Growing up, I lived with both a sister who danced Ballet and a mother who costumed her recitals. Somewhere along the way, I got the message that to dance professionally was to live daily with an injured body, horrible food restrictions, and non stop criticism from a hardened Prima Ballerina on the way out of her career. Because of this misconception, I did not start dancing seriously until 17 years old. I would go to weekly classes of Ballet, Jazz, and theater but never considered professional dance an option… I was simply fascinated.
As an adolescent, I was volatile, scared, and often kept to myself. During one of my sessions of ‘mope at home’ for three days, I was watching a “Belly dance” performance by Delilah and realized she was combining positive self image, woman empowerment, and free yet practiced movement into her dance. The resulting change in me was astounding…I instantly knew exactly what I was supposed to do with my life! My high school teachers and peers did not really understand my new passion and I became weirder than ever. I would practice in the hallways, stretch during free class time, I started bringing my lunch, and all I listened to was Arabic music. I realized that dance is not a practice measured by time, flexibility, or brokenness but is in fact a complete way of life. It is capable of freeing our inner child, keeping our adult body powerful, and creating intellectual prowess.
Since that time I have not wavered for a moment in my commitment to good health to dance better. I am endlessly enrolling in seminars, private sessions, and certification programs to learn more about the body, what it needs, how it works and why. Everything is ultimately connected and good dance depends as much on mental stability and bed rest as it does on intense practice and study. You have to be able to fully understand the inner characters of your mind and adapt to each situation without expectation of yourself and your audience. You must keep your body, your instrument always moving forward but also recognize when it is time to throw in the towel and take an extended Holiday with your bed. With this in mind, I have gone forth to study Massage, Reiki, Meditation, Pilates and Yoga. These practices have guided my dance to be much safer and much more accessible as a daily practice anyone can benefit from. I learned how to relate breath, thought, and regular practice to help my students to learn about their body through dance rather than destroy it.
In many ways, dance was the trigger to make me take better care of me. While I was deeply fascinated as a child, it took many years to mature into my love of dance and practice. In many ways, dance is like any other deep relationship I have now. It had to be built slowly on trust…constant give and take, compromise, and a mix of work and passion. Like my husband, dance is a pillar of strength in my life. One which provides both beautiful community and encourages me to always dance my best with love.