Part 2 of our Belly-Off in review features Angela Alam, runner up in our Headliner category!
How long have you been dancing?
I was a late belly-bloomer. I began taking classes in 2006 at the age of 35 with Amira Nagi in Hurricane, WV.
Maybe I should give you some back story on how I got into this… It might be more interesting than just the static question and answer…or not. ha
I found belly dance sort of by accident. I had bariatric surgery in 2005 and ended up losing a total of 100lbs. My Dr was really after me to find a way to be active and maintain my weight loss. I found belly dance at an art fair in Charleston, WV. A group called “Rom Neve” performed, and to tell the truth I cant remember if they were part of the scheduled entertainment or just busking, but I was hooked on the music and the beautiful dancer that “moved like smoke” (to quote a band member). I set out on an internet search to see if she offered dance classes locally. I didnt find that particular dancer, but I found videos of Rachel Brice and “Fat Chance Bellydance” and finally information on a local teacher, Amira Nagi. I was hooked. I took classes for a few years with Amira and danced with in her student troupe. When Amira took a break from teaching, she turned her classes over to Jenna Brooke Swanson. (fyi, Jenna was the Rom Neve dancer…YAY)
I danced with Jenna’s student troupes in its many evolutions; Bella Dames and the Nitty Gritty Gypsies, Bal aBlonde (funny story) and Raqs Shakti. Jenna has since moved to the west coast to further her career and I have sort of been on my own since. I travel to as many workshops and intensives as financially possible. I have studied with Moria Chappel, Sherena and Tiffani Ahdia from Project Bellydance. I began as a fusion dancer and only recently discovered the more traditional forms of bellydance. Teachers of Oriental dance are scarce here in my little part of the world. I have made it my goal to learn all that I can so that I can share it with others some day.
Choreography to recorded music is my friend and I love the secure feeling it gives, however nothing compares to the power and energy that comes from live music and improvised dance. The planned and canned performance is fun, but its a dance recital and it is what it is. The power of improv and live music fills the room and is something…well, MORE. (sorry, I cant find better words to describe it)
I love that belly dance doesnt care that I’m not 5’9″ and 125. My belly sisters and I have been through lots of personal ups and downs. Dance lets me get it all out…good and bad.