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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Keep Asking


By Saqra





"Ask someone until you get an answer that works for you. Reinventing can be a total waste of time."

What is on my mind?

Climbing ropes.

When I was a child we had to climb ropes in physical education class.

I was afraid of heights. Standing on a chair would give me vertigo, and i didn't have much upper body strength. So I developed and strengthened a lifelong fear of using a rope for anything other than tying down a load.

Move forward more than 30 years. I'm now in belly dance class, teaching a group of women very technical, high-stamina, muscle-based power movement. Somehow, the conversation came around to talking about my lack of upper body strength for climbing a rope.

A student looks at me in disbelief and says, "Of course you can!" She then takes a veil and shows me (simulates) how to use my feet. And then she shows me how to use my leg and do simple aerial positions.

I lived my whole life thinking i couldn't do something because i had to guess at instructions and looked at the wrong parts to use. When i actually was given any instructions, they were incorrect: "Pull yourself up with your arms, then pinch the rope with your feet".

It turns out rope climbing was rather easy all along.

"Ask someone until you get an answer that works for you. Reinventing can be a total waste of time."




Now, How Does This Apply to Dance?

Two ways:


When you can't master a movement or position, it is very possible one of the following is why:

  1. You guessed how to do it, and you guessed it wrong.
  2. You received instructions from someone who doesn't actually understand it, or can't explain how to do it (even if they personally do it well).
  3. You actually don't understand what the movement is.

I'm sure there are other possibilities I'm not mentioning, but they all equal misunderstanding.

Solution: Keep trying, using information from someone else.


This underlines the importance of beginning instructors either being truly qualified to teach, or being totally honest with their students and making sure they understand the students are part of the teacher's learning journey.

"This is the move. I think it comes from this leg. How are you doing it? Try this...." Don't try to pretend you know exactly what you are doing as a new teacher. Don't try to hide your inexperience with announcements about driving something from your ischium when that is a useless concept for most of your students.

Your beginning students need to know that you don't know everything because you can cut their journey short when they just don't understand and are unable to use a piece of information.

Your mileage may vary, but mine got much better when I figured out how to go straight up this rock.




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About the Author

Saqra (Seattle, Washington, USA) is a powerful dance artist and a master instructor. Her fluidity, grace, and technical skill is highlighted by her friendly demeanor and clear joy of the dance. She did not inherit the diva gene.

Saqra won titles in Belly Dance USA (Oregon), Belly Dancer of the Year (California), Belly Dancer of the Universe (California), Wiggles of the West (Nevada), and many other competitions. She was voted "Best Kept Secret of 2005" and "Instructor of the Year 2008" by readers of Zaghareet Magazine.

Saqra's journey in this dance form began in 1977 and has led her to study with many of the best dancers in the world, including in America, Canada, Turkey and Egypt. Saqra continues to travel and study both in the USA and abroad and prides herself on proper research for anything she teaches. Folklore, fakelore, and stage creativity: all three are valuable, and Saqra clearly presents for each what they actually are. Saqra is constantly expanding her expertise in the traditional ethnic forms of the dance, the modern stage variants, and the continuing evolving fusion techniques, all these areas combined keep her material fresh and current.

Saqra is widely known as an event promoter, musician, music and instructional video producer, and a registered hypnotherapist in the state of Washington. That is enough stuff to start explaining what she has been doing in belly dance since 1977. Visit her at

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Michael Baxter, Santa Clara, California. In the photo, Saqra is holding her Teacher of the Year 2008 Award from Zaghareet Magazine.

Saqra with Award



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