How she inspires us | One of the things I love about our Student Company program is that it allows teachers to develop a familiarity with students in a multi-faceted way that isn't quite possible in technique classes alone. As Company directors, we get front-row seats as students tackle challenges, set goals, and face their fears. Marianne has been my student for a few years now, but it wasn't until she joined Beledi Student Comapny this past fall that we started working together closely, and I become more familiar with her dance journey. Over the past three sessions, Marianne has grown in leaps and bounds through a series of thoughtful decisions, hard work, and some admirable risk-taking. She has stepped out of her comfort zone, augmenting her Oriental technique by studying Bollywood and Tribal Fusion; she has pushed herself to improve by setting clear goals and following through by seeking guidance from her instructors; and perhaps most exciting of all, she recently made her solo debut at our Spring Performance Development Circle. I knew that Marianne had been planning on performing at a PDC for some time, but each time show day came around, she didn't feel ready and would end up backing out. This recent show was no exception, but when Marianne told studio manager Linda that her choreography was nowhere near ready to present, Linda put her foot down and told Marianne that if she waited until she felt "ready" she might never perform. So Marianne took the challenge and ended up performing her first solo ever as an improvisation. Seeing her take that risk - getting on stage in front of both friends and strangers, connecting with the music and the audience, and letting her genuine joy shine through - filled me with immense pride and joy, and, needless to say, plenty of inspiration. So here's to Marianne for being a reminder to dancers of all levels that sometimes the hardest yet most rewarding thing is to let go, have faith in ourselves, and dive in - even when we don't feel quite ready. - Elena Faye
“Saffron Dance is the best part of my week, my month, my year!” -Judy
Name | Marianne
Occupation | Junior Accountant
Why bellydance? Dance is an expression of the human character and spirit; it refreshes the heart. Belly dance is accessible, exciting, and uplifting for any woman looking to grow mentally and physically. Plus, sparkles and glitter are just plain old fun.
How long have you been at Saffron? About 3 and a half years - 4 years this September!
How did you find Saffron Dance, and what keeps you coming back? Saffronitas are my go to girls for all of life's struggles and joys. I found out about Saffron Dance through a dear friend and found so many more waiting in the wings. The joy of personal growth and development through dance plus the camaraderie of my dance-mates is an experience I wouldn't trade for the world.
What were your thoughts after your first class? It was quite simple. Something along the lines of, "This seems like fun."
Can you speak a bit about your experience in Student Company and working closely with faculty and fellow dancers? I imagine everyone comes to the Company experience for a different reason depending on the season of life. Personally, being a part of a dance Company has challenged me in ways I never imagined. I never thought I'd learn so much about myself by working in this structure, and I feel incredibly privileged to be taught by some of the most talented and artistic dancers in the United States. Most importantly, I've never found such a community of support and genuine friendship with dancers of all levels and training.
Are there any other comments you want to add on your belly dance experience and future goals? I don't think I can't keep myself from smiling while I'm dancing. It's just so much fun! But even the tribal teachers are challenging me to shake that up, too. I'll be dancing as long as it nurtures growth of the spirit and soul. #2 Samuel 6:14