trained medical professional.” I am sometimes nervous as a teacher. I work with people who have a variety of body types, body ailments, temporary injuries, lifelong chronic pain conditions, or just folks who may have done something strenuous lately and are currently in recovery. I worry because I want to have good stretches, good advice, and a healthy dose of what are my limitations. Recently, someone joined in on our Read More

No Pressure, No Shame

There are many philosophies or motivations that various teachers or students of bellydance bring to their classes or performances. I was reminded recently that one of my primary philosophies is a very simple phrase, “No Pressure, No Shame.” There is already so much competition in the world and not everyone resonates with competitiveness. Some people find competition to be wonderful. Others find competition to be horrifying and even a trigger for previous bad experiences. Some people have been bullied by competition, shamed by it, and unwilling participants in competitions they could not escape. What matters most to me is that Read More

Thankfulness in my Dance

Carolena Nericcio (from FatChanceBellyDance) leads dancers in a moving mediation or Puja before rehearsal or performance. Instructors of ATS® usually lead their students as well, although occasionally the description of the puja varies a little bit. One variation I continue to hear uses the phrase “thankful for” interchangably with “acknowledging.” Rather than just, “with this gesture I acknowledge the space I have to dance in,” these instructors have said, “with this gesture I am thankful for the space I have to dance in.” I can no longer remember which instructors tended toward which phrase, but I love the notion of Read More