Name | Oshún
Occupation | GovCon Human Resources Leader
How long have you been at Saffron? I’ve been with Saffron Dance over two and half years.
Why belly dance? “Transformance through performance”. This motto I think just about sums it up for me. I flirted with belly dance for a short while when I was young and then forgot about it. I joined Saffron at a time in which I was looking to grow a greater appreciation for everything divine feminine. I feel belly dance does just that, express the quintessential divine feminine qualities, and studying and performing belly dance has been transformative on many levels, personally.
How did you find Saffron Dance, and what keeps you coming back? I Google’d belly dance classes locally and thought “they’re next door!” so dragged a friend of mine to a crash course. Sadly, my friend didn’t continue but I knew I would stick around. I keep coming back because there’s so much more to absorb and learn of classical Persian and belly dance, the supportive environment and experienced faculty at Saffron, budding new friendships, student motivation, and the countless benefits of dance. Dancing brings me much joy, and I am fortunate to continue to enjoy so many positive experiences while at Saffron.
What were your thoughts after your first class? Would you believe me if I said I had mixed feelings? I LOVED the music, my O1 instructor (Linda <3), the studio atmosphere, and the hip scarves some of the ladies wore but it took a few classes to get used to all the mirrors and observing myself while learning new movement. It didn’t take long to feel “at home” with this beautiful art form, however.
Can you speak a bit about your experience in Student Company and working closely with faculty and fellow dancers? I didn’t immediately join a Company or performance classes as I was focused on learning the technique basics, and initially, I also felt some nervousness around things that seem silly to me now, such as trusting a cute costume would be picked out. However, I’ve been in three companies so far and have learned or experienced something different through each dance team and its members. I think one of the takeaways of the company experience through its challenges and positives is that it’s really about company members working together to become one dance team dynamic. It requires effort, but when everyone finally gets in touch with the feeling for the choreography and each other, and it all syncs up both in the studio and on stage is when the magic happens, and the end result is incredibly fulfilling. I also think working closely with Saffron faculty whether in a company or performance class setting encourages the development of one’s artistic voice, something probably more difficult to do in technique classes alone.
A few months ago you performed at a Performance Development Circle. Was this your first solo? Can you speak a bit about your experience preparing for and performing this piece? Performing in the April PDC was a bit of a last-minute decision but I’m glad I did it as it turned out to be an amazing first solo experience. I just knew it had to be a Baladi piece as this folkloric style’s characteristics resonate with me, and I immensely enjoyed working with Blythe to express those qualities through her choreography.
Besides belly dance, what do you like to do to stay active? Latin social dancing is what I do all my life! I was doing cardio and some weight lifting at a gym for a while, and plan to pick it up again soon but dance is by far my go-to “exercise” because it doesn’t feel like it. LOL!
What are your dance goals for the future? I feel ready to push myself further. I’ll do some more solos, perhaps with original choreography, and compete.
Anything else you would like to share? I absolutely love what Saffron has built here. Now there will always be a special place in my heart for belly and classical Persian dance, and I’m honored to have been selected as this month’s Saffronita :)
How she inspires us | One of the best things about teaching at Saffron is getting to watch women who have never belly danced in their lives discover, fall in love with, and totally embrace this art form. It is particularly fulfilling to see students dive into this dance with the type of love and enthusiasm that Oshún did; for her - and many others - it was truly love at first sight. Her dedication was readily apparent - as a single mother she managed to impressively balance her son's school schedule, her dance classes, her own career, and her commitment to health and fitness. Within a year, Oshún had dived into the dance - studying not only technique but also educating herself about its history and cultural roots; yes, it was clear that she had been bitten by the belly dance bug :-p With time, her interests continued to expand. Soon she was taking classes beyond the Oriental program, exploring Classical Persian and Folkloric Egyptian dances. Her appetite for learning was only growing, and she took on new challenges with determination and genuine joy. Seeing her love of this dance blossom over the past few years has been an absolute delight, and I know that no matter where her life takes her, belly dance will always be there for her. -- Elena Faye