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We interrupt our list of Tips for Dancers to bring you a short history of
Starbelly School of Dance.
I believe it was 2009 when Cecilia finally talked me into dancing with her on stage. I am surprised it took so long, because we had met on a dance floor in Palm Springs in 1994 and the first time I visited her in Boise she told me she was going to get me to dance with her on stage. Fifteen years later we danced together at a local showcase. At the time Cecilia was running Full Tilt Belly Dance, booking gigs for local professional belly dancers. We practiced for the show in the back room of New Age shop where Cecilia rented space. Every Monday night she got together with a group of dancers of varying levels and practiced combinations and ran drills. The dancers split the cost of renting the room and it soon expanded into a beginning belly dance class for the less experienced dancers.
I had never been more nervous for something in my life, but after our performance I knew I was hooked. When the New Age store went out of business, I was thrilled to buy their mirrors and floor to convert one of our bedrooms into a mini-studio. And Starbelly School of Dance was born! Cecilia designed more classes for the students that took her beginning class. After I took one class from Cecilia, I took every class I could. Starbelly outgrew our back bedroom surprisingly fast and soon we were renting a room from “Dance is Everything”, a wonderful dance school for kids. It was sharing our studio with them when Starbelly truly took off. It was an amazing time of growth and creativity for us and our students.
When the Boise International Market opened in 2014, it took a few months to work out the details, but they built a wonderful floating dance floor and welcomed us into their supportive and loving community. It was an unforgettable experience to be part of that community, making friends and enjoying incredible food and beverages. Unfortunately, just as we were really coming together as a community and making exciting plans to grow all of our businesses, the Market burned to the ground. We were heartbroken.
Thanks to the generosity of Carpe Danza, we were able to continue our classes uninterrupted. Carpe Danza is a beautiful studio, but we needed our own space to teach all the classes we hoped to teach.
When we left “Dance is Everything” we were able to bring their floating dance floor with us. Since The International Market had just built a great dance floor, we put the floor from “Dance is Everything” in our garage. Having that floor gave us a lot of flexibility about where we could locate our studio.
We rented space in an industrial park in Garden City, excited to join the blossoming “Live Work Create” community there. I think of our time there as our “Eye of the Tiger” years, because the artists moving into the area have not, yet, had much impact on the industrial feel of Garden City. We were promised ample parking for employees and customers, but in the first month we learned that “ample” parking meant 2-3 parking spots per business. Thus began a fight that lasted three years. I can’t express how much I love and appreciate all the students who stuck by us through years of no air-conditioning, a parking minefield, rude, aggressive neighbors and the occasional toxic odor. You have to truly love belly dance to dance under those conditions!
For all our students who have that deep love for belly dance, we want to reward your passion and dedication by naming this September “Starbelly Student Appreciation Month.” We will be announcing all kinds of fun events for this month, starting with “Try Your First Class for Free Week” at our beautiful new location in the Gem Center for the Arts building. Air-conditioning, plenty of parking, nice neighbors, and inspiring art all over the place! Come party with Starbelly in September!