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Benefits of Belly Dance: How I Got Over My Eating Disorder and Learned to Love My Body

I felt inspired to write this after attending the Northwest Blues Recess Massive last weekend. I was invited to come participate in the event and teach three belly dance workshops – Belly Dance Fast Moves, Belly Dance Slow Moves, and Belly Dance Combinations for Duets. I taught one of those workshops on a cliff overlooking a quarry. It was beautiful, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of that recess.

I was in awe at the love radiating out of that community and the comfort that most everyone had with their bodies. They demonstrated no shame with the ways their bodies looked and moved, both on and off the dance floor. After several discussions about it, I realized that this self-acceptance was not automatic. For most, this came to them after years of blues dancing and building a community that embraced each as they were.

It got me to thinking about my journey to loving my body and the affect that belly dance and its community has had on me. I can only speak to my own experience. Here’s some of what I’ve been working with:

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Classical Yoga Monday Nights

Join me Monday nights at the MotherHeart Studio for my Classical Yoga Class.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Classical Yoga style, I would highly recommend giving the style a try. It is a more holistic approach to the nourishment of the body, mind, and spirit than some other yoga styles available. I have spent years in Vinyansa and Ashtanga Yoga classes. I have also spent a number of years focusing on the meditative and pranayama side of yoga. I found my home in Classical Yoga. It is the perfect combination of all of those. It is a physical practice, a breath practice, a mental discipline, and a path to the highest Self.

I have been trained to lead classes that fit each students and their needs. Every class invites students to strengthen, to expand, and to release. Classes are designed to be accessible to people of many fitness levels, even yoga beginners. Additionally, as a dancer I can help other dancers access tools available in yoga that will help them improve their art better than with dance practice alone.

Classes are every Monday from 7:30-9:00. Drop in classes are $12 and class cards are available for lower rates.

I hope to see you there.

MotherHeart Studio

530 E Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125

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The seasons are changing and new life is coming back to the city. We had a wonderful collection of performances at the Habiba Studio Showcase last weekend. P.U.R.E. Philadelphia is gearing up for a performance in the Pride Parade (with a choreography that Kim Infinity and I birthed together). I’m completing my 200 hour yoga teacher training. I’m gearing up and getting ready for the Theatrical Bellydance Conference followed by the Carvinal de Resistance takeover of  Wild Goose. Best of all of these, the myrtle in front of our house sprouted new leaves overnight! We thought it had died and were getting ready to dig it up to replace it. It’s such a pretty tree, so I’m glad that it survived that brutal winter.

With all of these wonderful events comes other changes. The weekly belly dance class at MotherHeart Studio in Fishtown, Philadelphia will be going out with a bang this next Monday. If you are free, come to class Memorial Day from 7:30-9:00pm. I promise you it will be worth it.

In its place, I will be teaching a Classical Yoga Class on Mondays from 7:30-9:00pm starting June 2nd. If you are not familiar with classical yoga, I highly recommend that you go to a class (or two or twenty). You are likely going to love it.

If you haven’t made it to one of my dance classes yet, don’t be sad. Starting in July, I’ll be teaching a belly dance and yoga workshop one Saturday a month in the MotherHeart space. Stay tuned for more info. 😉

MotherHeart Studio

530 East Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125


Class Moving to Mondays Starting March 31st

That’s right! This is the last week for the Thursday night Belly Dance Release class at MotherHeart Studio. Starting next March 31st Belly Dance Release will be on Mondays from 7:30pm-9:00pm (15 minutes of more dancing!). Classes are still at the same great price – $12 for a drop in, less if you use your MotherHeart Class Card, and even cheaper still if you get yourself a Groupon!

Those of you who have been attending the class: this week we will be working with a short, cute, and snakey choreography. We will work on spine flexibility, core strength, and shoulder relaxation. Get ready to play with the slinkier side of belly dance!

For those of you who haven’t privileged us with your beautiful faces: there is no time like the present! No experience necessary!

See you in class!


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Upcoming Performance: 2nd Annual Belly Dancers Fight for Air

You need to be at Layaly Cafe (7546 Haverford Ave, Philadelphia, PA) at 5:00pm on Sunday, March 9th!


Well, if you must have a reason, that’s when Layaly Cafe is hosting a fundraiser hafla to benefit the American Lung Association. 19 belly dancers from the Philadelphia region will be performing in hopes that you will be there to be well fed and entertained while giving money to a good cause.

Visit the event’s Facebook page for more information.

I hope to see you there!

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New Class at MotherHeart Studio in Fishtown, Philadelphia!

Every Thursday at 7:30pm starting January 23rd, I will be teaching a class at the MotherHeart Studio in Fishtown, an up-and-coming neighborhood in Philadelphia. The studio is located across the street from the bars Krafwork and Lloyd’s Whiskey Bar,  a short walk or ride on the 15 bus from the Girard stop on the Market-Frankford El.

Each class will cover belly dance technique, stylization, and history through a series of short choreographies. Begin 2014 with a more loving relationship with your body; you are worthy of attention and care! Can’t wait to see you there!


Free Mini-Class at the MotherHeart Wellness Day

This Saturday, December 14th at 4:30 I will be leading a FREE 30-minute mini class at the MotherHeart Wellness Day. Expect to see regular belly dance classes again at MotherHeart starting in 2014. Keep checking in here or contact me for updated information.


Performance from the 1st Annual P.U.R.E. Conference

This is a video from my performance at Jebon this summer in NYC, as part ofthe 1st Annual P.U.R.E. Conference. This posting has been long overdue. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 🙂


P.U.R.E. Philly’s Next Performance

This has been a whirlwind of a summer! It started with the 1st Annual P.U.R.E. Conference in July (which was wooooonderful), followed by a slew of rehearsals and preview performances for the Carnival de Resistance (which starts in a week!).  This summer has been filled with fun of grilling, gardening, and visiting friends around the country. Classes, unfortunately, have been on a temporary hiatus while I recover from a foot injury. I bruised some bones and tore a tendon while dancing in shoes that were a half size too small (ouch). My podiatrist finally gave me the go-ahead yesterday to get out of the cam-boot after 7 weeks of treatment, and I have at least another few weeks before I’ll be able to teach again. It’s not an experience that I recommend. Always wear shoes that fit you.

The P.U.R.E. Philly girls and I have been busy lately preparing for the Mount Airy Village Fair this Sunday. We will be dancing from 1:45pm until 2:15 (right after the pie-eating contest and the performance by Unidos da Filadelfia). I encourage you to stop by if you are in the area. I promise an exciting and refreshing performance from us all!


Classes Next Week!

Two exciting classes coming up! Both classes will center around the figure 8 shape.

On Thursday, July 25th from 8:30pm to 10:00pm I’ll be teaching an all-levels belly dance class at Chadds Ford Bikram. $20 drop in.

The very next day, Friday, July 26th from 6:30pm to 8:00pm I’ll be leading a class at MotherHeart Studio at their brand new location at 530 E Girard Ave in Philly. All week, MotherHeart is celebrating their reopening by holding pay what you wish classes, this belly dance class included. Come see the new studio!

I hope to see you there!

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