We asked several belly dancers around the globe to tell us who or what makes them so grateful for belly dancing, and their answers are truly touching! Listen up, folks, because we’ve got answers from so many great dancers and supporters including ladies from UNMATA, one of our favorite Datura Online instructors, an organizer of the great Tribal Fest, and many, many more!

1

Photo Credit: Om Gaia

Sarah Stinson
of UNMATA

www.unmata.com

I am grateful for so many people/parts of this dance community that it’s hard to name just one. But…I am am eternally grateful for eager dance peers and students! People who leave their drama at the door and come in with a positive attitude make all the difference, regardless of whether you’re teaching the class or taking the class. It inspires everyone else in the room to work harder and smile more!

2

Alicia BellyCraft
Founder of BellyCraft

www.bellycraft.com

Thank you bellydance.Through you I get to enjoy music and dance. With you I get to explore theater and drama. Before you I get to appreciate art and photography. For you I get to draw, design and share my style. Because of you I get to exercise daily and call it play. From you I get to continuously learn, develop, and grow as a student, teacher and performer. Within you is both ancient tradition and the most eclectic of progressive art forms all built around sharing creativity and beauty. And…if not for you, I would still be looking for something to be my art, my practice, my community. You are each and all of these and then more. Thank you bellydance.

3

Francesca Gigante

of Imajaghan

www.wix.com/francescagigante/danza

Thank you to Illan Riviere and my company, Imajaghan. I am also grateful to Francesca Pedretti, my teacher for showing me the love for this dance! A special thank to my wonderful family, my boyfriend, all my students and my friends for believing in me!

4

Colette Todorov
Director of Scarlet Thistle Studio and Instructor at DaturaOnline

www.scarletthistlestudio.com

Deepest gratitude to my dance students – from 2002, when Carolena first trained me to start teaching, to now – for joining me on this shared dance journey and for all you have taught me over the years. Thank you for continuing to inspire me with your achievements and growth and for joining me each week to DANCE!

5

Chuck Lenhard
DJ and Organizer at Tribal Fest

www.blacksheepbellydance.com

I am grateful for Kajira Djoumahna, my wife, my love, my soulmate who has brought the belly dance world into our home. Without her I would have never found the love and support of so many in the dance world.

6

Maria Hamer
Performer and Instructor of Edgy Folkloric Bellydance

www.mariahamer.com

I am grateful that I am a mother of 2 & dancer -my family is my life & dancing is my religion. I give thanks every time I dance in studio & out- every time I change a diaper or wipe a boogery nose. Life is good.

7

Kari Vanderzwaag
of UNMATA

www.unmata.com

I am grateful for belly dance because it has set the stage for the best chapter of my life!

8

Terri Allred
Business Consultant for FCBD, Owner of Rochester International Dance Studio, and Author of I Belly Dance Because

www.rochesterinternationaldance.com

I am grateful to share a dynamic, creative and brilliant mentor with thousands of other dancers in the world. Carolena Nericcio-Bohlman, creator of American Tribal Style™ dance is who I am thankful for this holiday season. She has inspired us to communicate with each other through a universal language of dance and created a beautiful aesthetic from which to adorn ourselves.

9

Katherine Erickson
Owner-Operator at Silk Road Tribal

www.silkroadtribal.com

You, my customers, are the backbone of my business and without you Silk Road Tribal would not exist. You add laughter, love, and friendship to my life which is more than I dreamed of when I started my business. My heart overflows with abundant gratitude for each and every one of you on this day of thanks and every day.

10

Lamia Barbara
Tribal Fusion Instructor, Performer, and Choreographer

www.lamiainfusion.com

I feel grateful because of this wonderful community made of beautiful people and lovely dancers from all around the globe. I want to say THANK YOU to all the teachers, students, dancers and artists that I had the chance to meet, whose radiant lights still blossom in my heart everyday and inspire me to learn more, teach more, dance more.

11

Gaia Sophia
Director of World Tree Dance, a FCBD
® Sister Studio®

www.earthyjuju.com

I very thankful for my regional dance community. I have never felt so at home with a group of people, and together we inspire and encourage each other to follow our dreams and light the world on fire. To all of my MN dance sisters, and brothers, thank you and keep on dancing!

12

Tribal Sooz

Tribal Belly Dance Performer and Instructor

www.tribalsooz.com

I am eternally grateful for all the teachers I have studied with and now for all the students who entrust me with their dance journey’s. But most especially grateful for the woman who changed my life: Carolena Nericcio. Hooray for Mama C!

13

Shanaz Bahara
Director and Creator of Geek Slink Belly Dance, Columnist at Fuse: A Tribal and Tribal Fusion Belly Dance Magazine

www.facebook.com/GeekSlinkBellyDance

I am grateful that Belly Dancing gave me the strength to fight my way out of self doubt and low self esteem. It changed the way I live my life and has brought me so much joy that now my focus is to share that joy with as many people as I can and help my students find their own inner superstars!

14

Photo Credit: Pixie Vision Productions

Shira
Performer, Instructor, and Creator of Shira.net

www.shira.net

I’m thankful for the friendships all around the world that I have made through belly dance. I’m grateful that no matter where my travels take me, there’s a community of dancers that I can connect with and make me feel welcome.

15

Susan Douglas
ATS
® Instructor and Performer at Satori Violet Belly Dance

www.satoriviolet.com

I am grateful for this very first group of teachers, friends and troupe mates who taught me to love ATS® and gave me the confidence to believe I could do it in the early days when I felt like there was no way I ever would get it… especially my first teacher Heather Perry.

16

Rita Simon
Owner and Instructor of Spirit Horse Dance Company, A FatChanceBellyDance® Sister Studio®

www.spirithorsedancecompany.com

I am grateful to Carolena Nericcio: her innovative and creative vision brought ATS® Belly Dance to the world and she continues to inspire me in so many ways beyond belly dance. Thank you, Carolena!

17

Penny Bashe
of Mystical Phoenix

I think we owe Jolie Robinson a debt of gratitude. During one of her workshops she told one of us to “just f*#%ing commit” to whatever you are doing and it will turn out fine. We adopted those 3 words as our tribe’s motto and they have greatly improved our performances and learning.

18

Kalila Indivar
Director and Instructor at Smiling Lune

www.smilinglune.com

I am grateful for the strength, flexibility, control, and creative outlet that bellydance has granted me. I am also grateful for all the wonderful, creative, crazy, beautiful people this dance has afforded me the opportunity to invite into my life.

19

Ken and Christine Dahlquist
Creators of TribalBellydanceGuide.com

www.tribalbellydanceguide.com

We send a huge Thank You out to Chelle and Roger Hendrix of BadAss Sophisticate. Their friendship and support has been truly appreciated.

20

Anne Sweeney
Tribal Fusion Student at Satori Violet

www.satoriviolet.com

I’m grateful for the opportunity to move my body in new ways and socialize with a great group of ladies. I believe bellydancing saved my life. If I hadn’t started five years ago, I think my back problems would have gotten worse and restricted my movement, and a number of other health problems would have arisen from living a sedentary lifestyle. The women I dance with are incredible people who I’m glad to know.

21

Gina Wegner
American Tribal Style
® Student at Satori Violet

www.satoriviolet.com

I am thankful for the opportunity to dance in a room full of positive and inspiring women at Satori Violet. I am also thankful I get to de-stress and burn off all the chocolate I eat prior to Tuesday nights. Most of all I am thankful I got back into dancing again and have met so many wonderful people with equally wonderful hearts on account of it!!

22

Rosa Noreen
Founder of Rosa Noreen’s Grace Academy

www.rosanoreen.com

I am thankful to have fallen in love with an art form that is so rich and complex that I’ll never tire of exploring it. This belly dance journey has taken me on adventures, introduced me to friends all around the globe, honed my technology skills and business skills, and helped me to fall in love with dance all over again.

23

Lauren Dicks
American Tribal Style
® and Tribal Fusion Student at Satori Violet

www.satoriviolet.com

I am grateful for dance and the freedom we have in our bodies to move so freely! It’s such a release from everyday life. It’s a great time to be with other creative spirits as well!

24

Nichole Meyer
American Tribal Style
® and Tribal Fusion Student at Satori Violet

www.satoriviolet.com

I’m grateful for the “Mommy” time that I get with belly dancing. It’s something that I do totally for me, but the improvement to my health and wellness will benefit my son, too. I can have an awful day at work, but then I come to dance and my stress levels are lessened. Plus, I have met and become friends with a lot of wonderful women that I would never have met otherwise. Belly dancers are great people!

25

Sarah Markusich
Dancer and Owner/Designer of Simply Becoming Designs

www.facebook.com/simplybecomingdesigns

I’m truly thankful for the support that the belly dance community has shown me in starting, growing, and continuing to support my small, belly dance inspired business. Without this community, I never would have even gotten off the ground

26

Melissa Haley
Tribal Fusion Student at Satori Violet

www.satoriviolet.com

I am grateful for the opportunities that have presented themselves to me through belly dancing. I have met many beautiful ladies through classes, and have developed friendships. I have been able to express my artistic side, which has gone unused for far too long. I can now move my body in new, beautiful ways. Belly dancing is not only a personal pleasure, but a fun, healthy way to bond and have fun with other amazing women.

27

Tasha Rose
Director of
Kamala Chaand Dance Company, Producer of Something Tribal This Way Comes, and Advertising Sales at Fuse: A Tribal and Tribal Fusion Belly Dance Magazine

www.kamalachaanddanceco.com

Of course a gal is grateful for her teachers. For me it is namely Carolena Nericcio and Cassandra Shore. Without them giving me the gifts they have, I would not be where I am in my dancing ability. That said, I truly wouldn’t be where I am as a teacher and performer without all of the amazing students I have been blessed to teach over the years. They are who keep me doing it. Seeing a shy woman totally come out of her shell in class makes dancing all the more worthwhile. Additionally, I couldn’t be more grateful to have the principle dancers I have in my troupe. Donna and Remedy are amazing, dedicated and committed dancers and I couldn’t be more blessed.

28

Anne Mehltretter

American Tribal Style® and Tribal Fusion Student at Satori Violet

www.satoriviolet.com

I am thankful for Bellydance and the great friends I’ve made while doing it. I am forever thankful for the creative outlet and the opportunity to dress up all year long!

29

Photo Credit: Oneiros Imaging

Amy Danielson

Owner and Creator of Bold Oracle Costuming, Tribal Fusion Performer, Director of The Belly Lab

www.boldoracle.com

I’m grateful for Jamila Salimpour, for bringing dignity, drama, and power to all of us through her demeanor, her behavior, her costumes and her energetic leadership.

30

Nicole Crosby

Tribal Fusion Student at Satori Violet

www.satoriviolet.com

I am so very thankful for all the gypsy girls at Satori Violet because we laugh and dance together. All of you are my very dear friends!

30.5

Anna Anderson

Tribal Fusion Performer and Instructor at Satori Violet

www.satoriviolet.com

I am grateful for belly dance for countless reasons. It awoke a part of me that had been silent for far too long. It allows me to move my body and celebrate being a woman. It has opened doors to beautiful friendships, an amazing community that spans the globe, and a creative outlet that brings me so much joy. I am grateful for the opportunity to grow as a student, performer, and teacher. I feel giddy every time I think of my future as a dancer. I love ALL of you; those I have the privilege of dancing with every week, those I’ve been honored enough to learn from, and those of you I have not yet met. Thank you!

31

Violet Kind

Owner, Instructor, Choreographer, and Performer at Satori Violet

www.satoriviolet.com

I can hardly even say how thankful I am without bursting into tears. Belly dancing has brought me an abundance of greatness! The connections I’ve made, the transformation I’ve experienced, and the friendships I’ve earned… they are all priceless. I wouldn’t give this up for anything. Belly dancing is my true passion and I am so grateful to have found it so early on in life. I am also so very thankful for the opportunity to share this art with others. My students make me so happy! Thank you all!

A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to this post!!! From everyone at Satori Violet, we hope you have a very happy holiday!

If you’d like to send a submission, please email us at satori@satoriviolet.com. Thank you!

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