|Posted by Tessa Thompson on March 1, 2013 at 11:45 AM|
Once upon a time … just kidding. It was 2009, and I allowed my husband to drag me to the Cultural Festival at a local college. Being a writer, I was very reclusive and not known for heading out to just relax and enjoy myself (live and learn). Anyway, I noticed that they were having belly dancers perform, so I talked my husband into hanging around to check it out. I was totally enamored with both Munirah and Raks Alimah. After it was over, my husband prodded me to find out if there was any way to take lessons from these amazing women. I was so horribly shy then that I didn’t want to … he literally had to work on me for half an hour, and when I finally agreed, I decided to approach a woman with a stroller from Munirah ~ far less intimidating to the girl I was then. Anyway, she told me that they only practiced in Red Lodge, so if I wanted instruction, I needed Raks Alimah. It was then that she called a girl named Tessa over. Tessa was so kind and made me feel less awkward then I’m sure I actually was. She told me about classes I could take, informed me about Festival, and was so excited and exuberant about her art that I thought to myself, I would really love to hang with and get to know these women. I followed her business card and website information to Julia and Laura with Bindi Belly Dance … that was July of 2009.
The thing that most drew me was the sisterhood and support. I never, ever thought I would perform, but here I am. I studied with Julia and Laura for as long as I could, then I moved to Urban Sands. Kyla and Tessa helped grow and foster the support I had already received, nurturing and honing it until I reached my potential to perform and grow and begin to become the woman who stands on stage today. I am honored to say that with their kind and gentle hand, I have managed to find a home within the troupe that is now Spiral Skies Belly Dance. There is strength in numbers, and where I may be weak alone, I find that with them I am able to fight longer, try harder, stand straighter. I have RA, and these women have helped me push past more pain than I ever could have on my own. Their patience, kindness, keeping me from sitting in a chair and just quitting, all of this has helped me stay in better shape than most who have had RA for much less time than I have. They are my inspiration and my family. They help me strive to be better, to push harder, to give all that I have. They inspire and energize me in all things creative. They are not sisters born of blood, but sisters that my soul recognizes and accepts, embracing as family. We work together, play together, and support each other when the chips are down. I am honored to call these women my family, my friends, my belly sisters. I am goal oriented, so starting was first, making the troupe was second, now, I would just love to have such diversity and knowledge that I can dance to anything and pull it off. But I suppose that’s like wanting to speak every language on earth … still, wouldn’t that be a fabulous gift? So that is what I strive for … to know all that I can know and do all that I can do, to be the best me ~ dancer and otherwise ~ that I can be.
Now, when it comes to dancing, you will probably notice that I prefer the snaky slow moves to all others. The figure eights have got to be my favorite ~ run a forward with a back layering snake arms … yep, that’s me.
As for my preferred look, it varies with my intention. I don’t have a specific costume look … I’m moody that way. I like Spanish, or gypsy, maybe some Grecian goddess, depends on the song and my vision. But that is the great thing about belly dance! Your mood and musical choice can determine your costume choice. The sky is the limit, so let your imagination inspire you … that’s my motto.
For all of you that belly dance, you are amazing. Follow your dreams and let nothing hold you back. For those of you thinking about belly dancing, just do it. You won’t be sorry. You will meet the most amazingly strong, beautiful, inspiring women who will challenge you to be the best “you” ever. So don’t think, just jump! It will be the best decision you’ve ever made … promise!
Categories: Featured Dancer