You can come to belly dancing with no prior dance and learn a fun and enjoyable dance. -Grace

Name | Laurie (Laila)

Occupation | Department of Justice Account Leader for Ernst & Young

How long have you been at Saffron? One and a half years.

Why Belly Dance? I went to high school in the Middle East and have such fond memories. While there, I fell in love with the music and dance, and it has always stuck with me ever since.   


Name | Bernadette (Dance Name: Zabrina)

Occupation | Attorney

How long have you been at Saffron? 3 1/2 years

Why Belly Dance? I've been drawn to Belly Dance as long as I can remember.  My mom took me to some classes when I was a kid, and we would listen to her records. I remember listening to George Abdo and Enrico Macias all the time. I loved the music, and I still do. There's something about it that really speaks to the soul.   


Name | Grace and going with Graciella as a dance name for now.

Occupation | I’m a consultant with Deloitte and founder of my own company called Six Arrows Group.

How long have you been at Saffron? I’ve been at Saffron 4 ½ years. Wow, that went by fast!

Why belly dance? Belly dance is a fun, soul-fulfilling, and beautiful art form that anyone and ANY BODY can do! And even better, ANY age can learn it - I started when I was 38! As if these weren’t good enough reasons, there are options with different styles and stylizations that give belly dance such a deep richness. You can’t get bored and the creative options are endless. Most important of all, you will learn to love yourself and your body, reduce those insecurities and negative thoughts, do things you never thought possible, and embrace yourself! 


Name | Karen

Occupation | Consultant

How long have you been at Saffron? Um...maybe 7 years? I have absolutely no idea. It's been a long time!

Why belly dance? I love dance, period. My first teacher was awesome, and there were fun jingly scarves, but the more I learn, the more I want to improve my expression and performance of this art form. 


Name | Tracy

Occupation | Instructional Designer and Project Manager

How long have you been at Saffron? My first class was on March 17, 2015.

Why belly dance? The dance form has appealed to me from a young age and so had been on my wish-list for a long time as something new and fun to learn.


Name | Dawn

Occupation | Science Teacher

How long have you been at Saffron? Over two years. 

Why belly dance? Why not? :) I was looking for a way to further develop myself. I’ve always loved dance but had never actually taken a class before. What attracted me to bellydance was its grace, femininity, and earthiness. I also quickly discovered its positive effects on my body and mind.


Name | Patricia Nilda (Nuha)

Occupation | Epidemiologist at Pan American Health Organization

How long have you been at Saffron? Since 2012 

Why belly dance? Because it has helped with my confidence and self-esteem, and connected me with new friends and new experiences. It gives me a different way of both challenging and appreciating my body.


Name | Kiyaana 

Occupation | Part-time dance instructor and performer. Full-time middle school math teacher.

How long have you been at Saffron? I started classes in September 2013.

Why belly dance? When I stumbled upon a class, the women looked like they were having a good time, and I realized that I wouldn't need a dance partner for this style. I signed up for the next session immediately! The music, movement, emotional quality, and fabrics really grabbed me from the beginning. I had grown up heavily involved in music, performing, and even sewing, so it was a perfect fit. Since then I have traveled all over the country to study with master teachers, began performing professionally in 2007, and started teaching in 2009 in Fredericksburg. Now with over 500 gigs (restaurant shows and private parties), close to 700 hours of teaching weekly classes, a music library that is 99% bellydance music, and a sewing room overrun with chiffon, beads, and sequins, I think I'm more of a bellydancer than any other thing in my life.


Name | Tugba 

Occupation | Air Force

How long have you been at Saffron? Almost 3 years! 

Why belly dance? I grew up bellydancing in Turkey. It was a sort of bonding experience amongst the women in my family. When the men were away, we would turn on music and my mom, aunts, cousins and I would dance. It was just for fun, but the younger generations always learned something new from the older generations. If you ask them, they won’t admit it, but my aunts are amazing bellydancers!


Name | Sarah Belaustegui aka "Zaina"

Occupation | Operations Director

How long have you been at Saffron? 6 glorious years!

Why Belly Dance?  It gives me a creative outlet to build strength, coordination, and awesome friendships.


Name | Amy Laughter

Occupation | U.S. Government

How long have you been at Saffron? 3 years.

Why belly dance? My Mom and I attended a Bellydance Superstars show a few years ago back home in Georgia. I was immediately intrigued by the dance form and wanted to learn more. I started “teaching” myself by using intructional belly dance DVDs and books. When I moved to DC, I took my first formal class, and I was hooked! It’s amazing to take actual classes from such talented instructors! 


Name | Diane Nees

Occupation | Legal Assistant/Paralegal

How long have you been at Saffron? 2 1/2 years.

Why Belly Dance? Bellydance came to me at a time in my life was doing an almost complete makeover - I turned 50, started a new (old) career after 11 years in the public school system, AND my daughter left for college.  The only bellydance I had ever encountered was in movies or on TV, so it was completely unexpected.  Bellydance has changed me in so many positive ways. 


Name | Keely

Occupation | U.S. Government

How long have you been at Saffron? Since October of 2008.

Why Belly Dance? I love bellydance because it brings me joy. It’s helped with my self-esteem, confidence and connected me with new friends and new experiences. I love performing because I can share my joy of dance with the audience. There’s nothing better than seeing the smiles on the face of your audience and know, if even for a few minutes, you’re taking their mind off their troubles or worries and giving them something to be happy about. It’s that mutual exchange of joy between audience and performer that motivates me to get on stage.


Name | Jehan

Occupation | Attorney for the U.S. Government

How long have you been at Saffron? I believe I started about 6 months after Saffron opened, so that must have been Fall of 2007.

Why Belly DanceI remember seeing my grandmother and aunties dancing at family parties, and my family always hired bellydancers at parties and events, too. Because of my body type, I was discouraged from pursuing ballet as a child. But I needed some fun exercise as an adult, and discovering that there were actual non-professional adult dance classes where I could learn the techniques of the dance of my Egyptian ancestry was an absolute revelation for me. My first class was in 1997 at the YMCA in Ann Arbor Michigan. Oddly, there was a lot of veilwork, but not a lot of technique. I liked it enough to want to track down learning opportunities once I moved to the DC area.


Name | Meg Kline

Occupation | Petsitter and Student

How long have you been at Saffron? I started dance classes at Saffron in the Fall semester of 2012, then in 2013 started participating in Chiftitelli Company, and Persian Performance classes. Now I am a member of the Beledi company, and have done Persian Performance several times.

Why Belly Dance? My very first time seeing bellydance was when Saffron was performing at Clarendon Day several years ago, and I was totally entranced by everything about it. I loved the music, costumes and movement, and I knew I absolutely had to start bellydancing! Hearing Saphira say that many of the performers were students who participated in performance companies made made me so excited to take classes, and I absolutely had the goal of being in a company some day. To me it is the most exciting, enjoyable dance form I have ever participated in or seen.


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