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DTBD Student Spotlight – Jenna

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Name:  Jenna (Brenna Glenna*)
Age: 32
Bellydance Student of Deep Roots Dance Belly DanceProfession:  Speech-Language Pathologist
Hobbies:  tribal bellydance addict, singer, musical theater aficionado, amateur foodie, coffee fiend, snowboarder, shoe-hunter, and rabid roller derby fan
How long have you been studying bellydance: First class and first attempted shimmy: January 2010

When did you first see bellydance? What were your first impressions?

To be honest, I had never been particularly interested in bellydance, it conjured images of slinky veiled olive-skinned beauties in
outrageously bespangled bedlah sets. As much as I enjoy ridiculous amounts of sparkle (and I do), my previous notions of bellydance were,
while impressive, not for me. Then a friend encouraged me to study ATS. That first YouTube video of Nomaditude completely changed my mind
about bellydance, as well as my thoughts about my potential to participate. It was interesting and beautiful and extraordinary and also approachable!

What motivated you to finally take your first bellydance class?

I have always loved taking dance classes as a fun way to stay active, and I started researching tribal style bellydance over the long, dark winter of 2010 while recovering from a snowboarding injury. I was more and more intrigued by what I learned; all I had to do was wait for the big purple cast to come off my arm and I was ready to give it a try!

Bellydance Student of Deep Roots Dance Belly Dance
What was your first class like? 
Shay was welcoming, as was the rest of the class (from the other newbies to more experienced). The moves were challenging but fun, and while the thought of actually being able to coordinate them WITH finger cymbals (you have GOT to be kidding me, Shay!) and lofty ideas of performing someday (you mean IMPROV!?! *gasp*)  were both a far distant glimmer, the class was so energizing, I couldn’t wait to come back! 

In what ways do you think you have changed or benefited as a result of taking bellydance classes? 

I feel very fortunate for all the wonderful people I have met and friends I have made thus far in my dance journey; the Seattle
bellydance community has been wonderfully supportive and encouraging to this baby dancer. Also, I have always participated in performing arts of one kind or another, and bellydance has given me a place to focus my artistic energy, at a time when I was very much lacking other avenues of expression.

What is your favorite move or concept you have learned so far and why?
I absolutely love the foundational concept of having a common dance language that allows for the creation of exquisite improvisation. There is such a magic that is created in the dance circle when the communication of unique dancers takes on a life of its own.

Any advice for other students who are just starting out? 
Bellydance Student of Deep Roots Dance Belly Dance

Yes, your body doesn’t always know what you want of it. Yes, you have a gimpy (enter limb here). Yes, that elusive shimmy . . . need I say more. Yes, there are divots in my carpet from the flying finger cymbals of frustration. BUT, Shay was right, it really does get better, and more fun, and more interesting, and more inspiring!! Enjoy the ride!!

And, if you are like me and you LOVE you some information . . . use your resources! Shay is a veritable wealth of information on this dance form regarding matters big and small; dancers new and experienced are often willing and eager to share their knowledge and experiences, too; and thank you Google and YouTube – there information everywhere if you are willing to look!

Thanks, Jenna, for sharing your thoughts and experiences!

If you have been a student of mine in the past (or in a workshop, even) and would like to be included in the student spotlight, please e-mail me for more information.  Sharing our stories is a great way to inspire one another and deepen our connection as a community!

*a running gag between Jenna and I about how when I was learning her name in class, there were two other students with the names Brenna and Glenna. I joked that in learning her name, I would just call her all three until I figured out which one she would answer to. ­čÖé

Follow Shay:

Shay Moore is the director and primary instructor at Deep Roots Dance in Seattle, WA. She loves writing, movies, costuming, knitting, cooking, and bellydance to the moon and back again; and loves her amazing husband and doggies even more than that.

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