Name: Jeni Bonanno
Profession: Legal Assistant/Paralegal
Hobbies: Movies, tattoos, art, music, fashion, traveling, shopping, and bellydancing
When did you first see bellydance? What were your first impressions?
I first saw it on TV and thought it was beautiful and sensual.
What motivated you to finally take your first bellydance class?
I saw a listing on My Ballard blog for a bellydance class and thought that it would be a fun and challenging thing to try…. and it certainly is challenging!
What was your first class like?
I was surprised by how difficult it was. Although the first classes I took weren’t ATS classes, I enjoyed the challenge of trying something new and took the classes for two sessions. I wanted to continue to learn bellydancing, but not with the group I was with. After doing some searching online, I came across Shay’s class and ATS, and although it’s often frustrating not to be able to do the moves correctly, I really enjoy the challenge, the sense of community in the class, the beautiful clothes and jewelry, and of course, the great teacher!
In what ways do you think you have changed or benefited as a result of taking bellydance classes?
Like many other women, I’ve spent a lifetime battling my weight and the societal pressures to be thin; bellydance has changed my way of thinking about my body. It’s wonderful to be involved in something that celebrates women of all shapes and sizes, and to be surrounded by beautiful women who exude strength and confidence in themselves.
Any advice for other students who are just starting out?
[Shay’s] advice not to compare ourselves to others in the class is so important! It’s so easy to look around the room and wonder why someone else can do a particular move and you can’t…..you have to always remind yourself that everyone learns at a different pace and to just keep practicing.
Any other thoughts to share?
It’s been great to meet so many women, to spend time chatting and laughing while learning this dance. I’m looking forward to continuing to learn and maybe to perform in public.