Early last month I received  notice that my dance studio will be closing.  I am still in shock that my sanctuary will no longer be a place I will be going to on a regular basis.  I started taking classes with Orlando Belly dance in 2008, yes 10 YEARS.  In my time attending I have made such amazing friendships, gained life skills, grew as a person, and shared wonderful memories.  I wanted to share some of my best memories and things that I have learned that have helped me grow as a person throughout my dance journey with this studio.

When I first started dancing at OBD, I had resigned from a tumbling and trampoline team (my coach was moving on to new endeavors and I was looking for a new physical activity to continue into.) The photo above was taken during my second Evening Unveiled (EU) (because I couldn’t find any pictures from the first), it was the first adult recital I had been to and it opened my eyes to the idea that I can preform regularly and try new styles of dance, I was hooked from this day on.

These next group of photos were taken in May of 2013, the cane routine was my favorite dance from the 3 that I preformed in.  The reason I found this EU significant was because the EU happened the weekend before I was getting married.  In addition it was also the weekend that I was graduating my masters and a transitioning to a new job.  It was a major transitioning time in my life, and through everything, my dancing was the stabilizing factor in my life.   To get a better feel for the chaos I was going through: I was finishing up masters classes, planning a wedding, and learning 3 choreographies concurrently.  It showed me how well I could handle stress, and that I was able to multi-task, by prioritizing my values.

This picture is of the “Bellyrina’s”.  This dance really sticks out in my mind as one that during the performance I was literally dancing for our instructor.  Our instructor Arielle was not able to be at that particular performance, and I remember during the routine I thought about every move and detail to make her proud.

(Photo’s by LH Photography)

These photos above were taken of a dance while I was on several seasons of Semi-Pro team.  Being on semi-pro taught me that you have to work hard and make compromises in order to achieve your goals.  Being able to preform with this group was significant to me because it really taught me the importance of team work and uniting as a group.  It taught me how important it is to really focus on your own skills to contribute towards a bigger picture.  It also has been an amazing bonding experience and allowed me to make friendships with wonderful women who shared the same interests as me.

These photos were taken the same year, one in the spring and one in the fall, what is significant about them is that I am pregnant in all performances.  One early when I had just confirmed that I was pregnant and the second when I was about to give birth.  During that EU, I preformed while I was 30ish weeks pregnant.  I actually cried during that performance (I mean pregnancy hormones..) because I knew that my life would never be the same, that final dance was a goodbye to a phase in my life.

These photos are from my personal favorite genres (Burlesque and Polynesian).

These photos are of me preforming zills or finger cymbals.  I just would like to go on record to say that zills are really difficult and I am not a huge fan of them, but from learning zills I learned how important it is to really listen to the music, understand the counts, and learn about comprehending and moving to different rhythms simultaneously.

Orlando Bellydance is by far the best dance studio I have attended.  Every class is focused on finding your inner Goddess and enriching yourself with your own potential.  I can always find another dance studio or try a new physical activity, but I will severely miss the relationships and bonding from the dancing sisterhood that I have been apart in addition the values that Suspira has embedded of non-judgment and love to everyone.  I will always cherish the memories that I have had with this studio for the past ten years.  As we close this chapter it is time to find something new.  I haven’t found what it will be, but I know that I plan to carry on the joy that Orlando Bellydance has brought to my life.

Finally I wanted to share this photo because it so perfectly captures the sisterhood of the Orlando Bellydance legacy.


Thank you for the years of dance, laughter, and sisterhood!






  • Tammy

    Oh Jennie…….I’m tearing up right now!!!! <3

    August 11, 2018