Essay Contest Winner – Honorable Mention
My Most Memorable Belly Dance Moment
~ by Pam Emerson
My story starts out sad. In October of 2005, my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. To say the least, I was totally devastated. She was only 72 and had always been healthy and vibrant. She belonged to our local hiking club for years. It was at that moment I realized that life has no guarantees and that each day is a precious gift.
I had taken belly dance lessons when I was in my early 20’s and really enjoyed it. Of course, back then we learned the basics and there was only one zill pattern. Needless to say we made our own costumes. I can’t remember why I stopped taking classes, but was alway fascinated with this dance style. As life would have it, between work, husband number one, a child, divorce, husband number two, my life belonged to my loved ones. After learning the fate of my mother, I decided that I wanted to go back to what brought joy to me in the past, belly dancing.I was now retired and my son was an adult and off on his own. My husband was very supportive and encouraged me to pursue dancing again.
I started with DVD’s at home, found out that while I was being away, belly dance had exploded and was not only popular, but it was being taught correctly and in some cases as a fusion. Soon I bought more DVD’s and even signed up for a workshop with Jillina in Los Angeles. I felt like a fish out of water. I knew the terminology, but I was amongst the best and did my best to keep up. She was so sweet, signed an autograph and took a picture with me. I told her that I had planned a trip with my husband to Las Vegas later that month to watch her perform with her group.
I told my mom about my workshop and as ill as she was, she encouraged me to pursue dance and would even ask me questions about it. She was excited that I was going to Las Vegas to see a show. Two weeks later she passed away. I miss her terribly but I know she is watching over me. Anyway to tell you about my memorable belly dancing story. A week later was the Las Vegas show. As hard as it was to do, we still went. My wonderful husband managed to get us a prime booth in front of the stage and halfway through the show, the dancers came from the back to the front to get back on stage. Jillina came down right next to our booth, looked me in the eyes and gave me the biggest smile. It brought tears to my eyes, I felt like the spirit of my Mom touched me with this beautiful woman.
Its been 3 years and I am still dancing and loving every minute of it. With the help of more DVD’s, workshops, local classes, I now dance at shows, local events, fairs and even a couple of private parties. I have met some of the best, besides Jillina, Ansuya, Ava Fleming, Fahtiem just to name a few, and each and everyone of them love what they do and are inspirations to us all.
Photo of Kaya by Brittany Oliphant