In 1999, I was introduced to belly dance . I’m sure I’d seen it before, probably at the renaissance festivals, but I never really felt drawn to it. It was so flirty, sparkly, and girly, everything I was not. At that time I was starting to dive into goth culture, which seemed an awkward fit for this bright, colorful, smiling art, but that was the year I was introduced to tribal style. There was a beautiful dancer who talked about this new thing, this American Tribal Style that she learned out on the west coast. (For those in the know, yes, I know, I didn’t use the (R) symbol, but that was back before the days it was codified into FCBD(R) only, so I figured some fluidity was warranted).
For quite some time, that’s what I pursued. It started with ATS, which at that point was a generic term for all things improvisational tribal, which I learned in classes and from dancers at the drum circles. Then it later expanded to include this whole Tribal Fusion thing. The first troupe I was ever involved in was a short-lived group called Tribal Storm.
Everything changed in 2007. That’s when I moved to Texas. Given there was no tribal where I lived, I was asked to teach, so that’s when I took on my first class. I had taught before, substituting in for this or that teacher when the need arose, but I’d never had my own class, so this was a time of incredible growth as a dancer.
For several years, up until 2012, I was quite involved in the belly dance community, both my local community at Fort Hood, and the greater community in Austin. I was performing weekly, at the least, both with the fire group, Wyldfire Productions, and frequent appearances with Dessert Passion Middle Eastern Dance Theater.
Quite a few life circumstances led to the temporary end of my career in 2012. I took that time to focus on personal life, family, and a relocation out of the Fort Hood area. I missed dance dearly, but getting back into it meant rebuilding, which was more than I could have managed at the time. Sometimes life takes us out of things and we have to work our way back.
It was early 2018 when I finally decided to get back into dancing, starting with the continuing education program at Keefe at Night. It was just supposed to be something to do with my time, but it ended up launching me fully back into the dance world. That first step resulted in so many more classes and opportunities.
In 2019, I was excited to participate in two new dance troupes. The first run by Baseema Moirae of The Dance Space in Worcester. I was so excited when I was invited to be a part of her troupe with her level 3 students, a troupe named Amrah Qawiah. At the encouragement of my students, I also began my own project, a reborn creation of an old troupe with one of the original members, Element World Fusion. Both troupes have become like family to me, and I’m always excited at new opportunities to perform with them!
My dance future is still ongoing, with involvement in Element and Amrah Qawiah, as well as teaching through my own company Belly Dance MetroWest. I hope to have many more wonderful years of dance in my future!