Samia Gamal
Sonia Ochoa
Sonia Ochoa
A Los Angeles native, Sonia has become one of the most sought after dance instructors and performers today. At the age of 19, she commenced dance training at her local city college. After acquiring a solid foundation in classical ballet, she became well versed in a host of dance forms, equipping her with an extensive versatility and influencing the development of her own unique style. | Photo: Aaron Stipkovich | Link | Sonia Ochoa, Bellydance, Belly, Dance, Samba, Flamenco, Tango, Fire, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Arabia, Arabic,

Finding Inspiration to Bellydance

I had been trying to decide on a topic for my next article and I had some different ideas, but nothing that was really getting me “inspired.” Then, right on cue, a student asked me what inspires me to dance. I answered with “Many things, but especially other dancers.”

I reflected on that afterwards, and thought, now that was a pretty general answer. I don’t think she wanted a thesis presentation, but there really is a lot more to the answer for me. Yes, there is the cultural experiences, the entertainment and joy of the dance, freedom of creative expression, the honoring of traditional dances and the wonder of it being a fun exercise and art to boot. There is also the music, the costumes, and the camaraderie. All of these things inspire me to learn and grow with the dance, to use it for my creative outlet, to get stress relief and happiness, and as a place I can go to that makes me feel good.

I think the most inspiring of all for me is other dancers. Not all other dancers, but those who strive to keep learning more about the dance form and growing in their own awareness of it, who recognize and appreciate the culture and where the dance came from, and to those who maintain the integrity of this art form. Those who have paved the way and pioneered the dance for others have earned my respect and appreciation inspire me. Those who take up the dance because of their health, or those who keep dancing despite their health. Those who feel good about themselves and others who can share their love of the dance with expression and feeling. Those who can get past their body types and others’ body types, and who can appreciate the interpretation of the music by the dancer. It is inspiring to be around those who are supportive, fun loving, and comfortable enough with themselves to share the dance. Inspiration can also come from event producers, vendors, musicians and others who are part of the community!

As mentioned, there are many inspirations to me in this dance form, and I appreciate them all. I have been with this dance for several years; I was hooked from the very start and I have never stopped. I continue to find new inspirations as I go, as there are so many wonderful dancers all over the world. I continue to take workshops and classes as well as teach them. I believe I have also been able to inspire others, as I have been told such as an instructor and as a troupe director. That is also inspiring to me, to inspire others!

There is being inspired in a good way, to want to do better and learn more, and to appreciate the dance for all that it is and can be. There are other ways, as well, such as I am inspired to learn what not to do, and to learn from mistakes. As I have studied with so many teachers of various styles, the list is too long to recognize everyone individually, but a big thank you to all of those in the dance community who have inspired me and who continue to inspire me!!

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Updated Jan 14, 2018 6:23 AM EST | More details


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