I Belly Dance Because: The Transformative Power of Dance

ibellydanceI Belly Dance Because: The Transformative Power of Dance” is a collection of essays written by dancers across the nation and edited by local professional belly dancer and owner of Rochester International Dance Studio, Terri Allred.

Allred, who dances as “Sadiya,” put a call out to dancers around the world to submit their personal stories, begging answers to the question “How has belly dancing enriched your life?” “I Belly Dance Because” is marked with touching stories from dancers of all ages depicting the delicate balance between the structure of the dance and the creative freedom it provides. Readers may be struck by how many dancers, Allred included, found their way into this beautiful art form while struggling through a difficult time in their lives. “When I walked into my first class…I felt as if I had found ‘my people,’” Allred writes. “I transformed from a woman plagued by injury, self-doubt and low self-esteem to a confident and healthy ‘dancing queen.’”

No doubt more than a reader or two will be intrigued enough by the passion captured in these heartfelt essays to seek out a class and nurture her own need for transformation. Ohio native Anita Lalwani “had no intention of becoming a dancer, a performer, or a teacher. All I wanted was to move. Move my body through the dark space…and get back into the light. Little did I know that belly dance would end up transforming me, and that the transformation would continue to this day.” Today Lalwani teaches belly dance in San Francisco. “I Belly Dance Because: The Transformative Power of Dance” is available on Amazon.com, via Allred’s website at RochesterInternationalDance.com or in her studio.

Sarah Oslund is a freelance writer and the director of communications and public relations at UMR.