Hi, I’m Ann Blagden, founder of Egyptian Spirit Belly Dance.
Why Egyptian Spirit? Although I have learned many Asian and Arabic dance styles, I favour and specialise in traditional Egyptian Belly Dance, using both modern western and traditional Arabic music.
This is how it began:
As a small child, I loved to dance and can remember putting on costumes from my dressing up box and entertaining my dolls and a few friends, to the latest pop hits on the portable radio, in my back garden in the Welsh Valleys. I moved to West London almost 30 years ago and started learning Asian and Arabic dance with friends at their homes and at local classes. I was invited to weddings, birthdays and religious celebrations and made to feel so welcome and accepted. To me the dances were an amazing mixture of exciting, passionate, graceful and feminine, and I completely fell in love with the dances and the stunning costumes.
I started teaching in Cheltenham over 10 years ago after being made redundant from a managerial job in the financial services industry and haven’t looked back since. Egyptian Belly Dance has many health and wellbeing benefits and I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching and performing dance over the years.
I have become passionate, not just about the dance moves and techniques but the rich and varied culture and history of Egyptian dance and I really wanted to share this knowledge with my students in the best way possible; so I have become a qualified adult education teacher with a Certificate in Further Education, studied the “Safe teaching of Arabic Dance” with JWAAD Academy of Dance, I have trained with wonderful and inspirational dance teachers here in the UK and from across the globe including Egypt, India and Morocco, I have spent countless hours studying, reading and researching the different dance styles and history to bring a sense of this wonderful art form to my hundreds of students and WI, Probus and lunch club audiences throughout Gloucestershire.
It is really important to me that my students feel, relaxed and comfortable and enjoy the class, to help their confidence grow week by week, so I keep my classes small, friendly, informative and fun.
I also enjoy dancing as part of a local co-operative, community dance troupe called Spirit of the East. [Link to new website] If you would like to join me on this journey of dance, learning and exploration, I look forward to welcoming you soon at my beginner classes, or for experienced dancers I run beginner and intermediate classes.
With warmest wishes