love the fact that my interest in belly dance keeps taking me on journeys I otherwise never would have considered.

For 5 years I have done classes and performances in what I guess is loosely defined as classical belly dance. It’s the kind most people are familiar with – the sparkly bras and skirts, long, loose hair, and Middle-Eastern music.

But I wanted to some how bring my love of dance into my job. As a teacher of Spanish, I was thrilled to discover Spanish-Oriental fusion dance. I found a song that I felt I could dance to and made up a simple choreography to teach some of my students. I called it ‘Gypsy’ style. We performed it at a school Spanish cultural day.

Around the same time, I got together with a woman from my dance class who also did Flamenco. She was of Roma (the preferred term for Gypsy) heritage from Ukraine, and was interested in doing a fusion of the two styles of dance. We worked on a choreography together, but, as can happen in the dance world, a few dramas prevented us from ever performing together.

Then I left my job as a Spanish teacher and put away the 25 yard skirts and the dreams of pursuing this style of dance. (Many other dreams died at this time.)

Fast forward a couple of years, and I once again find myself teaching Spanish. I dust off the Spanish Skirt Dance DVD I had bought, and spend the summer holidays learning the dance. I think I may be able to perform it one day.

This leads to the idea of the embroidered belt. I already have the pattern, the black calico, and the thread. And so I begin.

I tentatively let myself start to dream again. That I would even use this word in relation to anything is no small thing. It’s only with a lower-case ‘d’ though.

I revisit the choreography I did with my former students. I add new bits, making the skirts a bigger feature. I use my new earnings to buy a set of skirts, and now there is no turning back. I manage to gain the interest of some girls at my school and we have a performance date in sight.

Not sure if the belt will be ready by then, but she is a sign that maybe I can regain my old spirit, and for that, I will keep working on her until she sparkles and shines and hopefully gets her day in the light.




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