My Relationship to Dance

adolescent hula girl

12-years-old

baby girl bellydancer

10-years-old

I have been a natural dancer my entire life; it is my “lifeline” along with my love for Mother Earth. I saw my first bellydancer as a little girl and was completely mesmerized (I also loved the food!); the experience planted the seed for a lifetime passion for the mysterious, mystical power of bellydance and all healthy, natural feminine movement and energy.

Born in 1968, a child of the ‘70’s—my first and foundational relationship to dance is deeply influenced and inspired by African-American culture. I was raised in Kansas City, Missouri, a vibrant and prominent “cradle of jazz”, the daughter of a jazz musician/Latin dance instructor and two avid, unbridled dancers (when they got a chance to hit the dance floor). As a young woman, the Latin dance forms of salsa and merengue opened another door of freedom through movement and rhythm.

AZ BD original 3

30-years-old

Akari bellydance 009 over shoulder

41-years-old

But ultimately, it was the kind, unwavering support of a spiritual teacher and my embrace of bellydance in my 20’s that gave me the confidence to call myself a “dancer” and the dance vocabulary and style to help me find my voice as a performer and dance instructor. It allowed me to feel my strength and begin to heal as a woman.

Happenin Hafla 11.2.13

45-years-old

I continue to further my studies and am always exploring creative movement, my “studio time”. In the past few years, I have re-ignited a long-buried fascination and intuitive connection with modern dance with Jessica Lockhart in Portland, Maine as an added layer to the fusion of styles that feel so natural to me. I also had the honor there of studying and performing “Entertainment Hula” and other Polynesian dances with Victoria Boucher who shares her Samoan family tradition.

My deep passion is to plant myself in the studio to practice (in beautiful spots in nature as often as possible), experiment with movement exploring my individual style, create dance and fitness routines to teach, and choreograph for performance. Hours can go by like minutes and it feels like there’s never enough time to drink from this well of creative expression. 

I feel very blessed to live in such a vibrant and dynamic city brimming with creativity and a loving, supportive community of fascinating individuals and collectives. I would like to see the streets, sidewalks, parks, and beaches lined with people dancing and living in joy, love, and freedom.

 

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