Dance – A Lifelong Commitment


I was recently thinking about an experience I had in a ballet class when I was young, that had a huge impact on me. An “older woman” (or so I thought at the time, she was probably in her 30’s) was consulting with the teacher before the class began as to whether or not the class was right for her, explaining she used to be a dancer. The teacher stopped her abruptly and said, What do you mean you used to be a dancer? Once you’re a dancer, you’re always a dancer!!

Over the past 4 decades (yes, 4 decades!) I seemed to have managed the ever changing business of Bellydance pretty well, I think. I’ve even been fortunate enough to remain in great health and with no major injuries (knock on wood). I remember thinking as a young dancer, I’ll never stop dancing! I’ll dance till I fall over into my grave!  But with age, comes wisdom and many times over the years I’ve looked back and thought that that was naive and unrealistic to think I could dance forever. Then I hear the voice in my head…Once you’re a dancer, you’re always a dancer.

Of course over the years, I’ve changed the course of my career from nightclub dancer, to touring workshop instructor/performer and producer and studio owner. It’s a natural progression that comes with time and experience.

Dance, especially oriental dance, has been my life’s blood, my soul, my savior. Witty conversation, the art of writing and clever use of words has never been my strong suit. I’m basically a shy person. Well not really shy…quiet. I have a friend that calls it Zahra’s quiet gravitas. Haha! That really makes me laugh, but I guess that’s why I chose dance to express myself. I’m not one for a lot of words.

So many dancers these days are amazing at marketing and self promotion. I marvel at them all. Aside from style and specific focus, how can you come up with so many different ways to say you’re teaching a bellydance class? Apparently there are thousands! I’ve been trying to be better with words, but then I figured, why? Maybe there are still people out there that aren’t fooled by a lot of words. Maybe they love dance as much as I do.

I have to say, now that I’m in my fifties, it’s true, I’m never going to stop dancing. The passion I have for dance goes way beyond the physical beauty and agility of youth. Dance is in my heart and soul. I’ll stick with my quiet gravitas and keep dancing.

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