As classes came to an end this term (term 1 2012) one of my students said something which made me realise that I have now been officially teaching belly dance for 9 years! Time flies when you are having fun! It got me thinking about how I came to belly dance and then teach.
I started belly dancing when I was all of 19 years old back in 1995 (you do the math!). The University I was attending in Adelaide held a short course and as I have an ‘unfashionable’ 1950’s figure of slim upper body, tiny waist, and curvy hips, I thought “with my hips, why not?” so I did. Did it all come naturally to me when I first started? Definitely not! There was a BIG learning curve involved, largely in using my hands, arms and stomach. But I found that I did have a natural ability moving my hips and isolating my upper from lower body. This was a good start! In fact I found through learning how to move my hips, I was able to have a better general posture.
Through hard work, practice and study, and getting help from different teachers, over the years I was gradually able to work on the not so easy parts and become comfortable with them. Funnily enough, it was through this struggle that I learnt how to teach. There were some moves that were only demonstrated and not explained. So I looked at how to break these down into simple steps, building up into the faster more complicated version. When I was given the honour of choreographing several dance sequences for a show (“The Desert Song”with the Marie Clarke Singers of Tea Tree Gully), I needed to be able explain what I was doing with my body to the group of dancers needing to learn. To my surprise, they really loved the way I explained the moves and broke it down, at the same time giving them encouragement and confidence in their ability.
That wonderful troupe of dancers gave me the confidence needed to start my own belly dance school. I had moved interstate to Melbourne, so after seeking advice and training from physiotherapists on correct warm ups, cool downs and alternative moves for injuries or arthritic joints, I did exactly that! The result is as you know it: www.happyhipsbellydance.com
Many, many years later, I feel extremely privileged to have had the chance to share my passion and joy with others. I love the look on a person’s face when they can do a move they never thought they could! And I especially love the increasing confidence shown in women expressing how the female form is beautiful in all its shapes, curves and wobbly bits!
Last year I also took bellydance to the world by firstly giving free belly dance eClasses and offering a chance in How to Learn Belly Dance Online, so now I am teaching people all around the world! I love it!
Thanks to all those wonderful women who have made it possible for me to call myself a “teacher”.
“You are a wonderful teacher with a beautiful, inclusive manner (not to mention a wonderful dancer)!”
Cheers – Leanne from Belgrave