Belly dance rejuvenates my soul... I have such an inner peace and joy in my heart. -Kim

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. 

How did you find Saffron Dance and what keeps you coming back? I actually first noticed it after eating at Taste of Morocco. There was a bellydancer at the restaurant, and then I walked outside and found myself staring straight at a bellydance school. I didn't sign up for a few more months, but that planted the seed. Now I feel invested, in the place, in the people, and in my identity as a dancer. It's definitely gotten under my skin; every time I listen to music now, it's always through the framework of, "Can I dance to this?"  

What were your thoughts after your first class? I felt all clunky and awkward. I guess that's why I came back; I tend to believe that there's no point in wasting my time on easy things.

Can you speak a bit about your experience in Student Company and working closely with faculty and fellow dancers? There's a special level of trust that comes from working closely with other people in a physical way.  It's hard to describe. You're in this stressful situation where your adrenalin is up, and your troupe mates and choreographer are counting on you, and none of you have really slept for a couple of days. It would be really easy for everything to sour quickly, but that trust you've developed as a troupe carries you. I've always felt that solo work is freeing because you can cover most of your mistakes with show-womanship, but troupe performances are freeing in a completely different way.  As a member of a troupe, every mistake you make in performance is seen by your troupe members in context of all the work you've put in beforehand. They don't expect you to be perfect; they just expect you to present. 

How she inspires us |  At Saffron, we train students to become selfsustaining dancers. It's always our endeavor to give students the inspiration, tools, and technique to take their dancing beyond the classroom and out into the world to serve their human and artistic needs. Some students are easier to nudge out of the nest than others, and the faculty is committed to letting dancers dictate their own pace. Of course, Lauren didn't need any help taking that leap of faith as testified by her numerous solos and budding group choreographies.

It takes a lot of guts to step out of other people's work and begin developing choreography on your own. Lauren began with her unique and boundary-pushing solos, and now, she's on to collaborations with friends. I've been given a little bit of insight into her creative process, and other than her boundless creativity, the thing that impresses me the most is that, despite her tough exterior, she experiences anxiety and concern over how her work will be understood and recieved just like the rest of us. But what she's mastered, despite being a relatively new choreographer, is conquering that doubt, and doing it anyways. If you've been lucky enough to see some of her latest work, I'm sure you're just as pleased as I that Lauren has the grit to laugh in the face of fear and deliver the work that inspires her. To our favorite modern Amazon, keep creating! We wait with baited breath for your next masterpiece! 

Jenna