Name: Alexis Chase (Lexie for short)
Profession: Senior Business Analyst
Hobbies: Reading, writing, knitting, sewing, running, dancing, meditation, cooking
How long have you been studying bellydance: 4 months
When did you first see bellydance? What were your first impressions?
This is a little embarrassing, but I used to watch “I Dream of Jeannie” on Nick at Nite with my dad and that was my first exposure to belly dancing. As a wee little kid, I thought it as just a fun way to shake all your parts and look pretty doing it.
What motivated you to finally take your first bellydance class?
I’d been threatening to take classes with Shay for many years, but always claimed I was too busy. The truth was, I was not comfortable in my own skin and I let it hold me back (don’t do this, ladies!). Finally though, I decided pull the trigger and now I am wishing I hadn’t waited so long. One of my best decisions of 2011!
What was your first class like?
It was amazing! I liken it to the runner’s high I had after finishing my first race. Divine elation.
In what ways do you think you have changed or benefited as a result of taking bellydance classes?
I’m definitely more in touch with my body. I feel more sensual and more feminine than I have in a long time. Society has taught us to be ashamed of our bodies; belly dancing has taught me to revel in what my body can do and the positive energy it can exude simply by moving and making a (girly) ruckus. Also, dancing with such wonderful women on a weekly basis has changed my view of “strangers” – you can’t really be strangers when you are embarrassed/unsure/goofy/sweating/laughing together!
What is your favorite move or concept you have learned so far and why?
Can I say “all of them?” I suppose if I had to pick, Arabic is my favorite. Though Taxeem is coming in close, since I’m starting to get the hang of it.
Any advice for other students who are just starting out?
Don’t quit! Keep going to class and know that things will come together as they should. Also, buy the Baladi Unplugged song (actually, buy the whole Helm album, it’s amazing bath/meditation music!) and while you are waiting in rush hour traffic, practice your triples. Do this without zills though, especially if you have a manual transmission. I may have learned this the hard way…
Any other thoughts to share?
We are really lucky to have Shay as our instructor. She’s not only one of the most genuine people I’ve met, but she is also so laid back and really embodies the improvisational quality of tribal belly dance. I also take a ballet class, and while I do enjoy it, it is incredibly technical in nature; everything must be just-so. It makes me love my time in the studio with Shay that much more. I feel free to make mistakes and to laugh at myself and know that even if what I do isn’t perfect, it’s still beautiful in that I’m not standing still.
Lexie, thanks so much for taking the time to hop into the spotlight!