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Angela and Cynthia at the Copa in Austin, TX
My family moved to San Antonio from up north when I was about 3, thankfully. I hate cold weather, so Texas suits me well. Thanks to my mother, who had me in music and dance lessons as a little girl, a dancer was born. I danced growing up, studied dance in college, and have been belly dancing since 1998. I made it to the finals in the Southwest Region Belly Dance Superstars competition. Currently perform as a soloist with Raks Helva in Austin and Shunyata Belly Dance in Houston. Intially I got started in this hobby by taking a Brazilian Dance class. But had the wrong time, so tried out the belly dance class that was starting in leiu of. I was immediately enamored. Even with all of the dance training I’d had, the muscle control involved in belly dancing was new to my body and I just had to master it. By taking classes, practiced at home nightly and eventually taught at the studio for several years before moving to Austin. There is quite a large belly dance community in Austin, entertaining various styles of the dance. I love the energy of the dance; feeling the music and expressing it through the the movement. I also love the artistic community I have met some awesome friends through dance, including belly dancers, fire dancers, and creative, interesting people in general.
When it comes to any performer there is saftey issues. The biggest danger exists when working with swords, particularly the large scimitars. I’ve seen belly dancers go to hospital and require quite a few stitches from a sword mishap. They do make dancing swords that are small, with bluted edges…but, where’s the adventures in that?
People’s reaction, especially men always perk up when they hear me mention that am a belly dancer. They always have tons of questions, some appropriate and some not and then they usually end by asking if I can give their wife/girlfriend some lessons…haha. But, I always keep it professional and ultimatedly strive to exemplify belly dancing on the level of other respected dance forms.
After being self-employed in real estate for four years, I recently took on a full time sales position in February 2011, and also lost my mother to cancer on Valentine’s Day. So, for several months, dance was not even on my agenda. My mom and I were really close, so it has been an emotional year in that regard. One of the nice things about my work schedule is that my evenings and weekends are free for dance performances and spending time with my husband, now that I’ve found some balance again. I feel it is important to find balance between work, relationships (both friends and one’s partner) and your art. I know that if any of these get out of balance, I definitely feel the effects.
With the following upcoming events this fall will be crazy. That is when I perform at Texas Renaissance Festival just outside of Houston for four of the eight weekends with Shunyata and then I have a show in October with the Dolls From the Crypt, a “Horror Cabaret” dance group I perform with here in Austin. Wine and a hot bath can be glorious after a performance weekend. The energy rush I experience when I am performing is truly exhilarating. There is a lttle mantra I say before a performance where I open myself to connecting with diving energy universal energy, sharing it with the audience and receiving it back. When it happens, it’s a moment of true connection – I feel plugged in, turned on, and fulfilled on a physical and spiritual level. In a word…amazing!
You can follow her personal blog at Angela Nation Sparks Blog
By Cynthia Bergen
Edited by Jolene Gilshenan
The Vintage Club Collections