Belly Dancing In The National Belly Dance Academy Festival

Belly Dancing In The National Belly Dance Academy Festival

A 2016 Cast Members Perspective part 1

Belly Dancing In The National Belly Dance Academy Festival Charlotte Booth

My belly dancing story has been swift but it started more than 20 years ago. When I was at University I started Egyptian Belly dance classes with Tina Hobin, one of the pioneers of belly dance in the UK. I learned the basics with her and remained in her classes for a couple of years. Then for various reasons I stopped belly dance classes. During the intervening years I learned Bollywood, Kathak, and flamenco – so dancing has always been important to me. _20160825_110854

In 2014 my mum passed away and I fell into depression – I lost most of 2015. I wanted to pull out of it and decided to start dance classes again as dancing has always made me happy. There are limited dance styles in my area but in September 2015 I enrolled in  a local class and I haven’t looked back.

One of my personality traits (flaws) is that I am an all or nothing kinda girl and threw myself into dancing. When I saw the National Belly Dance Academy Festival (NBAF) on facebook I thought it would be a perfect way of improving really quickly! Especially over the summer months when my regular class broke up for the summer, as well as learning from different teachers. Since I started bellydance 20 years ago things have changed a lot. There are dozens of styles, fusions and techniques and it is easy to become overwhelmed. There is so much to learn and I want to learn it all. Now.

The National Belly Dance Academy Festival has given me the opportunity to learn 3 new styles of dancing; tribal fusion with Hilde, Turkish Roman with Ozgen and Salimpour Technique with Anna. I already had some experience of drum-solo but not at the speed that Melissa teaches! It has been a steep learning curve and there have been times that I have been frustrated, and other times when I have been so far out of my comfort zone I’ve wanted to run away (Melissa seems somewhat obsessed with improvisation!) – but this year is a year of new experiences. Salimpour is NOT going to beat me even if moving the opposite butt cheek to the leg is unnatural.

I am looking forward to the National Belly Dance Academy Festival show on Sunday 16th October 2016 , as it is to be a professional performance rather than an end of school showcase. I am excited and yet a little apprehensive. But that just fires me up more. I will be performing a solo in the show – not my first solo – but something that at the level of talent in the show is something I want to excel at. So best get practicing!



Charlotte Booth