Saffron Dance is the best part of my week, my month, my year! -Judy

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. 
 

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.


#Resolve2 LoveYourself

  • by Saphira
  • Feb 10, 2015
As we get to know each of you one-by-one -- whether you are at the studio for the first time or have been with us since the beginning -- we aspire for our work and our interactions to leave you feeling more connected with yourself.  Our hope and goal is that your time at Saffron translates into an ever deepening relationship with and understanding of yourself.   
 
Among Saffron's faculty and staff, we know firsthand that one's relationship to oneself can be filled with ups and downs. We aren't immune to the inner struggles that our friends, colleagues, and students experience.  We also know that these struggles are an important and valuable part of life's journey, and are things to embrace.  

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.


Welcome Bagoas!

  • by Saphira
  • Jan 09, 2015

One of my primary motivations for dedicating myself to belly dance is for the opportunity to help women feel better about themselves - both inside and outside the studio.  So it would be rather inauthentic to conceal that I was not sure how bringing on our first male faculty member at Saffron would feel given the unique environment that we are committed to cultivating.   It is true that we have had long & fruitful relationships with other male adjunct faculty who present workshops and perform from time to time - but to have a male faculty with us full time in this sea of femininity... how would he handle it and how would he be received?  That is when we met Bagoas.  


Name | Sara

Occupation | Business Development Officer (writer and reader of many emails, tracker of all things)

How long have you been at Saffron? Since the Dawn of Time (also known as 4 years) 

Why Belly Dance? I think what initially drew me to belly dance was the fact that I wasn't body conscious doing it. I come from a family of athletes, cheerleaders and gymnasts. While my interests ran towards being outdoors, horseback riding and camping, growing up with sisters that could do more pull ups than Marine trainees was intimidating. I always felt a bit like the odd one out, but not while belly dancing.   


Name | Catherine 

Occupation | Attorney

Why bellydance? I work out a lot, but I've found that bellydance gives me a different way of both challenging my body and appreciating my body.

How long have you been at Saffron? A little over 6 years.

How did you find Saffron Dance, and what keeps you coming back?  I had taken ballet casually when I was a child, and I wanted to get back into that.  When I started with BalletNova, they were in the midst of moving their studio and were renting space from Saffron.  I'd come to my ballet classes and see the bellydance classes going on and think, "That looks like fun too!"  I keep coming back because as much as I love bellydance, I love the people at Saffron even more.  I originally moved to the D.C. area for a job and thought it would be a short-term stay and I'd be on my way soon.  For various reasons, I've ended up staying in the area far longer than I'd anticipated.  Still, it never felt like "home".  Then I found Saffron.  Saffron and my wonderful friends there make this place home.<--break-><--break->


Be Wayward.

  • by Saphira
  • Nov 13, 2014
So most Saffronitas know that we have a slight adoration for camels around the studio and an informal mascot named Wayward.  And like other aspects of the Saffron culture, Wayward's name is most certainly not an accident.  
The first definition in Webster's of "wayward" is "following one's own capricious, wanton, or depraved inclinations."  And though upon first glance, this is not the most complimentary of definitions,  further uses of the term explain that it describes "behaving, doing or acting opposite to what is [sic] . . . expected."  I know, I know, most of you reading this have already concluded that being wayward has some sort of negative connotation, but that is not how I see it.  For me, being wayward means knowing that there may be a herd mentality, but you can walk, dance or in my case "shimmy" in your own direction.  


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