My first bellydance class was during my freshman year of college at Cornell University in upstate New York. I joined this class because I thought it would make me seem cool, but oh, how much I would learn on the journey.
My college instructor, June, taught the Bellydance Physical Education class and specialized in Turkish Style. In class we learned the basic movements: hip circles, figure eights, shimmies. She also taught us a short choreography that we were able to perform for friends at the end of the semester.
Upon graduation, I moved from New York to Maryland. In search of a bellydance teacher, I found Artemis (Artie) Mourat. At the time, I didn’t know that Artie and June were dance buddies from way back. Technically, June had been Artemis’s student; and since I was June’s student first, I was Artemis’s granddaughter in dance. I ended up studying with Artie for 10 years. I took her Totally Turkish Intensive, Turkey Egypt Comparison workshop, and several Totally Turkish follow-ups; in addition to 10 years of weekly classes.
I danced thru my pregnancy with my son, Sammy. The ladies I danced with weekly were kind, helpful and nurturing during my pregnancy. They became Sammy’s Aunties in Dance. The first few bellydance shows Sammy went to, he would be wide-eyed and awake, until he heard the 9/8 rhythm. (The 9/8 rhythm was the one I danced to most frequently during my pregnancy.). When the 9/8 started, he would settle and fall asleep. Sammy was a terrible sleeper and anything that calmed him enough to sleep was amazing to me!
And when Sammy was two, we moved back home to Ohio. What I learned during the transition home, is that bellydance brings me immense joy! It calms my soul and brings me back to myself. I’ve considered myself a dancer for years now, but I never realized how much a part of me the dance had become. I find comfort in the movements and the music. The dance helps me treat my body kindly and with loving respect. It doesn’t matter what size or shape I am, I can dance. And when I dance, I am me. A joyful, peaceful me.
My hope is that I will reach women in the area, help them re-inhabit their bodies, and find a safe space to be themselves.
My home-based studio was recently renovated to maximize the space for SharQui and bellydance.
The studio consists of a full mirror-wall, wood flooring, a multimedia station (CD player, DVD player, TV, iPad, and Bluetooth functionality). I chose to paint the studio a beautiful purple and grey to invoke the feelings of a creative sanctuary. The studio is illuminated by overhead lighting and an authentic, Turkish lamp.
In the interest of keeping the community safe, classes are currently only offered on-line, thru Zoom. All classes are live. When it is safe to do so, the studio will open and classes will be offered in-person and on-line.