A dance story, 5 years in the making...


New member
If you say the title in the "movie guy" voice it sounds more dramatic and hilarious lol... anyway

So I came across a clip on youtube of my second performance ever, I'd seen it before but I recently came by it again. I don't have that clip on youtube myself because at the time our video recorder was still a tape video recorder, my family hadn't caught up with the times and gone to digital. :rolleyes:

I started dancing/performer in 2008. I admit it, I am the one we complain about lol :naghty: I had no formal training, hadn't actually taken any belly dance classes (or even an instructional dvd), and worst of all I performed fusion. My first performance was at Fiesta 2008, I danced to a Caribbean song at the suggestion of some of my friends who said "You should dance at this event, you dance like Shakira". After that I got asked if i wanted to dance at One World. Ironically, the first One World I danced at was sold out and my second performance ever was for an audience of around 350 to 400. *Cringe*.
On the bright side, at least my grams and I had the sense to make a costume and I had seen belly dance (I had discovered Natalia at this point lol)

I'm sharing this story and mild embarrassment because a. We all make mistakes, B. I actually regret NOTHING LOL :lol:, and c. I think it in interesting how we all have individual dance "journeys"....cheesey as that might sound.

So here we have it, My first One World in 2008 and my second performance ever...

For reasons beyond my understanding this led to an offer to teach a class (which I initially turned down, I did have SOME sense LOL) and a couple more offers to perform. Fortunately it was through the offer to teach that I realized I should take it a little more seriously. And it was through the infamous discussion on here that I learned the importance of appropriate labeling lol :p

I taught my first class in fall 2008, I taught my first "caribbean fusion workshop" at the end of summer in 2009 and was offered a job at another studio for fall of 2009. Winter 2010 was my first opportunity to teach an intro belly dance class.

I was also able to drop in on a handful of classes once I started teaching at studios. I had dropped in on a couple of belly dance classes, tribal fusion, salsa, hip hop. While it was probably like 15 classes total that I dropped in on, watching others teach helped a lot. I also went to my first workshop in fall 2009.

So yes, it isn't the ideal dance timeline/journey and it isn't the typical one, but it is what it is. I haven't been fortunate to have the guidance or instruction of a knowledgeable teacher, and I still don't due to where I live. But I have been fortunate enough to receive advice, help, feedback etc from those I've met in person and online who have taken the time and been generous enough to share their knowledge, opinions, encouragement, and help me learn (THANK YOU!!!). I've been fortunate enough to get to workshops and events that give me a weekend saturation of knowledge to help supplement the lack of instruction. I've even been fortunate enough/crazy enough to compete.

Two of my most frequent questions are "how long have you been dancing?" and "who was/is/were/are your instructors?". These are questions I have often wanted to or tried to dodge simply because honest answers often result in disbelief or judgement. In hindsight it was silly of me. As I said we don't all get the same journey and I don't think we should feel shame for what ours has been. I have made many mistakes in dance but I would like to think that I have learned from them. I'm sure I'll make more mistakes, and hopefully I'll learn from those too when it happens.

I actually consider the thread on here from 2009 to be one of the best things that happened to me dance wise. Honestly it was a much needed wake up call and more so, it motivated me to do better. The forum here has been a good resource and support. Thank you to the forum members and the friends I've made.

I have no idea why today I'm so sentimental and emotional about it. Could be that today my Grandma paused and looked at my dance trophies and said "You've done good Cassie, I'm proud of you" and for a moment I just paused and enjoyed it. Or maybe it's just a hormone flux LOL, either way I felt like sharing this little story and posting it.

Here it is 2012. I've got 4 years under my belt, and am into my 5th year, time has flown by it seems. I'm so happy I foolishly got on stage back in 2008 having no clue what I was doing lol and happier that I eventually got a clue LOL:lol: I sometimes pause and get overwhelmed by how much I have to learn still and can't figure out based on my geography how I'll ever learn it all. But that is part of the fun of it. I'm looking forward to getting the chances to learn more.

I performed at my 5th and final One World this year. I decided it was time to "move on" and hope that it motivates and gives other performers the opportunity that it did me.

Now I know how to behave myself ;)

But, I still haven't forgotten how to misbehave:p Just didn't ever think my misbehaving would result in a win LOL

<3 Thanks <3
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New member
You are an awesome dancer and person, Cass! I enjoyed watching your second, and I still enjoy watching your latest vids and I hope you'll only continue and learn more and get even better (and keep misbehaving every now and then, please :lol:).

In the first vid you posted, ok maybe you didn't have a clue, but you definitely had something, and lots more technique and stage presence (!especially stage presence, truckloads of it!) than most of 'those dancers we complain about'. This worked for you and it shows how far you've come, hell, after reading the above I'm happy you got 'here' the way you did and I feel like really just saying "AWWWWWWWWWW!!" and hugging the cr*p out of you :D

<3 (I still think that sign looks like little butt-cheeks...)
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Super Moderator
I 2nd Yshka. You are AWESOME! So glad you had the confidence to just get out there and "do it" - you have bought so much joy to many a dancer & by the way you a several million times better than Shakira will ever be (that's my opinion:D)

Love the baladi vid and the costume is awesome. Keep on keeping on lovely lady.

Sophia Maria

New member
These dances are so cute!!! I've never seen a bellydance/Caribbean fusion, I honestly like what you did there.

I can relate, too--I am also the dancer we all complain about :redface: I am still a student of the dance, but I started a little over 3 years ago by performing! Ack! I started in January of '09, when my best friend asked me to perform a belly dance duet with her in our school's spring show. I performed twice before I even took classes--and the third time was after one and a half months of instruction by my fabulous teacher, who is my teacher to this day. I have video of the first performance, and I avoid it at all costs! :lol: I can see that our movements are kind of loosey-goosey, silly, and unrefined. But similarly, I don't regret a single minute of it. From the instant I was introduced to Arabic music, even my junior year obsession with Shereen :lol:, I wanted to get up there and show how much I felt the music.

I've now been taking class for a while and have really started to refine my dance. Also, since I started class in November of '09 I've tried to learn everything I could about the different types of music, rhythms, culture, history, anything I could get my hands on, to better understand the dance. I think we do indeed have our own "dance journeys". Mine has been at times amazing, informative, and beautiful, and at other times embarrassing, incredibly awkward and confusing. But I repeat myself: don't regret a bit of it. I learned a heck of a lot, including the knowledge that there is still so much left to learn.

Regarding the fusion-country-bd: :clap: I've never pictured those two elements together. That performance just made me smile. I think it's a healthy thing to push the envelope from time to time. Keep on shakin' it like a country girl:D


Thanks for sharing! I like those clips :)

With the first, you didn't call it belly dance, so I don't see anything wrong with it. It's clearly a fusion dance and not belly dance at all.

I can definitely relate to the story, a bit differently, but I started in the 'dark ages' of belly dance in Holland when all we could get was incorrect info*... No internet yet either!

So I have to admit I have sadly given out incorrect info to my students back then. I used to hand out info in print because I liked to have my references right, but alas the references came from the wrong sources. But what do you know if it has been handed out to you by your teachers and everybody in the community teaches the same theories :(

It took a long time for me to get my hands on proper info and that was basically through the internet.

I was lucky that my teachers did teach styles correctly and not mix it up. They did tell where every different type of movement, or combination etc came from and I am so glad for that. Imagine if they had that wrong as well!

I think it is so much easier now for beginning students to get things right from the start :)

*For example the 2000 year old dance orginating from India thing was big in Holland for a long time. And all the backup paperwork we had for that came from books and magazines, we didn't know that was hocus pocus and there was no way to check these references.
BUT this whole idea plus the belly dance in ancient Egypt, dance of the goddesses, fertility dance etc ideas still seem to hang around a bit (still dancers advertise with that)


New member

That was only your second performance ever?!:shok:
I guess some people are just born naturals, you had the moves from the word go!

Thank you for posting this, I've recently been looking at my own dance journey, being someone who also undoubtedly falls into the 'naughtily performed too soon' category. With having a non traditional style currently I also find myself questioning whether the path I'm following is the 'right' path for me. I've also been stuck without regular classes here too, so it's good to know it's possible to 'catch up' with workshops and passion. Although if I could also have a gram of your talent, that'd help too!

I'd be interested to read the discussion that took place on here if anyone can link me to it? Just because more and more I'm finding I want to gain a deeper understanding of what my dancing is and what it could become.

Its lovely to see where you've gone, and encouraging to know that it's possible to follow a dance path thats not necessarily the obvious one. Thanks again!:clap:

Pleasant dancer

New member
Well, we all have to start somewhere. And it's more how we continue that matters. I've loved watching your videos and your dance journey, and admire your honesty and integrity in evaluating your past performances. Some folk never honestly evaluate themselves and I think this is where the problem lies when people perform too soon. It's always too soon, I think, but hell you have to take the plunge sometime, evaluate and continue.

Loved your baladi especially (and the costume!). I like how you incorporated your own special style into it without loosing its essence (I'm a bit of baladi fun actually).

Please don't give up misbehaving occasionally, you do it so well! :lol::clap:
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New member

You know how parents can look at a photo of one of their babies, and instantly tell which one it is, even if they have four kids?

You know how some people can tell where you grew up, just by an accent?

You know how some people can tell who a student studied with, just by the student's moves?

In each one of those cases, the right eye can see that link to now in the past. They can see both the past and the present captured in that moment, and understand how what happened way back influences who and what we are right now.

Seeing that footage of you from "way back" is like that for me. I have probably seen 80% of your posted videos, some many, many times. In that "old" footage, I see past the young girl up there for the 2nd time in her life and I see glimpses of that wonderful woman, that beautiful dancer I have come to know now. It is wonderful for me to see that.

Thank you for sharing!


New member
<3Anala <3

Thank you for the kind words everyone, and for sharing your stories as well.

Confession is good for the soul:D

Farasha Hanem

New member
We all love you so much, Cassandra! Not only for your SUPERAWESOMESAUCE dancing, but for the beautiful person and friend that you are! <3


New member
Thank you, miss Vega! I like both of your videos - for the different reasons.
You are a great dancer!

I had my second performance yesterday and it was not good at all.. So, I read your story and it gives me hope that I can get better too.

Thanks again!