I’m from a generations-old farming family in central Missouri. Not exactly what you expect when you think of a belly dancer, right? Maybe...
The upcoming Mother Nature show excites me on many levels. I was a painfully shy child, it was extremely difficult for me to speak to people, much less get on a stage and dance. That didn’t happen until just a couple of years ago with this group. Stepping onto a stage felt like stepping onto a foreign planet. It was a new world there for my exploration.
I had an ideal early childhood with free run of hundreds of acres. Days were spent with little concept of time and surrounded by Everything Beautiful in nature: for me, communication with nature was easier than with people. Outside and alone was home. Missouri’s landscape and natural abundance is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Our little corner of the Earth is sometimes vastly underappreciated. It is fitting we do a tribute to Mother Nature here.
My first taste of belly dance happened in India at 18 yrs old. I took a class and from then on dabbled in and out of it throughout the years. From that age on, I spent a lot of time in the Middle East and in the Middle Eastern culture; therefore, the essence of the dance feels natural to me. This is my third year with Moon Belly and it’s an honor to be amongst such beautiful and dedicated women.
As I am learning, it’s one thing to train your body and showcase your physical movements. But this is not the end goal. The goal is to tell a story, expose the soul, and communicate beyond the realm of mind. On the stage, my body should be my words. The audience deserves a connection, not just a show.
Hi, I'm GG.I was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but left when I was about five. I traveled all over the United States before settling in Jefferson City with my mom and siblings, where I lived up until last summer. Growing up I had no dance training or any kind of extra-curricular activities at all. My childhood and early adulthood was a whirlwind , moving around a lot and just trying to survive. There was no time or money. Unfortunately, that carried over into adulthood and life was stressful just trying to get through each day. I first saw belly dance in my early 20's at a Renaissance festival and it was the loveliest and most mysterious thing I had ever seen. I went to Renaissance Festivals JUST to see the belly dancing after that, but it never occurred to me that I could learn to do it. Because of many experiences I had growing up, the thought of improving myself or attempting to do something bigger, better, and more beautiful never once crossed my mind. I felt like my place in life was as a spectator, never a participant. I had my son at age 29, and that is when things changed for me. Finally I felt like I had a bigger reason for living. I was no longer just surviving day to day, but now I was really living. I was present in myself everyday and I loved being a mother. I started to give thought to my health. I became more aware of my body and what it could do. I became more active and started working out and actually started to like my body!
One day when I was watching some YouTube videos about another type of dance, I stumbled across a new type of belly dance video. It wasn't like any belly dance I had ever seen. The movements were slow, sensual, and strong. The costume was dark and mysterious looking, not like the brightly colored, sparkly costumes that usually come to mind when I thought of belly dance. The feeling I had when I watched this dancer was impossible to put into words. I was spellbound! As I watched more and more dances, chills rippled over me. A thought occurred to me: I WANT TO DO THIS! I had never seen a woman that could be so many things at once-strong, beautiful, graceful, and in control of her own body. She had such power and could be the shining light of hope for a person who had spent a lifetime feeling hopeless.
I found a class in my area and started going. My first class was magical, I was ecstatic and eager to learn. I filled my head with all things belly dance, and to be honest was obsessed! I scoured the internet for any and all articles related to belly dance. I borrowed books, movies, and music from the library. I was gladly taken by belly dance completely.
After a couple of years I decided I needed more. The class I was in was fun and laid back. I enjoyed it and was grateful for its teachings, but I knew what I really needed was more discipline, and a more serious dance environment. I found one thirty minutes away in Columbia called Moon Belly Dance Studio. When I went to my first class and met Kandice, I knew that was where I needed to be. I felt things click in my mind when I was there. My body could not catch up with my mind, however. I felt slow and clunky, not graceful at all! I found the environment supportive even with my struggling, so I went to classes and watched several performances. When I watched them perform I was absolutely positive I was in the right place! These women were exactly what I wanted to see in myself. They were beautiful, strong, sensual, and self assured. They seemed in control of their bodies and reflected the women I had seen in the videos two years earlier when my love of belly dance had first bloomed.
I have been coming to Moon Belly for about a year now and I have never been happier. I feel so lucky to have found them because they are the most fantastic group of women. The opportunity to dance with them and perform in “Mother Nature” has changed me in the best way possible I've found a place I belong, and people I belong with. Preparing for this show has been an emotional roller coaster. Sometimes I want to cry because my body doesn't do things quick enough, or I'm just struggling with things emotionally, that this process brings to the surface. Yet at other times I feel that I have resolved some issues through dance and feel such great relief to let those things go. I feel that this amazing dance is worth every step. Dance is therapy!!
This blog is designed to provide information about Moon Belly and MOON dance company happenings. At times, it becomes an open journal of our various theatrical explorations. At other times, it serves as a source of education on belly dance culture and history.