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

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.   

How did you find Saffron Dance and what keeps you coming back? I found the studio by accident one morning on a coffee run.  At the time, I had just started working in Clarendon. I had taken Belly Dance classes 15+ years ago and had been thinking about getting back into it, but I hadn't found a teacher or studio that really caught my interest. Then, I walked past the studio, and I knew it was the sign I had been waiting for! I signed up for a class and never looked back!

What were your thoughts after your first class? That this was exactly where I was supposed to be!  

Can you speak a bit about your experience in Student Company and working closely with faculty and fellow dancers? When I first started taking classes, I had no intention of joining a student company or performing. This was just going to be "me time" where I could dance, get some exercise, and forget about work and everything else. But one of my first classes was with Faten, and that class quickly turned into a performance class - a Nubian piece. It was challenging, but at the same time, such a joy to dance, and we had such a great group of women. It was amazing! After that, I was blessed to be able to join Saidi and study further with Faten. I was not going to let that opportunity pass me by!

This year I added a second company Masmoudi, because I love Jenna's Tribal style and wanted to push myself to explore new challenges. Being in company has challenged me to develop my dance as more than just a hobby and to give it the serious study that the art form deserves. I like the challenge, and I feel lucky to work with such talented choreographers and my fellow dancers.

How she inspires us |  Thanks to a certain Democratic candidate, there are an abundance of of Bern-based puns and hashtags floating around the internet. Today, I'd like to propose one dedicated to our special Saffronita of the Month: The Slow Bern.

Now, bear with me here. I remember very well the day Bernadette showed up in my Tribal technique. I remember enjoying how open she was to feedback and new ideas. That alone would make her a great candidate for Saffronita of the Month. But it's what happened next that makes her an exemplar of our community. Slowly but surely, Bernadette seemed to gather up every suggestion and comment that I gave and applied it to herself whether or not it was directed towards her. She was quiet but inquisitive, and stayed positive about her training, even when she had a discouraging practice or two. She never seemed to worry about her level or the development of other dancers. She was always about lifting her chest a little higher or nailing that isolation pattern. I knew Bernadette was making steady progress, but one day, I turned around and realized that I was watching an entirely new dancer. The Bernadette of months past was long gone. Her Slow Bern strategy had snuck up on me. 

So let Bernadette's story be an inspriation to us all. In a society full of "not quite there yets" and constant striving, remember that you can always chip away at your goals slowly and steadily. In fact, that's often the most direct route to success, and it's a much smoother ride than the spurts and stops most of us put ourselves through. Here's to our dear Bernadette, she's liable to sneak up on you, but for all the right reasons. 

Jenna