An Accumulation of Reasons

An Accumulation of Reasons - Leyla Najmas Belly Dance Blog

Sometimes I will lie in bed and think about past performances and shows that I participated in and I will run through the whole event in my mind. The good, the bad, pretty much everything is thrown in and I start to think about how I could have changed things. Different outcomes would have made for better experiences but sometimes the lessons wouldn’t have been learned. I think we have to let the past be but sometimes it’s good to look at experiences every now and then to remember how much of life we have lived.

In talking with many of the dancers that I have interviewed it occurred to me we are all traveling parallel paths, they just curve, drop and rise differently because various lessons and realities are so different. But one thing is for sure everyone has an accumulation of opinions that creates their point of view and reference. Sometimes we agree and other times we differ in ideologies but disagreements don’t make anyone’s reality less real for them or wrong. What makes our world go round keeping is the endless experiences that each one of us has. It’s all thrown into the pot of self discovery and we all taste a little bit of each others thoughts and views.

The interviews are my way of understanding everyone’s feelings and experiences in our dance field. And I must I have found it very interesting that many dancers-teachers experience the same thing just in different parts of the planet. Why do women dance? It’s an age old question but the answer is never the same and changes with the times.

I had one dancer come into my class who was a ballet dancer and she would catch on to all the moves within minutes of executing them. The other girls would look at her with dismay and I would just smile. She came to class for a very unique reason which was to feel more spiritual because ballet to her was an insolated dance form that didn’t allow for her private expression. She just wanted to feel like herself without apology. Another dancer always wanted to belly dance and her ex-husband would never allow her to. The “allowing” part always got me but she had to figure out how to make up her own mind. Class for her was making decisions for herself

A very beautiful older woman walked through my studio doors looking for a way to capture her youth. She had let her younger years dictate was appropriate for her in her later years.  She felt young at heart and decided to go with the feeling she felt inside. Dancing for her was expressing her new outlook on life without apology for being her age.

I always wonder if I would have kept my studio open how many more reasons would have come through to accumulate with all the others. It seems that our dance plays a huge part for women in uncovering truths that were at one time hidden secrets. Everyone’s journey seems to lead them to a type of self discovery that touches the soul. Belly dance does just that and more because even after all these years I feel it transform my life in a way that will stay with me until my last breathe.


Belly Dance Tip of the Day:

Weight and Feet

Remember that feet are important in your dance. They help execute each move plus they help us distribute our weight in various ways that allows for us to dance. The important thing to remember is that if we are off on our weight distribution the feet can’t help us there.

One time I was performing on a very dark stage and danced right onto a warped piece of wood that bowed down 5 or 6 inches. I couldn’t keep myself from slightly falling because my weight and feet were a tangled mess. Walking off stage was a bit embarrassing and I was to go on again for the last half of the show. Interestingly enough I knew where the warped piece of wood was and I was able to adjust for it with no problem. So what I learned is that once our feet know what’s going on they can keep us from falling over and adjust for any problems.

But even to this day I am weary of the bottomless pit stages that can swallow us up whole!


New York; Vintage Charm with a Modern Twist and Classical Elegance

Leyla Najma's New York Travel Journal - Leyla Najma's Belly Dance BlogNothing prepared my daughter and me for our amazing trip to New York. Just the trip alone was exciting but once we arrived in New York I must say our journey really had just begun. Our taxi cab driver was the first of our “We’ve arrived” moments when he literally took me at my word when I said it should take no longer then 12 minutes to get to our destination. And let me tell you it was a white knuckle ride the whole way!

Our destination was the apartment of Noora, dancer extraordinaire and costume designer and owner of Decotach; Creative mix and match costumes. As we entered her apartment we were greeted by 4 of her 6 cats. Since my daughter and I are animal lovers, we definitely were in heaven! Our day ended with an evening out at a local restaurant not far from Noora’s  house. But that evening the rain started and it kept coming down the whole time we were there.

We walked the streets the next few days and I literally saw umbrellas scattered on the sidewalks in every direction. I asked Noora about this and she said, “In a few minutes you’ll understand.” Just five minutes after she said that the wind took my umbrella and swept it up and tore it to shreds. Nothing like laughing in the rain and getting wet! At one point I was wet from my tippy toes up to my waist. This was because I wore my New Mexico style clothing and it just didn’t work for the New York winds, rain and busy life style. And just so you all know, we went through 4 umbrellas in one day!

There where many high lights of the trip, one was going to Serena Wilsons’s studio and videotaping a class in session. Our main goal was to videotape  Noora and her dance friends in a group along with solo discussions on belly dance issues and we had a wonderful evening of  just straight belly dance talk. I will start to edit this week and I am looking forward to viewing what we were able to get on film.

Another highlight was watching videos of Noora performing at different venues such as a wedding and a major dance project that she collaborated with Tamalyn Dallal. I was awe struck at her dance ability and truley believe Noora is one of the best dancers we have here in the United States today. I cannot recommend her highly enough to any dance teachers who want to bring in a highly talented, educated master dance teacher and performer. Noora is the definition of everything you would expect from a dance master and I feel so honored and fortunate to have spent time with her.

Noora is also an amazing costume designer and I was able to be fitted for a new costume that she is making for me.   It is the red dress that Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell wore in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. I can’t wait until it is finished and I will be wearing it at the Floralia workshop and show I will be teaching and performing at April 29th-May 2nd 2010. There is nothing like a sexy, classy red dress to lift a dancer’s spirits and this one is definitely going to help me make an entrance.

Unfortunately after we arrived back to N.M. safely I battled the flu and for a while there thought I had brought back the bubonic plague. Plus I shared it with Savanah and Daniel (which they didn’t appreciate) so we are all just now getting back to good health again. But all in all it was a great trip and I highly recommend New York to any dancer who is serious about her dancing. New York should be a rite of passage for all dancers and once you experience the dancers back there you will totally understand why.  They are of the highest caliber of integrity, talent, friendliness and some of the most educated dancers of today. New York was everything I expected and more!

A note of importance; in the costume designing world Noora is known as Angela Lambru. She is world renowned by both names!

Check out Noora’s website at or [email protected]