Sunday, August 5, 2012
Why does a Western girl Belly Dance?
My name is Atesh - a name given to me by a Turkish friend, Fikri, when he first saw me perform. He said it meant "FIRE." I loved the name and it has come to mean much more to me than my birth name, Diane. Raised by a mother who was a professional ballet dancer, and was part of the famous modern dance revolution emanating from New York, I was greatly influenced by her as she had been by her teacher, Martha Graham. Not only was my mother a performer but also a fine seamstress and costume designer. As a young girl growing up in West Hollywood, my health was not good and she taught me some ballet to help strengthen my body. It always made me feel better to be dancing, and sometimes I would take yards of fabric from her sewing table and wrap myself up and run around the house twirling and moving quickly to avoid running into furniture -- our house was quite small. I started feeling stronger and healthier and attributed it all to dance. It always lifted my spirits too and made me feel good about myself.
Not liking the rigidity and discipline of ballet, I started experimenting with other types of dance outside of the home. I took jazz, Hawaiian and tap. Nothing felt as good though as the freedom with dance I had experienced in our home in my younger years. Once I moved to Orange County I started a family and with 2 children under tow, I kept up with dance classes. Soon I discovered Belly Dance and with one class I was hooked. The beauty, spirit, richness, individuality, femininity, sensuality, spirituality, freedom, passion and compassion expressed by this dance was absolutely amazing - I could feel the deep roots embedded in Middle Eastern history and appreciated the historical nature of this dance. I soon became a dedicated Belly Dancer.
Now as a Belly Dance teacher, choreographer, and costume designer, I find that not only does this dance continue to feed my spirit and provide me with strength, but it also provides these benefits to my students. The incredible exercise, body acceptance and confidence given along with the ability to accomplish from beginning to advanced movements and techniques is very exciting and rewarding. I take people, from every profession imaginable, and turn them into gorgeous expressionistic Belly Dancers, most with absolutely no previous dance experience! Imagine shimmying your hips to the beat of a dumbek, using every part of your body, perhaps balancing a sword on your head and wrapped in luxurious fabrics of chiffon or silk, laden with coins or beads/jewels. Please view my class schedule to experience the excitement and benefits of Belly Dancing. Classes are suitable for teenagers and adults of all ages. Thank you.... ATESH!