So far, I don’t keep a separate blog for my belly dancing pursuits, so forgive the momentary intrusion (diversion?)
I study American cabaret style belly dance with Nina Amaya of Towson, MD. I’ve been dancing with Nina’s student troupe, Belly Dance Delight, for the past two years. We perform mostly at local festivals, charity events, and haflas (a hafla is a party/show hosted by the belly dance community usually featuring a mixture of professional and student dancers).
I recently decided to take the next step in my education as a dancer and have begun pursuing solo performance opportunities. So far, I’m sticking with events where it’s appropriate for me to perform as a student. It will be several more years of study before I take the step of putting myself out there as a professional belly dancer, if that’s a step I ever decide to take. I already have one career as a self employed creative artist, one which I have no intentions of ever putting aside. In some ways, having that experience makes it easier to take on a second independent creative profession. In other ways…I know how much emotional and physical energy goes into my work, and I’m not sure I could ever give two creative businesses the attention they deserve. For now, I’m enjoying the challenge of developing my skills and exploring a new way of expressing myself. I’ve always been a fairly quiet, shy person, so finding my inner performer has been quite an adventure so far, and is really helping me grow as a person in new and exciting ways!
Many belly dancers choose a stage name to represent themselves as performers. Choosing something appropriate was something I struggled with for quite a while. Often, the name is Middle Eastern in origin, but part of me felt like as an American, choosing an Arabic name would be taking something that doesn’t belong to me. In my research, I found a list of words used in English that are actually Arabic loan words, and “Alizarin” felt right immediately. As a painter, alizarin is a pigment I use almost every day of my life, and the use of a loan word feels like a good metaphor for an American studying an art form with its deepest roots in the Middle East, but that in its modern form represents a blending and sharing of East and West…not to mention the unnatural shade of crimson hair I’ve taken on as part of my signature style in the past couple of years.
Carnival: A Bellydance Masquerade
Saturday, February 13, 5 pm
232 W. Main St.
(As part of Belly Dance Delight troupe)
All Seasons Hafla (Headliner: TBA)
Sunday, March 7, 4 pm
Kitchen of India
1842 E. Joppa Rd.
Hafla night at Mosaic Cafe (Headliner: Nina Amaya)
Saturday, March 27, 9 pm
8145 Baltimore Ave, # N
College Park, MD