One thing I always say is “I am not the luckiest person but I do have an abundance of good fortune.”
For instance, I have both the good fortune of being a natural dancer with great rhythm and growing up with my mother, who was an avid walker, which provided the good fortune of learning about the importance of fitness at a young age.
Additionally, I also had the good fortune of having a career that reflected my passions and interests: teaching both fitness and African dance classes for 15 years.
During that time, I worked for a multicultural arts center, which meant I also had the good fortune of taking dances around the world, including belly dance. Though I have my natural rhythm and practice learning dance steps, belly dance classes often left me mesmerized, but also confused. The dances are so beautiful, but I could barely understand how to effectively move my body to look like the amazing belly dancers in my community.
So, I decided that although I love belly dance and am naturally drawn to it, the style wasn’t for me because I couldn’t quite figure out how to make my body move in so many ways.
That’s how it remained, until about 2 years ago, when I decided to fully walk away from teaching dance and fitness. I was burned out and needed a break, yet, my love for dancing never quelled.
I decided during that same time that I was going to create an entirely new dance and fitness identity, which eventually led me to love belly dance and belly dance fitness, while confidently embracing my own self as a belly dancer.
One of the formats I fell in love with was SharQui. I discovered SharQui during the pandemic and found myself in 30-minute dance-like classes. I was hooked, even as I accepted that I had a lot to learn in order to look like a belly dancer. But the amazing thing about SharQui is that they were fitness classes, so there was no pressure to be perfect like a traditional dance class.
I ended up realizing that through these bite-size pieces taught by SharQui instructors, just like fitness instructors, I was able to figure out how to move my muscles and finally start mastering the moves, starting to look and feel like the belly dancers I had always admired.
In every class, I feel like a superstar bellydancer and leave feeling amazing and successful. Before I started taking SharQui classes, I found pure belly dance classes to be intimidating and advanced, but the SharQui format has helped me to better understand and enjoy belly dance classes – of all styles. This shift is because SharQui instructors are able to combine the simple way of breaking down steps, a characteristic of fitness, with teaching elegant and ancient belly dance steps.
I ended up incorporating this format into what I did in my African dance classes. The number one comment that people gave me after this shift was that the complex steps I taught were some of the few my students felt like they could actually understand.
I now see the difference learning SharQui can make, even for a person who doesn’t want to teach SharQui. It can help any type of instructor learn how to teach in a way that makes learning easy and accessible to even more people.
What good fortune bellydancers have – to have a format created by a bellydancer and fitness professional that can help them become even better dance teachers themselves and get more belly dance out in the world!