Being from Syrian dissent, my fondest of memories growing up, were spent with my family gathered together. I remember attending Haflas (Middle Eastern word for party), where usually twice a year in early fall and early summer, my family would gather together, and be centralized around the atmosphere, dance, live music, and food. My Aunts and Grandmother would prepare the Middle-Eastern food-Oh, the wonderful aroma! During the preparation of the feast, all of the women would separate from the men until it was time to eat (tradition).
My family would dance the Debke’, which is a circle-dance led by the men, twirling a handkerchief, and the women would follow, going through a series of steps and hops.
My mother taught me the Debke’ when I was 7 years old, and I became instantly entranced by the music and dancing (a found memory).
In 2004, I began my first belly dance class, in which I found a part of me, deep down inside, alive again! I was bitten by the “belly dance bug!” For years, I would live and breathe the dance, soaking in everything I could for hours at a time. While working with a local teacher, I was forced to either quit-something I could not imagine to do-or teach. For about a year, I did not know what to do, coming to the conclusion that I still may have to give up.
The next year, I decided to teach, so I concentrated on instructing and learning new techniques. The next few days, I searched the web and found an online belly dance instructor who refueled my passion and drive. I began retraining myself, going back to the basics, and hitting upon things I completely missed.
My first class started in April 2008, at my home in a make-shift studio on the lower-level with 3 students (not to mention, myself, an eager teacher)! The year 2009 I moved my classes to our local community center and offerd a class in Greenfield, Ohio. Towards the end of 2012, I knew I needed to make a change for my growing classes and my students, so I partnered with Dance Magic and now hold all of my classes in a beautiful dance studio!
Today, I am so thankful for Leyla Najma, that I cannot express my gratitude enough. She helped with my confidence issues and gave me the ammunition to start teaching on my own! Besides Leyla being my mentor, I have studied under some of the best belly dancers including; Suzzana Del Vehicco, Suhaila Salimpour, Nadira Jamal, Rosa Noreen. Each has given me a unique opportunity and I am grateful for each who have taught me so much. In April 2012, I became part of a professional dance troupe out of Columbus, Ohio called The Mystic Jewels. I had my first tv debut on November 3, 2012 and was involved with Dancing with the Stars.
My passion for belly dancing has taken me to places I never thought possible. My passion is for my students, because without them I would not have a class to teach. My students are my family, my sisters. I am passionate about sharing my experience not only with my sisters, but with the community as well.
Belly dance can be done by anyone of any age and with belly dance comes many benefits such as self-esteem, better posture and builds a stronger core while developing muscle control with each move you learn.
If you live in or around the Chillicothe, OH Area, and want to learn Middle-Eastern (belly) Dance, learn new ideas, bond with other women of many different cultures and backgrounds, and even get some exercise, then look no further! You have found your passion! Turn to Najla’s Dance to fulfill this passion.
Leyla Najma “I have had the pleasure of working with Allison Flynn and I highly recommend her for dance instruction, performing arts. Allison is a people person and she works well with others creating an atmosphere of productive accomplishments. She has an enthusiasm for Middle Eastern Dance that is contagious so much so that she brings out the best in her students. I highly recommend her instruction and curriculum considering the fact that she has studied with some of the best performers in the business.”
Copy right 2011