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A Grateful Dancer- San Francisco Trip Part 1

21 Oct

Well, it’s certainly been a while, not for lack of commitment…just for lack of having time between adventures to write anything down 🙂 So, this past summer I was given an amazing gift from my dear friend, Kersten Collins. She gave me the gift of an enormous travel voucher to go to San Francisco to study dance and to experience the city that is the Mecca of bellydance in this country. She didn’t just give me a plane ticket, she gave me the blessing of “exposure”-to different directions in bellydance training, to my goals for my dance career, and to other dancers who are doing things and changing ideas. I am forever grateful to her.

I am also endlessly grateful to Megan and Freddie Cabral who opened up their home, their lives, and gave their friendship to me while I was out there. Thank you Megan for all your sage advice and for your commitment to your own dance journey. You have inspired me to continue finding my roots, to honor them, to believe in myself and all the possibilities this dance can offer me and our community. You are a truly powerful being, my dance sister. I am so thankful to have met you and to call you a friend 🙂

Thanks are also due to my endlessly supportive husband, Marc, who has always made sure that I have been able to follow my path and is always there for a big kiss when I return. I can’t wait to be able to give him all the opportunities he has given me in our future together. I am so proud of him for pursuing the career he is so passionate about…you’re almost done babe!! Thanks to everyone who has supported me in my dance journey either as a teacher, moral supporter, or financial backer…I feel so grateful at this point in my life and I want to make sure you all know it!


Stay Tuned for pictures and musings from my trip in Part 2 and 3 !!


Bellydance Posture Mantra…a perspective

29 Aug

An interesting article from Miriam Gjerstad on aspects of posture and alignment in bellydance (passed along from Sushila Battagione 🙂 Thanks for posting!) An interesting read with some good points, would like to hear her rationale about certain points of the article, but an interesting viewpoint nonetheless.

Shems Dance Student Resources Page!

18 Aug

A great page with extremely useful information about just about everything oriental dance related…including decorum and lots of music links and info!!!

Rooted Dance

5 Aug



Wow! What a whirlwind this journey has been so far! I have been reading and exploring, getting feedback, finding resources, watching videos and just taking it all in. Thus it has taken me quite a long time to write again. I was sort of waiting for it to sink in and for something to want to come out naturally.

There has always been an underlying current for me in my dance and my journey into dance history and theory, but I couldn’t quite grasp it until now. It is what I strive to attain in my performance, what attracts me to other dancers, what really holds my eye and my attention. I think it is something few dancers really embody, and is maybe why I like the dancers I do. It is “rootedness.”  In the dictionary it is described as, :“The quality or state of having roots, especially of being firmly established, settled.”  From the moment a dancer steps onto a stage, or steps into a circle of musicians or even friends, if she is a dancer who is rooted in her body, settled in perfect balance with herself you know it like THAT!

I am reading “Grandmother’s Secrets” by Rosina-Fawzia Al-Rawi  at present and it has really re-informed me of this rootedness we must all embrace. Being present in your body, being internally aware of your surroundings, using all your senses to embrace your performance, to inform it, to elevate it. Really it all stems from our willingness to embrace our bodies in a way Western society has deemed unnecessary and irrelevant. To sit with yourself, to breath in and out, to close your eyes and move your body in whatever way feels natural, to be completely involved in your innerflow without judgement or self-conscious thought.

She gives great exercises for practicing this state…for re-informing your body of itself. Please check out this book!!!!!!!!!

Here’s a great excerpt about learning to trust your body;

“Whenever I went down the stairs in our house I looked down to avoid falling. One day my grandmother was watching me. ‘Let your feet see for you,’ she told me. ‘They’ll keep you from falling much better than your eyes! Feel with your toes until you find the next edge and let your heels slide down the stair until you find the next one. Put yourself in your center, in the place below your navel, and keep your head high!’

That was fun, and I spent days going up and down the stairs like a queen. This is how I realized, with time, that my feet were ‘seeing’ better and better. I felt my soles become more aware, my feet more sensitive and sensual. I came to trust them more and more, and my balance eventually settled into the lower part of my body.”

I think by doing these types of grounding exercises daily we might start to really trust our bodies in our everyday, but also in our performances. While these little quirky things are easy to do and seemingly nonsensical, I feel like they are in fact the MOST important part of learning to be a “rooted” dancer. You have to meet your body again, say hello and start a conversation with it. Love it and ask it questions, train it, trust it. I’m trying to incorporate some of these little things in my everyday, and it is really helping!

So, I challenge you to share your little exercises for learning your body, for keeping internally and externally aware!

“So dance, little sister, dance…for as long as you dance, this ancient women’s dance will survive and laugh in the face of all attacks. As long as there are women, it will go on beating and living, its proud strength passed on from woman to woman.”

-Rosina-Fawzia Al-Rawi

A Stylistic Description of Tribal Fusion Dance and Costuming

5 Aug

reposting an article by Gina Cabrera describing the stylistic elements of Tribal Fusion as it is currently evolving.

Thanks Renee for passing it on!!

It has begun!

10 Jun

The dancer cannot be separated from the dance, she also cannot be separated from the history of dancing, from the line of dancers and teachers leading to her.
~ The Dancer and the Dance (film) ~

Hello everyone,

So, recently I decided to embark on a project that I hope will take me to some neat places, both literally and metaphorically. It all began after my trips to TribalCon and Tribal Fest 11, when I realized that my world of Tribal and Tribal Fusion Bellydance felt limited…like I had missed a lot along the way. Now, I have studied Egyptian style and Cabaret style bellydance as well. I was not a purely Tribal dancer, but I felt a yearning for enlightenment…for stories of the beginnings..for advice from the creators..for an untainted history (which I am learning is impossible to attain in History in general).

So earlier this month I began my “research project” of sorts, which I hope in the future will provide an outlet for others who wish to follow the same convoluted path I am just beginning to embark on. It is my hope to bring the deep history of a very  “new” dance form (Tribal and Tribal Fusion) back to those who have not had the pleasure of learning it. I hope to explore the history of oriental dance from the very beginnings up through the 19th Century into the 1920’s Cabaret and into the present day…a flourishing dance form that is changing rapidly and evolving literally on a weekly basis. I hope to share little tidbits of information that are fun and enlightening..share videos, photos, stories, and hopefully interviews from the “mamas” of this particular form (if they will agree to help me on my journey **fingers crossed**) 🙂

I am starting on this journey as a novice..a dancer all my life, I have only been studying bellydance for 7 years..and I know it will be a life-long study for me. I claim to know nothing..I am not an authority on any subject..I am only sharing with you what I learn from others and I will try to establish credible sources for my information whenever I can. (Please comment or let me know if you believe any info I have here is incorrect or damaging..PLEASE!!)

I sincerely hope you will enjoy following me on this journey and will reap something from what I am gathering and sharing from others. Please bear with me on this process of beginning all this…my photo gallery is super-new and not nearly as full and referenced as I’d like it to be and my links section and info will grow. I hope you enjoy this place and please contact me if you have anything to add, would like to give an interview or article, or would just like to give feedback! I can be contacted at

Also please friend me on facebook to get updates : Jenna Bowles Deitsch

Thanks so much my dance sisters and brothers!!