In The Beginning……….Add to favorites
Many students/ dancers who write in to me and tell me a little about themselves are doing so because there is a need and desire to connect with someone who understands. And I am here to let all of you who write me know that I do understand.
In the beginning of my belly dance travels I couldn’t find a teacher for at least two years. I traveled working cattle so that meant I lived in remote areas. So I started to buy videos and practice when I had the chance. But like many of you I longed to connect with someone who could show me how to dance and become the belly dancer of my dreams.
After searching for a long time I found a wonderful dancer who took me in and started to teach me the foundation movements. As most beginners I was hungry for every move she taught and I had such enthusiasm that at times she felt a little overwhelmed. My first teacher was not so much a teacher as she was a performer. Her heart was on the stage and after about 4 months of dance class one day she told me she was no longer teaching me. No explanation was given and as my heart dropped I knew this meant I was again in a position where I had to find another dance teacher. My next teacher was a great inspiration but she let me know that she was already an accomplished dancer and that most probably I would not become her caliber for many, many years. This didn’t deter me at all.
What I did find with my second teacher was a disconnect between her and me that made me realize that if I am learning from someone who thinks only of herself than there isn’t much of a relationship. If a teacher doesn’t look out for you than you know you have someone that sees the world that revolves around only them and there is no room for you.
When we get a move or we accomplish a choreography, we want someone there who understands and claps and yells with us. There is no better feeling in the world than to be with people who understand what it takes to belly dance. Sometimes our families can be happy for us but they don’t always understand either.
I remember one time I finally was able to do a group of combinations and there was nobody around except for my horses, goats, geese and chickens. I was actually outside practicing in front of them. As I was yelling and jumping up and down the horses started to run, the chickens and geese ran around me and my goats were kicking up in the air. It was pretty funny and I will always remember that moment.
Another time when I was practicing outside my big draft horses thought it was time to get their heads scratched. So they would come right up to me and stick their big heads in my way. So as I said before our families don’t always understand what we are going through especially if they are the four legged kind.
Standing and looking down our belly dance path can be pretty daunting at times especially if we can’t see the forest for the trees. It can all become a blur and this is why a teacher is so important to most students. She can take those rose colored glasses off and give a student a different way of looking at movement, music and choreography. But like some of you I had to look for the right teacher. In the end I was very lucky because I have studied with amazing and talented dancers/choreographers/teachers through out my travels.
So as I have said before I understand how most of you feel. I have been there and the one thing that I would like for all of you to know is that I do read what you write. Some of you make me smile because I remember similar experiences that you write about. I remember the years without a teacher and this is one thing that I would like to change for anyone who is experiencing this now.
Most of you who are beginners are going through your own rights of passage. We all have done this especially those dancers who have been dancing for years like myself. Know that you are not alone and that as I progress with my 0n-line videos and get them out to each and every one of you, I think of the emails you send me and hope that I can create solutions to some of your problems.
As my favorite saying goes;
“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle”