launched her Belly Dance career
just a few short years ago in 2001 and already has become one of Denver's most sought after dancers. She performs in five restaurants throughout Denver and Boulder including Mataam Fez and Phoenicia Grille. Sadie is the featured dancer for Devotchka, a popular band from Denver. She has also been seen with Sherefe and Cabaret Diosa to name a few.
Her studies of Middle Eastern Dance span over several years and to this day she continues to travel and study with some of the world's most renowned dancers and musicians. Her unbelievable strength and flexibility in her hip work continue to amaze fans and audiences and has put her in high demand for teaching her technique. Her talent has taken her to numerous venues throughout Colorado, the West Coast and recently she has graced the stages of some popular Turkish nightclubs in Istanbul. Some of her specialties include Finger Cymbals, Sword, Double Veil, Candles and Drum Solos. Sadie currently works bookings through herself and talent agents. With her dedication and passion for this art form you can expect great things from
At first, my interest in Belly Dancing was of a more physical nature. Since the age of four, I was trained in gymnastics so I knew how to move and contort my body, but the first time I saw a professional Belly Dancer I felt in awe like I had never felt for anything else before. An overwhelming urge grew inside of me. I wanted to make my body do those complex and impossible seeming movements, unknown in any other dance form. I began taking lessons when I turned 19 and it didn't take long before my spark of curiosity turned into a raging fire of love and passion.
My first teachers were the late Pheadra Ameera and Joynan of Denver. Pheadra introduced me to the emotional element of the dance and Joynan gave me the structure and discipline needed to build a foundation to grow from, as well as instill respect for the dance. I soon began seeking out every dancer in Denver, some of my favorites being Eva Cernik and Rooshana. I was obsessed and I wanted to know all the tricks of the trade.
I began performing slowly, student nights here and there at first and after a few years I eventually got my first restaurant job at Mataam Fez in Denver and started taking bookings through a couple of talent agencies. I must say I never intended to make a career out of my favorite hobby but that is exactly what began to happen. The more Belly Dance gigs I did, the more I got. Each job presented me with eager women wanting to learn how to move their bodies like mine (hmmm… that sounds familiar) … so I began to teach!
It was then that I realized an overwhelming sense of responsibility to these women and even more so to the dance. Sure, I could dance but teaching it was a whole new can of worms. Not only did I need to be able to break down my moves, when I myself at times didn't even know what I was doing, but I then had to make another human being understand how I was doing them. Like one of my teachers, Suhaila Salimpour, told me, "There is no such thing as bad students, only bad teachers".
I also had to be prepared and educated to answer questions about Middle Eastern Music and rhythms, Culture, Folklore, History and the origins of Belly Dance. From that day forward I took a very serious stand on how I wanted to convey the reputation of this beautiful and horribly misunderstood art form. A whole new motivation toward the dance emerged in me. My interests were now to educate myself and learn as much about every aspect of this dance as possible. I wanted to become a positive voice along with the other women and men working to see this art form get the respect it rightfully deserves, and for it not to be stereotyped as it wrongfully has been for so long.
It was at that very same time that I had my first workshop with the infamous Suhaila Salimpour. Suhaila gave me a new sense and challenge for what I was capable of in this dance. To this day I continue to take her weeklong workshops and classes at her studio in San Francisco, as well as with other accomplished dancers and musicians, because there is always something new (or old) to learn no matter what stage of the dance you are in.
The ball kept rolling and it wasn't long before I desired to travel to the Middle East. I knew this was a very important step for me in my education and understanding of the culture. I just recently took my 2nd trip to Turkey, with Egypt to come later this year and plans for travels to other Middle Eastern countries in the near future. And let me tell you, 4 ½ weeks in Turkey did more for me than an entire semester in Western Civilization. (I talk more about the countries I have visited on my "Travels" page).
My 1st trip to Turkey was on one of Eva Cernik's "Delightful Turksih Tours" in 2002. It was everything I hoped it would be. We took classes learning to dance to the Turkish 9/8 Karshlima with some really amazing and authentic, Romani, Gypsy dancers. The music of the Karshlima is extremely powerful. Hearing and watching it live with a dancer who could relay that intensity through dance was one of my favorite experiences of the trip! I can now understand why Eva has dedicated her life to this beautiful style of dance, which is quite contrasted to the Egyptian style currently so popular in the United States.
I have also taken up learning to play the Dumbek (pronounced doombeck), a Middle Eastern drum, to further identify myself with the vast number of other Middle Eastern Rhythms. In short I have dedicated myself to becoming a life long student of what I love, and one of my favorite ways to learn is through observation, both through the eyes of the observer and the observed.
To watch different women in all different stages of maturity and life perform on every emotional plane is one of the great gifts this dance has to offer. It is a dance filled with wisdom. It is truly magical! Whether it is how the dance will enrapture both the performer and the audience taking them on a journey to another place and time or whether it is the intrinsic ability of a human being to decipher or express the language of the body. In all its mystery I have enjoyed and appreciated watching these women tell their story as much as I have enjoyed telling mine!
But as in any art form, there is not always a harmonious agreement between artist and observer. Ultimately art is just a mirror for our own thoughts, beliefs and perceptions. Unfortunately we live in a culture that has completely exploited and stigmatized the woman's body as an object of sex, to the point that any expression of our sensuality has come to be taboo, and if it is not social structure, it is the writings and teachings of most holy scriptures that have somehow come to disregard feminine sensual expression as no more than a forbidden desire for carnal sexual pleasure. Thus the Belly Dance continues to be grossly misinterpreted.
Many people may wonder why someone would be so adamant to defend an art form with such a controversial reputation, I can only answer that question for myself, but I think it is safe to say that I am not alone in my reasons! I am not only defending the dance, I am standing up for my innate characteristics as a woman, and my right to express them.
Belly Dance has become the vessel by which I have chosen to take the journey of life, and as I grow into my womanhood, what this dance has taught me and what it symbolizes for myself and for all women becomes more apparent. For me, it is liberation to express myself with no rules or boundaries, and to truly reconnect myself with the feminine essence which I was severed from at the very moment I left the womb! It has given me the insight to reevaluate every thing I have ever learned about what it means to be a woman, for I now see that within the boundaries of social structures and religious parameters , I was only unlearning how to be a woman. And it has taught me not to be afraid of my sexuality, for what my sexuality contains is so powerful that I have been taught to feel ashamed by any expression of it! Now I can only hope to gain the wisdom and the patience to utilize what I have learned, and what I will continue to learn, in all the right ways.
The "Belly Dance" is currently in a state of resurrection. As women continue to fight for their rights and people once again embrace the feminine energy as half a part to the "whole", "The Worlds Oldest Dance" has reawakened! Belly Dance is a magical marriage of the ancient past to the evolving future. Combining the power of a woman's fertility with time, culture and of course, dance! I am happy to say that I have found it in this life time and I can only hope that I will reconnect with it in my next!
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|•||Interview with Sadie By: Brandon Johnson!|
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|•||Cairo Journal: Symphony in Motion? Ancient Tradition? Or Just Tacky?|
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