Don't forget, after you read Jennifer's answers to my questions,
to answer HER question for you!
(just leave your answer in the comment section for a chance to win this week's prize)
How do you define “Belly Dance”?
“Belly Dance” in the West tends to be a contemporary dance form inspired and informed by the torso based social, folk and ritual dances that originated in the Middle East and North Africa (especially raqs sharki). This dance form can encourage acceptance, self respect and physical, emotional, mental and spiritual awareness. One just needs to allow oneself to trust in the inner experience of the body’s wisdom.
How & when did you first encounter belly dancing?
I was at an arts festival in Asheville, NC in the fall of 2001 when I saw a troupe called Baraka Mundi perform. I was instantly smitten with the dance form.
How long have you been dancing (professionally/teaching)? I have been dancing since 2002 and teaching since 2003.
Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I grew up in Western Massachusetts, and I currently live in SW Virginia.
Where is the most interesting place that belly dance has taken you?
To a better understanding of myself. :)
Who were some of your mentors/teachers/inspirations along the way? Some of my inspirations are Aziza of Montreal, Mira Betz, Donna Mejia, Jill Parker and Zafira Dance Company.
What valuable advice would you like to pass on to novice dancers?
• Remember what inspired you to dance. Continue to reconnect to those feelings of inspiration.
• Never stop studying and learning. Enjoy and dive into that process of growing and unfolding. Invite that journey to continue to guide and inspire you.
What is the most unusual experience you have had belly dancing?
I cannot recall an experience that I would label as unusual.
What is the topic of the article you are contributing to Zanbaka’z Belly dance for the Versatile Dancer Vol.4?
The Benefits of Yoga for the Belly Dancer
Do you have any other special talents/skills/occupations besides (or that compliment) your belly dancing?
I am a physical therapist, yoga teacher, Pilates instructor and ayurvedic lifestyle counselor.
What is your favorite or signature style of belly dance that you teach or perform? Do you have a specialty that people recognize you for?
I do not feel that I have a specific favorite or signature style. I just enjoy seeing individuals share their dances from an authentic place that is true to them, and I try to do the same. When you see someone dance with their own unique voice, whether they are beginners or seasoned performers, it is a beautiful gift.
Why do you love belly dancing?
Our dancing celebrates the human spirit and expresses the beauty of one’s strength and softness as well as each dancer's unique interaction within the community as a whole. The dances we share are meant to celebrate life in all stages through sound and movement. Dance can be a meditation in movement that invites us to celebrate the interconnectedness of life. The gift of this dance form is that it can encourage people of all ages and ability levels to become more aware of their bodies and themselves, to explore a rich diversity of qualities that exist in all of us and can encourage us to embrace these qualities in ourselves and others. This is why I dance and am blessed share this dance with others.
What is your favorite music to dance to? Why? Any favorite bands/groups/ artists I do not have one particular genre that inspires me more than another. Different songs talk to me for different reasons and at different times. I just remain open to songs that call me to deeply listen to them and that dance me. Some of the artists that currently inspire me are Asylum Street Spankers, August Hoerr,
Balkan Beat Box,
Rupa and the April Fishes,
Earth and autumn tones
Favorite Quotes (regarding dance or life):
Sound when stretched is music. Movement when stretched is dance. Mind when stretched is meditation. Life when stretched is celebration. ~Ravi Shankar
Let The Beauty Of What You Love Be What You Do. ~Rumi
Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in. ~Leonard Cohen
Our Deepest Fear Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually who are we not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ~ Marianne Williamson
And now for an opportunity to win the coin belt and earrings pictured below...
lovingly brought to you by Makara International, Inc.
Please answer this question:
What inspires you to dance?
Just post your answer in the comments!