I am not as talented as you think!
The Journey from Struggle to Mastery: My Dance Story
Have you ever wondered if you were born with a natural talent for something or if hard work is the key to success? This question has echoed in my mind as I reflect on my own journey in belly dance.
Some comments I received along the way made it difficult for me to process my own progress. Remarks like, "Oh, she has those birthing Greek hips," suggested that my success was attributed to my natural physique rather than the hard work I put in. Another common phrase was, "Oh, she's just talented." However, the reality was far from it.
When I began my belly dance journey, I couldn't even identify the downbeat in the music, let alone coordinate my arms and legs. My initial classes were challenging, with instructors who either overlooked my struggles or provided minimal to almost no guidance. I faced physical pain and even quit classes due to a lack of both attention and proper technique breakdown.
The turning point came when I joined a class recommended by a renowned instructor. Despite expressing my uncertainty about the advanced nature of the class, I dove in with determination. However, instead of support, I faced public shaming for my bad form. (Things the intructor expressed with frustration: Why are your hands like this? Who is your teacher? Who sent you here? -It was actually his boss lol) Tears flowed, and I found myself trapped in the dressing room feeling so embarrassed. I also did not want the owner to see me, I did not want to put her on the spot for sending me to this instructor's class.
Despite the heartache, my love for this art persisted. I yearned for quality instruction and found it through the guidance of exceptional teachers like Mimi Fontana, Irina Bellyrina who also introduced me to the Salimpour School / Salimpour format, and Dalia Carella. Their mentorship and the ability to break down movements transformed my learning experience.
Let me reiterate: I am not inherently talented. I have dedicated countless hours to drilling and I still do and will continue on my journey of relentless practice. Finger cymbals, hip isolations, layering, intricate steps, musicality and stage presence were not effortless for me – they required dedication and persistence.
The comment about my "birthing Greek hips" was actually a testament to the hard work behind the scenes. The Ghawazee Shimmy Combo (*ATS-American Tribal Style) didn't come naturally; it was the result of hours of practice to make it appear effortless.
So, what's the takeaway? When you admire a dancer, don't assume their journey was effortless. Behind every captivating performance is a story of hard work, struggles, and perseverance. If you find yourself grappling with challenges, remember that you are not alone. Embrace the journey, put in the work consistently, and success will follow.
Your not-so-naturally-talented, transformed-into-talented Belly Dance Teacher 😁
Ok now back to work now!
*I no longer use the term tribal for this dance. You will mainly see me using the terms:
Global Fusion / Fusion Belly Dance or Fat Chance Belly Dance Style(R)