Sunday, October 25, 2009

Free Prenatal/Postpartum Dance for Birth Bellydance Class, Nov 2

I just finished a fabulous weekend working toward my certification as a Dancing for Birth dance class instructor!!! I feel so empowered by this experience... the collective, experiential knowledge of 11 doulas and a midwife at my fingertips, as well as the well-thought out training of Dancing for Birth founder Stephanie Larson. I learned so much that I will take into my own birthing experience! And so much that I can't wait to share with other women through dance!

One of the last steps towards full certification is to offer a free class, so that's what I'll be doing next Monday, Nov 2, at the Abyssinian Dance Center in Burien (7 to 8pm). My class will follow the Dancing for Birth format, incorporate bellydance, and share information on how the various movements learned in class can empower birthing women to make their birth experience more positive. So please pass the word along to anyone you think might be interested!!! I need at least 3 participants :)

For more information, please feel free to email me or visit the Aby Studio website: or
Info about the Dancing for Birth class format can be found at

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Just took the first half of my Dancing For Birth training workshop today. It was incredible! It was so empowering to be gaining so much knowledge about the physiology of birth and how dance can play such a vital role in reducing pain and increasing a more heathful delivery and postpartum recovery.

On Monday, the postcard ad came to the Aby Dance Center where I teach belly dance. By Tuesday, I was scrambling to free up my weekend for it, and digging as deep as possible to try and find the finances for it. Wednesday, I began to question myself. Was this just another crazy spur of the moment want? Something that I needed only now that I had seen it? Should I give up the struggle and pretend I'd never heard about it? Thursday afternoon, a few more puzzle pieces fell into place which made the weekend more financially viable and I registered!

This morning, I found myself in the company of nine other women, all whom are either doulas or midwives ... one dance studio owner... one gal is here all the way from Venezuela. A few have taken some bellydance or other dance forms. Some of them will incorporate this knowledge into their doula or midwifery practice. Some of them will go on to certification as Dancing for Birth instructors and will start offering Dancing for Birth casses. Having them all there, with their immense breadth of knowledge, was the icing on the cake in addition to Setphanie and her knowledge.

After today, I am reassured of my own research into how bellydance movements help for a better birth. All of my own fears of what I can and can't do as I continue to perform and teach intermediate and advanced bellydance have been vanquished. I have so much more incredible information to add to my prenatal/postpartum bellydance classes. Information that no woman should be without... knowledge that used to be common... or which is there in our bodies if we could just listen to them. I am inspired and hope to eventually offer Dancing for Birth classes in addition to my prenatal/postpartum bellydance class... and who knows where else this path leads!

My affirmation for the weekend, created by drawing two random separate cards from a pile and then contemplating how I might put together an affirmation with them:

I will continue to let bliss inform my actions.

... can't wait for tomorrow's workshop!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Prenatal/Postpartum Bellydance with Mirabai

In case you're not quite sure if that's a baby bump or not (this pic was taken at 4 months ... I'm now nearly 6 months along!), yep, I'm preggers :)

Roo and I are so excited to be welcoming our first child into this world in early February.

In order to be safe, I did some research to discover just what I could and couldn't do during pregnancy... come to think of it... I've been interested in this topic for quite some time and have been collecting research since 2007 when I was asked to lead a bellydance class for a baby shower! Now that I have a fabulous studio to teach out of, and feel like I've found trustworthy research and training, I am offering a prenatal/postpartum bellydance class. Please pass the word along!!


Do something fun, safe and sexy for your prenatal or postpartum workout! Take a Bellydance course designed especially for new moms and moms-to-be! I'm six months pregnant and would love to lead you in this empowering, healthful dance journey. Please join me for prenatal/postpartum bellydance classes at the cozy, friendly Abyssinian Dance Center.

In class, we'll strengthen and prepare our bodies for childbirth and postpartum recovery. Class will consist of a gentle cardio and yoga warm-up and then move onto strengthening exercises proven to help ease some women through labor and quicken recovery. Then we'll move onto the bellydance portion of the class where we'll learn and practice safe prenatal bellydance movements. We'll end with a gentle cool down. Throughout the course, I'll share what I know of the movements we practice, such as their origination and purpose in birthing.

For your peace of mind, in addition to having conducted personal research into which dance movements are appropriate and inappropriate for pregnant women, I am a Dancing for Birth certified instructor. I am also a Tamalyn Dallal certified belly dance instructor. I have 20 years of experience as a professional dancer, instructor and student of bellydance, ballet, lyrical jazz and tap. I also hold a masters in fine arts and have taught college courses for nearly ten years. I love to teach!

See you there!

Congrats Angelica!

Just a little note to announce that one of my private students, Angelica Van Auken, won the UMMI talent competition this past weekend with the bellydance choreography we've been working on for the past several months! She didn't have a moment to let her hair down between competition categories, so she looked like an elegant Princess Grace with her hair swooped up and perfectly coifed as she shook out those shimmies!

Congrats, Angelica!!

Bellydancing in Victoria BC

Early October 9th, Lisa Yasmeen and I boarded the Victoria Clipper and headed off for a long awaited weekend in BC with Bozenka and Nath Keo. We knew it was going to be a fabulous weekend, but we had yet to discover how truly amazing and inspiring it would be.

Friday was casual and welcoming... and invigorating. After checking into the Queen Victoria, Lisa and I met up with Nath, Yannick, and the fabulous Bozenka. Yannick had planned a bit of site seeing for us, and so we drove about the island, stopping at the Mount Douglas lookout to get a breathtaking view of the island. Next we were off, touring through the ritzy Oak Bay and Upland neighborhoods. And finally stopping by the University to visit the university bunnies... bunny farm or university? With all those silly wabbits, it was hard to tell! Later that evening we enjoyed some delicious food, drink, and dessert at Moxie's with a number of folks who would be participating in the weekend workshops and show. Lisa, Bozenka, and I were still super stuffed from fish and chips from Barb's Place down on the Fisherman's Wharf, so we split a salad three ways... and then all had room for our very own desserts!!! And thank goodness we had the smarts for that, because those desserts were amazing.

Saturday, Bozenka gave two great workshops on rhythms and combinations. I was saving energy for my performance that evening, and whatever else was to come that night, so I sat at the sidelines and took notes mostly. Sometimes I think it's better to sit out and take notes at workshops... then I have something to guide my memory when I try to recap everything I've learned. On the other hand, sitting on the sidelines, you miss out on working the new vocabulary into your own muscle memory.

Saturday evening's show was a dream come true. The McPhereson Theatre was GORGEOUS. Every aspect of the theatre seemed to be finished, polished, and in good care. It was a special experience and honor to be performing in the ornate neo-baroque style auditorium, all decked out in lush velvet seating and curtains. D-r-e-a-m-y. Thank you, Nath!

Sunday, Bozenka gave another fabulous workshop. I was enthralled with her warmups, teaching technique, and workshop content.

Bozenka is and has been among my top 5 favorite and inspirational contemporary performers... I don't know that I need to say much more about how incredible this weekend was and what it meant. Perhaps just this, that I came home feeling inspired in a way that I have not been in so long, and feeling positive about continuing to make this dance an important part of my life.

September Adventures

This past September, Roo and I headed out East to visit family and friends. At a little over four months preggers, I was a bit worried about travel, but I quickly discovered it's no biggy.

I was also a bit worried about the workshops I had scheduled in Blacksburg, VA, and Charleston, NC. I wondered if I would still feel as awful as I was feeling at two and three months along. And I wondered if I would run out of energy while teaching a 2-hour workshop. I was elated to discover that all those odd aversions did fade away at about the four-month mark, and that I was still strong and agile enough to keep everyone in class engaged.

So in addition to enjoying time spent in York, Blacksburg, and Durham with friends and family... I had a fabulous time with students in both Fan Fusion workshops in Blacksburg and Charleston... even outlasting and outspinning some of my students ;) Go preggie bellydancers!

After the workshop in Charleston, Roo and I had an amazing meal at the High Cotton, a great stay at the Andrew Pinckney Inn, and contemplated our next visit to this enchanting region.