The art of belly dance & the community of amazing women have helped me grow and be inspired every day. -Nunah

Name | Livia LeRynn

Occupation | Mild mannered paper pushing government bureaucrat by day, modern Amazon by night.

How long have you been at Saffron? Just over five years.

Why Belly Dance? I was looking to try something new and completely different after earning my taekwondo blackbelt.   Belly dance fit the bill. I liked the idea of having a bellydancer's level of hip and torso control to go with my martial artist's hand and foot control. I also liked the idea that unlike other styles of dance, I could start as a fully formed adult without having my age limit my performance and career potential.  Now I enjoy the range of creative and expressive options bellydance (esp. Tribal) offers. I can adapt it to any type of character. 


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! 


Teacher Feature: Linda

  • by Saphira
  • Jan 29, 2016

One of the most enjoyable aspects of my job is working with some amazing dance artists. They are not just great teachers and performers, but they are also great human beings. And what better way to begin this new "Teacher Feature" blog series than to lead with our fearless, wonderful, dedicated, diligent, and tireless Studio Manager, Linda. I had a chance to sit down with Linda and ask her a few questions and thought I would share a few tidbits that I learned.


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!


50 Ways to Love Morocco

  • by Saphira
  • Jul 27, 2015

This April, Saffron Dance journeyed to Morocco to explore, dance, discover and unwind.  On behalf of the twenty-five dancers, spouses and faculty who joined us, I can collectively say that we returned with a newly discovered affection and curiosity for this magnificent country and region.  For most of us, this was our first trip to Morocco, a place that had been at the top of our collective bucket lists for quite some time.  From the camels to the cuisine, to the souks and scents of the medina, to the architecture and artisanship, we loved everything about our entire experience. 


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.


Heather's Story: Ayoub Student Company

What inspired you to join a Student Company?
I had taken Performance classes for several sessions at Saffron and loved the way they challenged me to move beyond drills and technique.  Learning (and remembering) choreography made me think in new and different ways, and I really enjoyed working with the women in class as a group. I was also getting a lot of encouragement from friends at Saffron and my son who loves to come to the Saffron shows. The next step was to join a Student Company (also the allure of sparkles helped!).  I was a member of Chiftitelli for two years and am currently a member of Ayoub. <--break->


Katie's Story: Chiftitelli Student Company

What inspired you to join a Student Company?
My previous roommate was in a Student Company for the last couple of years, and she would tell me how nice it is to get to know the girls in your Company on a deeper level. With a Student Company, you are in class with the other girls at least twice a week, and you really strengthen your relationship with each other and get to know one another better. I wanted to have more friendships within Saffron, and  joining a Company was the perfect solution!
 
Did you have any special goals for yourself this year? How did your Company experience help you achieve them?
One of my goals was to learn how to belly dance in a choreography and being in Chiftitelli has strengthened my dance tremendously.  When learning to dance to a song, you have to work on your facial expressions and learn different moves so it captivates the audience while on stage.  This has been something I continuously work on and hope to develop further in my dancing on stage. 
 

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