It’s the little things…

It is always the little things in life that I appreciate ever so much. The smell of the coffee fresh brewed in the morning, a crisp blue sky on a chilly day, or the joy of walking in after work to my husband and our cats. 🙂

And it is the little things that you notice when you teach a different group of students or perform in a non bellydance, dance event. Last week, our studio held its Spring Showcase and my students performed their group choreography, and I performed a solo. (I think my students did an amazing job, of course!) I performed with double veils, a favorite of mine, and every time I performed a particular trick in my number, the audience (mostly ball room dancers or enthusiasts) clapped. It was a lovely polite clap. As you can imagine zagareeting or ulalating is not really in vogue at other dance performances, but this clapping on difficult turns or tricks, was inspiring and encouraging.

I also taught at Point State Park University as part of their World Dance Festival week. The students were majoring in jazz, modern, and ballet and were all extremely talented. We ran through the basics of bellydance and even touched on zilling (another favorite of mine)! The class was inspiring to me and incredibly invigorating. I was honored to be instructing such talented individuals and at the end of it, each student personally came up and thanked me for the class. Seriously, every single one said thank you, personally to me. I imagine this is a tradition at the school, but that made it no less lovely.

So yes, these little traditions, the clapping at a difficult moment, and the personalized thanks are the little things that I hope to bring with me to the next event!

Teaching at Point State Park University
Teaching at Point State Park University






Change your dance. Change your life!

Everyone needs a mentor. We all need someone to guide us and help us realize what our fullest potential is with the added comfort of knowing that our mentor is sincerely interested in our personal development and success.

For almost a year now, I have been mentoring with Lisa Zahiya, bellydancer extraordinaire from Asheville, NC, and am so glad that I have! Last year, right around this time, I had my own classes, was hosting a myriad of events around town, and was an OK dancer. I was fluent in most props by now but perhaps clung to them a wee bit too desperately. On the outside, I knew that I was respected in my community, but I knew that I was not where I wanted to be in my dance career.

Enter Lisa! I hosted Lisa Zahiya last year for a series of workshops and a gala show. Her teaching style captured my attention and I knew that I wanted to try to create a class atmosphere like hers. Not to bore you with the details, but Lisa created homework for me that made me incredibly accountable to her and myself.

Lisa Zahiya teaches
Lisa Zahiya teaches

What kind of homework do you ask? Well, with my personal dance practice, at first, I had to drill my layers: hip rocks, with a hip movement overlayed with an arm path of my choice. Now take the same drill and use your obliques to initiate the hip rocks. Now add a chest movement in there. And so on, and so on. And I had homework for each of the areas of weakness I had identified. Hard stuff…but amazing. Even as I am typing this, I am looking over some of those first assignments and realizing I need to do them a bit more!

We reviewed videos of my performances and dance practices, we set goals both personal and with my business, and we checked in often to see how it was going. Lately, I have been assigned that very difficult task of dancing without props! Nooooooooo!!!!

Noooooo!!!! I need my props!
Noooooo!!!! I need my props!

But it is a good assignment, one that I need desperately and one that I am already working on and loving!

I can tell you this, the last piece of planning homework, my own personal Bellydance State of the Union, was an eye opener! Not only, I have I met my business goals already for 2013, but I can actually see a change in my dancing. More than myself seeing the change, others have told me the same, that my dancing has evolved. Needless to say, I am so very grateful and so very happy. It has been a lot of hard work, but it has been an enjoyable journey!

Janim dancing at a wedding 2012
Janim dancing at a wedding 2012

The even more amazing repercussion has been the change in myself when in my day job. I am a landscape architect by trade. I love what I do, but over the past year of mentoring, I have gained more confidence and joy in my work than I had before.

HipCurve in the news…


Hip Curve Bellydance

A recent article by the Examiner…enjoy!

“Janim and Mehira are Cerified Level 1instructors who are experiencing great reviews from students on class structure and are even adding live musicians to their classes,” Sherena says of graduates of her program.

Questions to ponder

I love bellydancing. No, let me rephrase that…I really, really love bellydancing! I love teaching it, performing it, choreographing it, well, I think you get the idea! I was recently asked to elaborate just a bit on the above by answering a few questions about myself. So here we go!

SHAZAM! Janim balancing a sword!


1. How long have you been dancing and why out of all dance forms did you choose bellydance? Excellent question! I have been bellydancing for over a decade. I have been performing and teaching for about 4 years now. I recently pursued my certification in the HipCurve Bellydance Program Level 1 (already registered for Level 2 in the summer!) to strengthen my instructional skills and feel ready to take on the next 10 years! I first chose bellydance because it looked exciting, and I was extremely curious! Needless to say, I fell in love with it instantly!

2. What are some of the benefits of bellydance? Empowerment, self confidence, a healthier body image to name a few. There are also physical benefits as this is a very accessible dance form that is typically low impact but gets you moving. I would love to mention though that it is simply F-U-N! How often do we get to do something  that is fun and totally for ourselves? Not often enough, I say, so for this one hour a week that you give to yourself in bellydance you can dance around and feel great about YOU!!!

3. What words of encouragement do you have for those who are curious about bellydance? Go for it!!! Try a class, try ten classes, and smile! If a move is hard, well, that is alright, smile, keep your body loose and relaxed and I guarantee within no time, you will find yourself in the move. Bring your friends to class. That is how I got started! My friend and I strolled on in and always had a giggle watching each other try to learn to shimmy or play our finger cymbals.

Janim dancing at a wedding 2012
Janim dancing at a wedding 2012

4.What IS bellydance? I think this may be a difficult question to answer as many people have nefarious images conjured when bellydance is mentioned. Bellydance is a dance form that originated in the womens’ tents. Women danced for each other to pass the time. (Even today, go out on a dance floor and watch the women dance around each other in a circle…LOL). I have a small suspicion that we woman in the west are not as comfortable with our bodies as we think, and  perhaps we feel awkward with enlarged hip movements, shimmies, and  the costuming that exposes are beautiful middles. But we should remember that bellydance makes everyone look beautiful since these are moves that flow with our form, that emanate from the inside to the out.

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