I had a lot of fun in the body confidence break away session at GRRRL Live and I know all of you GRRRL’s did too! There was so much energy and freedom in the room that day. Here is what Yassmin Diab had to share on her experience with teaching us all about the beautiful art of belly dancing:
“What an absolutely incredible opportunity this was, not only to be present for GRRRL Live 2018, but to be a part of teaching a workshop with 2 other bad ass women.
When I approached Kortney after GL17 about teaching a belly dance workshop, I was really doing so on a whim. Kortney didn’t know very much about me outside of being a part of the GRRRL Facebook group, and that I live in Vegas. But she was all for it! How thrilled was I?! A few months later, she emailed me about combining dance workshops to create one MEGA workshop, and that sounded like WAY too much fun to pass up!!
I’ve been a student of Arab Dance for 15 ½ years. I’ve taught various classes and workshops over the past 10. This was by far the most challenging, and the most rewarding.
I say challenging, because I’m used to teaching for an hour to an hour and a half. The structure of this workshop allotted myself and the other two GRRRLS about 35 minutes each. Who doesn’t love a challenge?
Preparing was hard. There is SO much material that I wanted to cover, I overwhelmed myself a bit. I’d go off on crazy tangents, I had well over 3 hours of music to sort through and select. However, with the help of my amazing GRRRL Supporting husband, I got the structure, the material, and the music laid out and ready.
I loved the concept of the workshop, too: Body confidence through movement! Leslie and Iryss both brought incredible classes! Leslie’s twerkshop was super high energy, and had GRRRLS dancing on the walls!! Iryss brought the super sexy chair dancing, strutting, and hair tossing! It was amazing to share time with them.
GL18 was incredible. There were so many important topics discussed over the weekend, I can’t possibly describe all of them with the attention and accolades they deserve. One that did have a profound impact on me was the Intersectional Feminism talk and the Panel. This tied directly into my portion of the workshops the next day: as a white woman who studies, performs, and teaches Arab dance, I am always conscious about cultural appropriation. I don’t want to pick and choose bits and pieces of the dance, leave the rest, and claim it as my own. I have the utmost respect and love for Arab culture. I study with Arab musicians, dancers, and teachers. This dance is someone’s culture. I have a responsibility to educate my students about it. Even if it’s something as brief as making a statement about where the dance originates from before diving into movement, or using as many of the Arabic terms for movements as possible.
Having the opportunity to not only educate the incredible GRRRLS who took the class about the origins of one of the oldest dance forms in the world. And also sharing my passion, and hopefully help impart a bit of the confidence that studying dance has granted me, has been an incredible experience. Every single GRRRL present did an amazing job picking up the minute and a half routine I presented. I couldn’t be more proud and more humbled to have been a part of this incredible event. I hope there will be opportunities in the future for me to do this again, and again, and again!! ”
Changing the game one GRRRL at a time