BOCA is a cool organization started in DC.
Dr. Sunyatta Amen is the director. She is amazing!! I had the privilege to be introduced to her a couple years ago at a seminar we taught together at a sacred feminine workshop. It was hosted by Freya in Orange County, California. That was a really enriching experience!
This year I am hosting my hostess.
" FREYA "
as part of VDP STUDIO's
5th annual Belly Con (Belly dance Consciousness Week).
Workshop: " Eclectic Belly Dance for Love"
Tuesday June 23rd 2009
See Belly Con details
INTERVIEW by Delilah:
D: How did you get involved with belly dance? Where do you draw experience?
F. I've Belly danced off and on since the age of nineteen, but life, college and guys kept me from doing it consistently. It wasn't until I was 30 that I started taking lessons regularly and then it was to relieve stress!! Stressed out and generally unhappy with my chosen career path, Belly Dance became a refuge, a safe and healthy place for me to rediscover my creativity and myself. I was amazed by the shift in my mood after dance class. It was like I'd been some place else and been very happy there. I was able to see myself as someone else beside this boring person that sat in an office and typed reports all...day...long. I met women that talked about themselves – and lived their lives - as powerful and secure individuals. They didn’t obsess on superficial things or things beyond their control… not their thighs, their age, or that they weren’t married. These women were doing something else; they were dancers. And it felt like home.
The motivation for me to Belly dance was the motivation that an explorer must feel… a call to discover that Sacred place I went to - where other realities were possible. Mesmera and Anahata were my first initiators to what I call Belly Trance. I drew my first experience from them – veteran, confident, highly respected teachers who took their craft seriously, professionally, respectfully, and yet playfully. They provided me with my first opportunities to be a part of a group-team-troupe. I experienced dancing with snakes. I learned to perform before audiences. I drew upon the wisdom of a multitude of other women… all of us searching for expanded identities, and creative, confident new selves.
D. Who are your mentors?
F. I gratefully name Mesmera and Anahata as my initial mentors. I learned much about Belly dance from them. As students, we were encouraged to individually interpret music and create our own dance. But we were also charged with the responsibility to show respect and reverence for Belly dance as an art – complete with its own history, traditions, and rituals.
I also name Princess Farhana and Jenna as mentors. They taught me to remain playful, to dance with joy and freedom. Suhaila taught me that Belly dance requires discipline and practice. And of course your influence is far reaching too Delilah.
I very recently asked the Universe for Mentors and she is giving them to me. I was provided the opportunity to become one of the founding members of Goddesses Unleashed a group of Black women who have been belly dancing and teaching collectively for over 50 years. I now have friends and teachers with whom I can share every aspect related to Belly dance; they're my sisters.
D. What is the use of the word "womyn" all about. LOVE too?
F. Clearly, the word “womyn” is our proclamation, the claiming of our separate identity - apart from “men”. It blends the essence of us, our womb – with our declaration of liberation. As womyn, we are united, self-sufficient, and free.
Love is often misinterpreted. It is applied to things that entertain us or beautify us at superficial levels. It becomes a word that is susceptible to whim and fancy and changing tastes. But true love is larger than that. True love resides within us and emanates from us. It reflects back upon us when we share and give and nurture. True love begins as a gift we give to ourselves… permission to love ourselves, forgive ourselves, protect ourselves, and express ourselves. It is only then that we can show love for others, and understand the love that is given to us by others and by the earth.
D. Sometimes people get nervous around the word "trance". What can you say about that?
F. The word trance is sometimes associated with popular magic or charlatans. Others associate it with drugs and psycho-active states. So people associate it with a trick or a lack of mental strength or discipline. But to those who dance, it is understood that trance refers to “being fully in the moment”. What a Buddhist might call Samadhi… what an athlete might refer to as “the Zone”… we might name “Trance”. It is that sense of wellness, of a non-manipulated and non-manipulative mindfulness of self.
D. Can you tell us any more about your upcoming workshop in Seattle?
F. My desire is to give womyn at any dance ability, a moment in time where they can freely reconnect with the feminine spirit that is nestled inside all womyn, that binds us together as sisters in dance and freely reveals its beauty time and time again. We’ll do this through meditation, blissful individual movement, belly dance inspired group movement and ritual.
D. Do they need to bring anything or prepare in any way?
F. Students will want to bring water and wear comfortable layered clothing. A yoga mat, if they have one, would be good for meditation, and some movement activities. Students should come to the space with the intent to spend time with self… and to share in movement and creativity with other divine dancers.
D. What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
F. The future requires us to be responsible to a world that is larger than us. It requires that we fully respect the present. It requires that we look upon the children not as little people, but as a gift from us to the future. And like any gift, the sweetness and kindness of the gift is not in the expense or the wrapping. The sweetness and kindness of the gift is in the intent and heartfelt energy and love that goes into it.
And so it is that my hope and dream for the future is that the children that follow us will have been a gift we give to the future that is full of love and kindness.
D. Thank you so much for your heart felt answers. We already have a couple dancers signed up!
F. My pleasure Delilah. I look very much forward to coming to Seattle and teaching in your studio!
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