Raq Star!

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Starbelly School of Dance recognizes a student monthly( excluding June, March, December and September) who have shown outstanding dedication to learning the art of Raqs Sharki (belly dance) &  has shown great levels of support to the school and their fellow students.

Starbelly “Raq Star” of the month is nominated by members of the Starbelly Dancers, the premiere performing group of Starbelly School of Dance. They are awarded a $20 gift card to the school, along with being recognized for their wonderfulness!

Starbelly School of Dance is honored to show our larger community the wonderful dancers we have at the school.

Jaki Katz Ashford Raqs Star August 2017

How long have you been taking class at the school? What made you want to start?:

I started taking classes with Cecilia and Chad at Starbelly in late September of 2016. I have a back ground in various styles of dance and have been involved in dance over my entire lifetime. Bellydance is a form of dance that Ive always been interested in, but was, to be honest, a bit afraid of learning. While in my 30’s, I took a few classes in Philadelphia, but didn’t have the confidence to pursue it further. Having known Cecilia and Chad socially for awhile and having attended Starbelly performances over the past few years, I felt it was time to give it an honest try. I think Bellydance is magical and I’m in awe of highly skilled and ethereal performers who dance it so beautifully!

What has been the biggest surprise or discovery about yourself from taking classes at Starbelly School of Dance? How have you changed?:

The biggest surprise for me is that I am actually able to shed my old ingrained dance reflexes and learn a new dance style. This may sound crazy but Im impressed with the fact that I can actually do things I did not think I could ever do. Something as simple as my dancing in nearly bare feet amazes me.  And I love new my tribe of wonderful, welcoming and talented humans.  At the end of a challenging day truly I look forward to spending time immersed in dance and working with my friends through unity and cooperation to create dance.

What are your aspirations with dance? Goals? Dreams?:

My goal is to learn and grow….and have fun!!  And If there’s more than that in my dance future, it will be the “icing on the cake”. For me dance has always been a lifestyle. One cannot become instantly accomplished. And I know as a beginner in Bellydance, and someone of a more advanced age than a typical student, the learning will be as important as the goal. So, I will continue with my classes and enjoy the experience.

Tell us about yourself.:

Ive been an artist for my entire life and a professional artist for my entire adult life. I love (of course) dance, hiking, skiing and outdoor activities.  I also equally love music, art, animals, gardening and my fast car. I was and raised in Philadelphia, have lived in many different states and have done a significant amount of traveling at home and abroad.

What do you do for a living? Where do you work? Are you in school, and if so where? What is your education?:

I was a professional sculptor in the collectible industry for 38 years. Technically Im retired, but since artists retire when they expire, I’m involved in all sorts of art initiatives in Boise and beyond.  I have an extensive bio and will not waste your life with it now! Ha!

Whats your favorite things to do? Whats your favorite season? Your favorite thing about living in the Treasure Valley? Favorite food?:

I moved to Boise 9 years ago and love pretty much everything about it except for cottonwood trees and  14.5 y.o. drivers with learners permits! I’m particularly fond of autumn, although springtime here is very nice too. I love love that Boise is enough of a city if you want the arts or some action, and so very close to the wilderness.

What is something interesting about you? Any hobbies, Fun facts?:

There is absolutely nothing interesting about me…oh yeah! I study Bellydance at Starbelly!

What’s your favorite music? Favorite movie? Favorite book?:

I have very diverse taste in music, literature and films but always prefer a good Tarantino film to a fluffy comfy chick flick. Although food isn’t my obsession of choice the one thing I do miss living here is being able to order a tongue sandwich or whitefish in a real Jewish Deli.

Do you have any Pets? Are you a Dog or Cat person?:

I have a Tibetan Spaniel named Tashi ( which means “Lucky” in Tibet) but I never call him by his formal name. Shmoopie, Mr.Fluffy Pants and Moo will get his attention.I love all animals (minimals and maximals) including Cats, dogs, birds, horses, elephants, raccoons…..etc.

Laura Wike Raqs Star of the month July 2017

How long have you been taking class at the school? What made you want to start?:

I’ve been taking classes at Starbelly for about 2 years. When I started I was fairly new to the Boise area, and exploring a variety of activities in my new community. Bellydance sounded like it would be fun to try!

What has been the biggest surprise or discovery about yourself from taking classes at Starbelly School of Dance? How have you changed?:        

My biggest discovery is how much I’m enjoying the opportunity to explore my creative and artistic side through dance.

What are your aspirations with dance? Goals? Dreams?: 

Right now I’m having fun trying out the different styles of bellydance. My current goal is to continue working on “layering” of the basic dance moves and technique in general.

Whats your favorite things to do? Whats your favorite season? Your favorite thing about living in the Treasure Valley? Favorite food?:

I enjoy outdoor activities like dog walking, hiking and camping. Fall is my favorite season. It’s difficult to pick just one favorite thing about living in the Treasure Valley- this area has so much to offer!

What is something interesting about you? Any hobbies, Fun facts?:

I volunteer at the Idaho Humane Society. My primary activities there include the dog temperament testing team, the Inmate Dog Alliance Project of Idaho and fostering dogs.

Do you have any Pets? Are you a Dog or Cat person?:

I’ve had dogs for most of my life so that may make me more of a “dog person”, although I like a wide variety of animals. In previous stages of my life I’ve lived with a cat, pet rats and horses.

Brittany Cronen Raqs Star of the Month May 2017

How long have you been taking class at the school? What made you want to start?:

I have been taking classes since late August 2016. I have always had an interest in belly dance and decided to see the Starbelly Dancers at Goddess Fest last year to determine if I thought the school would be a good fit for me. I was completely blown away by the performance and the rainbow vibes, so I decided that I was going to sign up!

What has been the biggest surprise or discovery about yourself from taking classes at Starbelly School of Dance? How have you changed?:

I have become a lot more comfortable with myself and feel more at peace in life. I love coming to class and spending time with my Starbelly family! It makes any stress or anxiety melt away!

Tell us about yourself.:

I am a Native Alaskan born and raised in Soldotna, Alaska! Before meeting my husband and moving to Boise, I lived in Seattle for four years. I love Boise because I feel like it is the perfect blend between those two cities.

Whats your favorite things to do? Whats your favorite season? Your favorite thing about living in the Treasure Valley? Favorite food?:

I think my favorite things to do would be read and play video games, and of course, dance! I love fall the most out of all the seasons, and I love Treasure Valley because it gives me a beautiful autumn! My all-time favorite food is pizza, because pizza can be anything you want and it is also incredibly delicious.

Do you have any Pets? Are you a Dog or Cat person?:

I am an all animal person, but cats are my favorite. If there’s a cat around, I’m going to try to pet it! I’m also convinced that they can understand me ever since I was bit on the arm by a cat when I was nine. I’m pretty sure it passed some of its feline wisdom over to me.

Any other comments?:

I just want to say that I am so glad that I took the plunge and joined Starbelly School of Dance! It has impacted my life in many positive ways and I am very grateful. I hope to keep dancing and growing there for many years to come!

 

Nathan Mandigo Raqs Star of the Month April 2017

How long have you been taking class at the school? What made you want to start?:

Considering I have no sense of time, I think it’s been 3 1/2 or 4 years.

My wife Leslie started taking classes about a year before I did and she very much enjoyed the dance and camaraderie of the school and from time to time encouraged me to try it. I finally decided to start taking classes after seeing a student salon and realizing how amazing belly dance is for maintaining core strength, something that is key to long term health.

What has been the biggest surprise or discovery about yourself from taking classes at Starbelly School of Dance? How have you changed?:

My biggest surprise was realizing I could dance. I grew up in an environment that discouraged dance and I always thought I was too awkward to actually move my body in a dance like fashion.

I have learned to laugh at myself, a lot. In learning to dance the realization that you cannot take yourself seriously and have fun and get better at dance was huge and liberating. I love the freedom to screw up and just go, “oh well, I’ll get it next time”, even if next time is 20 times away.

What are your aspirations with dance? Goals? Dreams?:

I have no clear aspirations with dance other than to have fun and enjoy the physical benefits and strength that dance engenders. If I were to name one goal/dream, it would be to have the strength and coordination to do a layback all the way to the floor and back to standing.

Tell us about yourself.:   

I have been in Boise for 21 years now and grew up in North Idaho near a tiny little town called Priest River which is near Sandpoint (way, way north to most Boiseans who seem to always think of McCall as north Idaho).

I am a complete and total information nut. I read anything and everything I can because I can. I have been called a walking encyclopedia and can pull up random tidbits of information to suit almost any circumstance. A surprise to many people is that I am a complete introvert and that groups and crowds exhaust me which is why I like to spend time alone or with people I know and have come to trust.

What do you do for a living? Where do you work? Are you in school, and if so where? What is your education?:

In my present professional incarnation, I am an Amma Bodywork Therapist which is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Amma Bodywork utilizes the energy systems in the body to bring about balance and health. I deal a lot with injuries to the energy system, which can be physical, emotional, mental, etc, as those are all different aspects of energy. My office is at Pulse Holistic Health in Boise’s north end.

I say professional incarnation as I have also been a barista, plant nursery yard hand, insurance salesperson, and engineer. I am unfortunately educated and have a degree in electronics, business management, and the training program to become an Amma Bodyworker.

Whats your favorite things to do? Whats your favorite season? Your favorite thing about living in the Treasure Valley? Favorite food?:

I like to be outside and enjoy nature. Because I like to watch how the world changes and shifts, I enjoy all seasons, each for their own aspects of energy and life. The Treasure Valley is an interesting place and I honestly never thought I would live here as long as I have, but the aspect that has kept me here is people. The Boise area is one of the friendliest places I have ever lived.

Food? Yes Please! There are a small number of things my body doesn’t like, but honestly, any food prepared with love is fine by me.

What is something interesting about you? Any hobbies, Fun facts?:

I honestly don’t know what is interesting about me, I just am who I am and have never tried to understand what makes someone interesting. Or more honestly, I have tried and nothing made any sense, so I gave up… lol!

As for hobbies, besides being an information nut, I love rocks. Everywhere I have travelled a rock has come home with me. I just started getting a little more serious with rocks and now have a tumbler and am looking at what else I can do with the many, many rocks that have accumulated in my collection over the years.

I suppose I could throw plants in as a hobby as well. There are currently 47 plants in my house and I have been told I really can’t add anymore because we are running out of space. I love to take care of plants, photograph plants, be around plants, I used to proudly say I was a tree hugger until I learned it was a derogatory term.

Whats your favorite music? Favorite movie? Favorite book?:

I listen to all types of music, with the noticeable exception of modern country and pretty much all American folk music. No favorite movie, but I no longer watch anything very violent or dramatic, they just don’t appeal. And how can I pick a favorite book when there are still several million I haven’t read yet?

Do you have any Pets? Are you a Dog or Cat person?:

My kitty George Harrison Mandigo is the only pet I have at this time. He was part of a litter of kittens named in honor of the Fab 4 by the lady who we got him from, and since Beatles music is well loved in our house, the name was kept. I am decidedly a cat person, I don’t mind dogs, and they like me, but I prefer living with cats.

Any other comments?:   

In looking through my pictures I realized the only real photo I have of myself is my professional head shot that I use for my business web page. I thought about putting up a picture of a flower instead, but couldn’t choose just one or the hundreds I have taken.

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Raqs Star of the Month February 2017: Sonya Pulgado

How long have you been taking class at the school? What made you want to start?:            

I have been in classes since January 6th 2015, that’s about a year and a month so far…What made me want to start was a friend who encouraged me, who knew i really wanted to try belly dancing who knew Cecilia Rinn. And my friend surprised me with a birthday present which happened to be a free introduction to belly dance class at Starbelly!!

What has been the biggest surprise or discovery about yourself from taking classes at Starbelly School of Dance? How have you changed?:

That I could actually do it. I am becoming a better listener and learner.

Tell us about yourself.:

Belly dancing is something I can say that I do that I am proud about. Its like a social entrance for change or an awesome gateway to growth!!! Dancing here has even increased my learning skills around here.

Whats your favorite things to do? Whats your favorite season? Your favorite thing about living in the Treasure Valley? Favorite food?:

I like laughing, learning, coming up with new ideas for art projects,& making stuff. My favorite season is spring..My favorite food today is marinated tempeh!!

What is something interesting about you? Any hobbies, Fun facts?:

 Something interesting about me is that I can twist my arm around an entire 360 degrees, making the elbow look like its bending backwards. A hobby: I play the guitar and sing..This year I turned 33 on the 3rd of January!!

Whats your favorite music? Favorite movie? Favorite book?:

I favor a lot of different music, getting more interested in “taqsim” but for easiest type of music to play on guitar and people to chill with this year so far has been metal for the friendship, family, and gatherings. My favorite books is a toss between My Dumb Dirty Eyes by Lisa Hanawalt and the entire Toltec spiritualist and neoshamanistic series of books by Don Miguel Ruiz.

Do you have any Pets? Are you a Dog or Cat person?:

 Yes..I am actually a dog pretending to be a cat

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Courtney Hatten Raqs Star of the Month Jan. 2017

How long have you been taking class at the school? What made you want to start?:

Almost 2 years I’ve always wanted to try belly dancing

What has been the biggest surprise or discovery about yourself from taking classes at Starbelly School of Dance? How have you changed?:

 I had confidence before but after i started belly dancing i have alot more of and I’m more aware of how my body moves

What are your aspirations with dance? Goals? Dreams?: 

To move on to more dance classes and eventually maybe become a Starbelly dancer

Tell us about yourself.: 

I love Belly dancing and going to see the Starbelly dancers perform also i love helping out with anime conventions

What do you do for a living? Where do you work? Are you in school, and if so where? What is your education?:

I’m a massage therapist working to find a job and i graduated from massage school

Whats your favorite things to do? Whats your favorite season? Your favorite thing about living in the Treasure Valley? Favorite food?:

Belly dancing, anime conventions,

Watching t.v. going on-line listening to music. favorite seasons?

Fall & winter I have a lot of favorite foods i don’t want to put it down

What is something interesting about you? Any hobbies, Fun facts?:

I help out with anime conventions, hanging out with friend’s, listening to music,

What’s your favorite music? Favorite movie? Favorite book?: 

My favorite music is everything except country and classical music i love a lot of movies and books so won’t put it down

Do you have any Pets? Are you a Dog or Cat person?: 

I have no pets but I’m mostly a cat person

Any other comments?:   

I love belly dancing because I’ve met a lot of great friend’s


20160826_174429ARaqs Star of the Month November 2016 Tina Schilling 

How long have you been taking class at the school? What made you want to start?:

I started taking classes in January of 2015. Just prior to taking classes I was having a conversation with some friends about bucket lists, challenging ourselves to do something we had never done before. A Living Social opportunity presented it’s self and I seized the opportunity to do something outside of my comfort zone. I walked into the studio that first time and I was nervous as a lot of people were taking that first class together, but I was by myself, but it didn’t matter. I was hooked.

What has been the biggest surprise or discovery about yourself from taking classes at Starbelly School of Dance? How have you changed?:

While I have often been the oldest student in class, it doesn’t matter your age when it comes to belly dancing. I realize I have some physical limitations, but I have also have discovered that my body can do amazing things that I wasn’t aware of. I love how much belly dancing isn’t limited by age and physical stature. I, like so many others have learned new acceptance of my body with it’s scars and curves. In this particular style of dance all bodies are beautiful and is only limited by the limits you put on your self. I think for me the biggest change has been internal where my confidence has grown not only with dance but in other areas of my life. There is an amazing culture that I am so lucky to be a part of and the people I have met along the way continue to enrich my life.

What are your aspirations with dance? Goals? Dreams?:

To keep challenging myself as much as I can. The first time I saw Tribal performed, it blew me away and I knew that one day I wanted to be able to learn it. I am currently taking Tribal and sometimes I struggle and get discouraged but there are so many supportive people at Starbelly and I realize I am learning something new. My goal is to learn Tribal and perform it with confidence with my fellow students and dancers.

Tell us about yourself.:

I am an Idaho native and have lived all over the country as well as outside of the country. I am a mother of two and a grandmother of three beautiful girls who live too far away. I served in the Army for 7 years (lived in Germany twice). I like to make people laugh and sometimes I am kind of funny. I like order and would love to have my house more organized, it’s a constant struggle. As I have gotten older I am more out going and when I recently attended my 40th High School reunion, people were amazed how much I have changed.

I have been married to a wonderful man for the last 12 years and he has been nothing but supportive, encouraging, and my biggest fan when it comes to belly dancing.

What do you do for a living? Where do you work? Are you in school, and if so where? What is your education?:

I am an office specialist at the Idaho Commission for Libraries. I have always loved books and this is a natural fit for me. I support reading programs for public libraries that are administered at a state level. I work on young children’s programs and teens as well. We also  administer the Federal program for the blind and visually impaired. I really love my job knowing I am making a difference in people’s lives through literacy.

What’s your favorite things to do? What’s your favorite season? Your favorite thing about living in the Treasure Valley? Favorite food?:

I love Spring and Fall as the colors are beautiful and I do love snow in the mountains as I grew up in northern Idaho.

Besides belly dancing, I really enjoy cooking when it can get involved. It’s something my husband and I enjoy doing together and it’s an event for us and we love experimenting with different flavors, textures and types of foods. I love a good steak and potato or Asian food.

My favorite thing about living in the Treasure Valley is how things are spread apart but close at the same time,the increasing diversity of the population and there are so many things to do in the area but it’s not overly populated.

What is something interesting about you? Any hobbies, Fun facts?:

My hobbies include a lot of crafting, i.e. quilting, knitting, jewelry making, canning jams and salsa’s to give as gifts. I do play golf but not very well, but it’s fun just the same.

Fun facts??? Mmm one summer I worked in a cemetery and I learned how to use the backhoe and dug graves. I worked at the Canyon County jail for a year in the booking area, that was interesting indeed. I went skydiving on my 50th birthday and would love to do it again.

Whats your favorite music? Favorite movie? Favorite book?:

I love all sorts of music from Andrea Bocelli to Diana Krall to Luke Bryan to Sam Smith to Dave Matthews to Middle Eastern music. Do I have to explain the different types? I am pretty diverse in my music tastes, but I think that comes from being exposed to so many different types while I was in the Army.

My favorite movie is An Officer and a Gentleman which came out 1982. It wasn’t so much about the romance part as it was Richard Gere’s character overcoming the odds against him and doing the right thing. I have other movies that I have enjoy and are up there as well, but I never get tired of this one.

My favorite book is whichever one I am currently reading. I did the Goodreads book challenge this year and I am currently at 29 out of 30. I have always been a fiction fan, but I have actually started reading more nonfiction.

Do you have any Pets? Are you a Dog or Cat person?:

I am definitely a cat person. I have just one now but recently lost one. I like dogs as well but they are a lot of responsibility and they need lots of room which I don’t have at the moment. Someday I hope to add a dog to my family.

Any other comments?:

I have grown physically and spiritually as a result of the decision to try belly dancing and I haven’t regretted for a moment. My life is so much richer now with dance and the beautiful souls I get to share it with.

 

Screen-Shot-2016-09-25-at-2.16.44-PMOctober 2016 Raqs Star of the Month  Sadie Shipton 

How long have you been taking class at the school? What made you want to start?:

I’ve been taking classes with Starbelly for a little over a year and a half, if I remember correctly. They were offering a class at my high school as part of an after school program, and I thought it would be neat to try out. Our class was so small! In the end we only had 2 people in the class, but it was a fun enough for me to want to continue bellydancing.

What has been the biggest surprise or discovery about yourself from taking classes at Starbelly School of Dance? How have you changed?:

I suppose the biggest surprise for me, really, is finding that my body can move in ways I don’t expect it to! I never regarded myself as an especially capable person when it comes to things like dancing– in fact I am almost solidly certain I’m bad at any other dancing that isn’t goofy line-dances. It’s encouraging to know I have the ability to do more than I expect, though.

What are your aspirations with dance? Goals? Dreams?:

At this point, my main goal for dance is to do it as long as I can, and keep having fun with it! I don’t see it leaving my life anytime soon, and I’m happy about that.

Tell us about yourself.:

I’m 17 years old and have lived in Boise all my life. It’s been very fun to watch the city change as I grow up! My main interests are music and art, and I love to travel.

What do you do for a living? Where do you work? Are you in school, and if so where? What is your education?:

I’m currently a senior in high school, at Idaho Fine Arts Academy. As the name suggests, it’s an arts school– I’m in the visual arts department, drawing and painting and all that jazz. I actually have a class right now devoted to working on a portfolio for college! It’s a lot of work, but I hope to have a career in art, so it’s all worthwhile.

Whats your favorite things to do? Whats your favorite season? Your favorite thing about living in the Treasure Valley? Favorite food?:

I really do love drawing and painting, it’s safe to say a good amount of my time involves art of some sort. I’ve been experimenting with gouache paints recently, though my favorite mediums for now are watercolor and digital.

I also love fall! The cool-down from summer is very nice, and I will always be a fan of thunder storms and the like.

As for food I tend to lean towards comfort meals. Chicken pot pie and lasagna are 2 of my favorites.

What is something interesting about you? Any hobbies, Fun facts?:

I sing and play the ukulele! Often times together, though I am guilty of singing around the house when no one is home. I usually play at family parties, or bring it with me to school every now and then. I have yet to be told it’s annoying, so I take that as a good sign!

Whats your favorite music? Favorite movie? Favorite book?:

When it comes to music my tastes can be a little all over the place– still, some favorites include: Glass Animals, Andrew Bird, Mother Mother, Beirut, Chance the Rapper, Hiatus Kaiyote, the Indigo Girls– just a lot of stuff.

One of my favorite movies is an animated French film called the Illusionist! It’s a very sweet but sad story, with beautiful art to boot.

Favorite book is a hard one… I’d have to say one that’s at least in my top 3 is the Riddle Master of Hed trilogy. I wouldn’t even call myself a huge fan of fantasy novels, but I can assuredly say that I will always love these books.

Do you have any Pets? Are you a Dog or Cat person?:

My family has 2 dogs, Lotte and Phoebe, both yellow labs. Lotte is just about the goofiest dog you’ll meet, but a sweetie nonetheless. Phoebe is still a puppy, and is a bit of a terror at the moment. At least she’s cute though!

 Any other comments?:

I’m just glad to be able to continue dancing with you all!

20160730_202940-1September 2016 Raqs Star of the Month Krina Stewart !

How long have you been taking class at the school? What made you want to start?

I started at Starbelly School of Dance a year and a half ago. I was in my final semester of graduate school and was looking for activities to incorporate into my life for self-care. An out-of-state friend, who had been belly dancing for several years, posted a link to an article about the benefits of belly dance. As I read the article I felt like it was exactly what I was looking for! Self-confidence, body acceptance, exercise, and fun – what else could I ask for? So I signed up and haven’t regretted it for a moment.

What has been the biggest surprise or discovery about yourself from taking classes at Starbelly School of Dance? How have you changed?:

One of the biggest changes is how I view myself. I have learned to love and appreciate my body exactly the way that it is and for the incredible things that it can do. It has opened my mind to the way that we are all unique, beautiful, capable beings. I feel my confidence has grown every time I risked stepping outside of my comfort zone. I have felt more connected to myself, as well as the people and world around me. I didn’t expect such deep and intimate changes, but have been amazed at how strongly belly dancing has impacted me. Starbelly School of Dance, the instructors, and the other dancers create a safe and supportive community that allows for really powerful growth. I’m so grateful that I walked into the studio that first time.

What are your aspirations with dance? Goals? Dreams?:

My primary goal with dance is to continue to learn and grow as a person and as a dancer. Looking back on how far I’ve come already, I get excited thinking about all the possibilities the future holds for me as a dancer. I would like to incorporate more regular dance practice and drills into my everyday life, and I am beginning to explore how to do so. Right now, I’m looking forward to participating in the Delilah and H.O.T. workshop coming up next month. What a great opportunity!

Tell us about yourself.: 

I was born in Europe and spent a good amount of my early childhood there and traveling. I’ve lived in Boise for approximately 11 years now, which still shocks me sometimes. I really enjoy Boise, especially the close proximity to so many members of my very large family. I’m an Army combat veteran, which is part of what allowed me to go to school for my current career. I have a M.A. in Counseling and work for the State of Idaho as a Mental Health Clinician. I really enjoy the challenge of it, and find it both interesting and rewarding.

 

Whats your favorite things to do? Whats your favorite season? Your favorite thing about living in the Treasure Valley? Favorite food?:       

I love to read and I make sure to find time for my books every day. I like a lot of different types of food. My favorite is probably Greek food, which has been a part of my family’s menus as long as I can remember. My favorite seasons are Spring and Fall. I love the transition period when there are so many changes happening and the world seems to be much more vibrant. Flowers blooming in Spring, leaves changing colors in Fall…I love it.

What is something interesting about you? Any hobbies, Fun facts?:

I’m a glassblower and love being able to work in such a creative and unique medium. No matter how often I work with it, glass never seems to lose its appeal. Just like my favorite seasons, there’s something about the light, colors, and vibrancy that gets to me when I look at colored glass. And glassblowing itself is so elemental and powerful. I can’t get enough of it.

I also love to plan and organize – I could spend hours in an office supply store! I love to figure out how to manage things and am a big fan of efficiency. If I were a superhero, I would probably be Efficiency Woman! I think I’ll start working on that costume…

Whats your favorite music? Favorite movie? Favorite book?:

I like so many different types of music and feel that music has a strong connection to my mood, so my favorites change constantly. I enjoy rock, alternative, pop, and punk genres of music. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Florence + the Machine, NOFX, Less then Jake, Sara Bareilles, and Jason Mraz. I like romantic comedies and watch How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days every time I put my Christmas tree up (even though it’s not a Christmas movie). I watch more TV shows than movies these days, and love Gilmore Girls, Supernatural, and The Walking Dead. I read a lot, most of which are fiction with a romance or supernatural/fantasy theme.

Do you have any Pets? Are you a Dog or Cat person?:

I have a 7-year-old Yorkshire Terrier named Jewell who has been with me since she was 9 weeks old; she is basically the queen of everything. She’s a momma’s girl and prefers to be next to me as often as she can, or at least when she’s not chasing squirrels and birds out of our yard. I love most animals, but am definitely more of a dog person than anything else.

Any other comments?:

I’m so excited to continue dancing with such an amazing school!

JessMagers2016August 2016 Raqs Star of the Monh Jessica Bennett

How long have you been taking class at the school? What made you want to start?:

I’ve been taking classes with Cecilia and Chad since the end of 2011. I’d been interested in belly dance for just about my whole adult life but managed to put it off until one day, a Groupon showed up in my email like a divine intervention… and here we are now.

What has been the biggest surprise or discovery about yourself from taking classes at Starbelly School of Dance? How have you changed?:

What surprised me most, was how damn hard bellydance is. Specifically, layering and isolating. I’ve discovered, just this year, that I actually do have a diaphragm and it feels quite different when it’s used in dance instead of faked. As far as how I’ve changed with dance, It’s kind of vague, but my self-confidence, which I didn’t really feel was lacking, has gotten a bit more stable. I’m a bit more self-accepting. Just a bit.

What are your aspirations with dance? Goals? Dreams?

 I love dancing and I just want to dance regularly. I would love to find a way to work 30 minutes of dance drills into my mornings. Seems like a short order, but without a structured class, I find everything else to distract me. Perhaps a morning skype class could go into development…

Tell us about yourself.:

I’ve been in Boise for about 5 years. I’m originally from Wisconsin, but I’ve spent more than half of my life in the west. I love Idaho and I really enjoy being here. My husband and I have been married for 10 years and we have a nice little home in west Boise with a huge yard and 2 fat bullies. I have more hobbies and interests than I have time to pursue. I volunteer with Boise Bully Breed Rescue and I love to travel. I have a good life and I am very grateful.

What do you do for a living? Where do you work? Are you in school, and if so where? What is your education?:

I am a voice talent. Voice over has been my full time career since 1999 and I am self-employed. My company is the Voice Goddess. A lot of the work I do is corporate; like IVR phone systems and eLearning/training projects. I do some Broadcast work, although none has been in the Boise market. I’m also a voice over coach with Such A Voice, which is a voice over training and demo producing company back east. I’m newer at a coaching/teaching, and find myself applying teaching-technique that I learned right here in class. Help students without tearing them down. It’s harder than I thought it would be. I’ve actually found improvement in my own voice over technique, in the process of teaching others.

Whats your favorite things to do? Whats your favorite season? Your favorite thing about living in the Treasure Valley? Favorite food?:

I love to cook, I love to eat! Spicy food is my favorite and I’ve only had one meal in my life that was so hot I thought I’d have a heart attack. Bring it on, the hotter the better.

Fall and winter are my favorite seasons, but I’m beginning to appreciate spring and it’s awakening quality.

Boise is the perfect size city. It has a little of everything, but not so large as to overwhelm. I like that outdoor recreation is so close and I’m shocked at what a belly dance mecca, Boise is.

What is something interesting about you? Any hobbies, Fun facts?:

Besides dance, I’m a martial artist, although I’ve not been active in it in years. I’ve studied Ju Jitsu, karate, Chen style Tai Chi, Ken Jitsu, Yawara and a tiny bit of Aikido. My favorite of all is throwing and being thrown, but not by the new students. My least favorite was wrestling with the smelly guys. Sometimes I have throwing dreams.

Whats your favorite music? Favorite movie? Favorite book?:

Favorite music is rock and roll, baby. I love Pink Floyd, John Hyatt, Joan Jett and Van Halen. My first concert was Barry Manilow, but it was quickly followed up with David Lee Roth. I could listen to Bernadette Peters and Luther Vandross sing all day long. My favorite movie is tied; Young Frankenstein and Fargo. My favorite movie scene is Cloris Leachman in Young Frankenstein with her outrageous German accent saying, “stay close to de candles… da staircase is twetcherous…” I’m cracking up just thinking about it. The book that affected me most is Atlas Shrugged.

Do you have any Pets? Are you a Dog or Cat person?:

I have 2 dogs. Hank is a Pitbull and Ruby is a Bulldog mix. They are lovely creatures and I adore them.

Any other comments?:

Keep teaching dance and I’ll keep coming to dance.

 

20150925_192312July 2016 Raqs Star of the Month Virginia Tyberg

 

How long have you been taking class at the school? What made you want to start?:

I’ve been taking classes at Starbelly School of Dance since January 2015. I first saw the Starbelly Dancers perform at the Renaissance Festival in Eagle during the Fall of 2014. I was impressed and in awe. Later that year I came across a Groupon deal for discounted introduction to belly dance classes at the school and recognized that it was connected to the same troupe I saw in the Fall. I had always been fascinated by the dance style and felt it was something I could possibly do if I could only learned how to move my curvy hips like belly dancers could. I was nervous but determined to step out of my comfort zone. I’ve never regretted doing so.

What has been the biggest surprise or discovery about yourself from taking classes at Starbelly School of Dance? How have you changed?:

It may sound cliché but I discovered that “beauty” is more diverse than what our society wants us to believe. Like most people, I have struggled to love and accept my body as it is. Even when I verbally expressed that I was fine with how I looked, there was still shame inside. I just knew how to ignore it so I could fit into that social role of a proud, confident person who doesn’t allow another person’s judgement define who they are. During my time at the school I have seen men and women of different ages, body shapes and sizes who are all there to simply enjoy dance and appreciate that their bodies allows them to express their joy. My body jiggles in many places. My body hair is often very dark in areas where my skin tone is very light. My legs are short, my thighs are large, my ankles are skinny and my feet are wide. I have stretch marks and scars and my skeleton sticks out a lot more in certain places than what would be considered “normal”. But this is my body and it brings me joy when I dance. There is no more hidden shame.

What do you do for a living? Where do you work? Are you in school, and if so where? What is your education?:

I work full time as a Quality & Reliability Technician at Micron. I have an Associate of Science in Web Development and was pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biology (I’m taking a much needed break from school). Once I do return to school I plan to focus my studies in zoology, herpetology, animal anatomy and/or animal behavior.

What is something interesting about you? Any hobbies, Fun facts?:

I’m a proud nerd of many genres. I love science, video gaming, fantasy art, everything that is dark romantic/Victorian Goth, and animals (especially cats and reptiles). Whenever I learn something new in a field I’m passionate about, I literally get giddy. This is why I openly admit that I’m a nerd and I happily embrace it. I couldn’t hide that fact and act aloof even if I tried.

Whats your favorite music? Favorite movie? Favorite book?:

I can never decide on just one…

Industrial music: Angelspit, Aesthetic Perfection, Combichrist, Coal Chamber, Depeche Mode, Fear Factory, Grendel, Icon of Coil, KMFDM, Marilyn Manson, Mindless Self Indulgence, Nine Inch Nails, Rammstein, Razed in Black, Static-X, Suicide Commando, Velvet Acid Christ, VNV Nation, and Wumpscut.

Movies:

The Princess Bride, Edward Scissorhands, Interview with the Vampire, The Nightmare Before Christmas, 12 Monkeys, Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), Repo! The Genetic Opera, Old Boy (original 2003 Korean version), Memento, and Sin City.

Favorite Books:

The Princess Bride and any Anne Rice from the Vampire Chronicles.

Do you have any Pets? Are you a Dog or Cat person?:    

I’m more of a cat person than a dog person but I’m also a reptile and insect person. Between me and my equally nerdy husband we have… (Scientific names listed for fellow biology nerds) three cats (Felis catus), two leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius), a ball python (Python regius), a corn snake (Pantherophis guttatus), six tarantulas (I will list them below), a bold jumping spider (Phidippus audax), a colony of Dubia roaches (Blaptica dubia)  and a bee hive (Apis mellifera).

tarantulas: Brazilian Black Tarantula (Grammostola pulchra), Bengel Ornamental (Poecilotheria miranda), Chilean “Flame-Hair” Tarantula (G. rosea), Brazilian Salmon Pink Bird-eater (Lasiodora parahybana), Orange Baboon Tarantula (Pterinochilus murinus), Venezuelan Suntiger (Psalmopoeus irminia)