My parents put me in dance classes when I was three years old. I was reeled in by the lights, the applause and of course the sequins! The fire started in me when I was five when I saw Gene Kelly dance with Jerry the Mouse in the film Anchors Away, and I said, “I want to do that!” I wanted to see every dance show and musical film in existence. I was blown away by the grace and confidence of these dancers. However, even though I was an extroverted kid, I was shy as well. Picture a quiet tomboy hanging with her big brother and friends wrestling, racing cars, and playing in the dirt. Even though I loved learning steps and combinations—I felt awkward within my classes, like an outsider. My life would continue to be a balance to find out what it means to be a dirty tomboy by day and a glitter ballerina at night.
An experience in Karate classes, as one of the only girls, made me realize it wasn’t about expectations of society. It was about having confidence in one’s self. That experience somehow narrowed my focus, and guided me in my determination to be a dancer. That is what felt right. I freed myself from expectation. My classmates wanted to be a ballerinas; I wanted to be a Fly Girl. I didn’t care anymore if I liked the black leotard more than the pink one everyone else loved. Feeling that connection from my body and soul to tell a story to the audience; the movement and presentation-- that was what mattered. Surrounding myself with inspiration, I watched in awe as I studied my teachers and fought to master their movements. I studied stories to think of routines. Flash forward to a few years later, and I was putting on shows in my Grandma’s carport with friends! It was no surprise that I went straight into theatre for my career.
Belly Dance drew me in as I matured into my womanhood. It was a call to let my tomboy loose and be the wild child in a different light. After years of studying various dance forms including: Jazz, Modern, Ballet, Tap, and Hip Hop—Belly Dance has been a primal outlet for me to explore. I felt empowered by the confidence of the women who exuded feminine mystery and sensuality in their movements. The serpentine softness and subtleties of the art form encouraged me to feel present and safe in my own skin. The fight is in me to always have that connection to the world’s energy—to flow freely and feel the pulse of life. Belly Dance is like my adult-self playing in the dirt. I love the wild call I feel to combine all past training and create amazing expressions of what it means to me to be feminine— I surrender to it.
Dance has taught me discipline, respect, awareness, and how to listen to and know my own body. I fight to dance. The fight is the fire in my blood. The power of dance has established unbelievable bonds with amazing women from all over the nation. There is always a sense of belonging in this universal community of dance; and I have met some of the most amazing women in my own dance community of Moon Belly. These women also have the fire in their eyes and in their bellies, and they are hungry for it. I am constantly inspired to fight harder. I fight for it to stay in my life, even with the highs and lows of my career, family, and all other twists and turns on life’s road, because it is who I am as a woman. I am a dancer.
Feel free to check out my full biography at: www.moonbelly.org/company.
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.