Q & A with Sadiya
This month’s interview features a dancer who is near and dear to my heart, Sadiya. Sadiya is currently based in Rochester, MN, but used to live in North Carolina. She became one of my near and dear belly dance friends as well as a mentor. She showed me the ropes on gigging and teaching. I can’t believe that she has been gone for 5 years.
In Rochester, Sadiya has made a home for herself in the belly dance community, but admittedly still misses the south. You can take a girl out of Carolina, but you can’t take the Carolina out of the girl! In addition to teaching and performing belly dance, Sadiya is also working on her first book called, I Belly Dance Because. The book will highlight 50 dancers whose stories illustrate the transformative power of belly dance. These dancers will be amateurs, enthusiasts, professionals and students. They will be young, old and in between. They will represent multiple styles of dance and various geographic locations.
Sadiya has made an open call to dancers to submit their stories. This invitation has been extended to the original folks who shared their stories on the Facebook page as well as to belly dancers across the country. Please submit your story by October 31 at rochesterinternationaldance.
And now on to the interview…
Primary style of dance: ATS
Favorite dancer(s): Aziza of Montreal; Anita from Fat Chance Belly Dance
Number of years you’ve been a belly dancer: 10
Tell me about why you are involved in Belly Dance at Any Size?
I feel very strongly that belly dance should be accessible to all women- all shapes, sizes, and ages. I created “I Belly Dance Because,” a Facebook page, in order to allow dancers to celebrate and share their personal journeys through dance. Many women wrote of finding self-acceptance, increasing self esteem and creating community. My experience with belly dance has been rife with duality. I have found healing, health, relationships and strength. I have also found criticism, hatred, manipulation, and narcissism.
I hope that the work that I do combats some of the negativity directed at each other that can come from the belly dance community.
What inspires your dancing?
I find pure joy in dancing with musicians, performing in front of an audience and teaching. I have always felt centered when my body is moving.
I am inspired by the other dancers who often overcome significant emotional and physical barriers to express themselves.
What has been your greatest belly dance achievement?
I was recently asked to be a featured artist for an educational series sponsored by the University of MN. I was given 90 minutes to perform, educate and entertain. That show, “Confessions of a Belly Dancer,” I structured the show around some funny confessions, provided education about belly dance and then performed. I invited my dance troupes and students to participate. My twin sister from NC and her daughter also came to take part. It was really rewarding to be able to structure a show entirely around my vision of dance.
Because we are in the Midwest, we have to travel to spend time with each other. I like getting to know women from different communities who are creating dance in their niche of the world. I enjoy learning from them and celebrating with them when we get together.
What frustrates you the most about the belly dance community?
I have found a lot of negative interactions between dancers since moving to the Midwest. In the South we may not have loved each other all of the time, but we were supportive and kind.
If you were told you could never belly dance (or dance at all) again, what outlet would pick to unleash your creativity?
I have just started making bindis. That is really fun. I think I would also create music for dancers.
What is your most treasured belly dance possession?
My zills! Only Saroyan.
What do you like most about your appearance?
Sadiya is based in Rochester, MN. For more information, visit www.RochesterInternationalDance.com.
Update! Sadyia’s book, “I Belly Dance Because: The Transformative Power of Dance” is now available to purchase at Amazon.com!* Get your copy today!
*Affiliate links: Andalee may receive a small commission if you purchase something using this link. Thanks!