Meet Belly Dancer Vanessa Montoya

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I had the opportunity to meet Vanessa where I meet many people now a days on Facebook. She’s a wonderful dancer and you can learn more about her exciting offerings on her website www.creativesourcemovement.com.

Here’s a video of Vanessa doing a wonderful performance.

Photo by Giftpundits.com on Pexels.com

Thank you Vanessa for sharing your passion for life with the world. Such a beautiful soul.

Name
Vanessa Montoya
What City is home?
Lubbock/Austin
What type of dance do you do?
Bellydance, Modern, and (currently studying) Persian Dance. I also teach Yoga.
Who’s your favorite dancer?
Isadora Duncan
What’s your dream?
My dream is to work with others in harmonizing the Body, Mind, and Spirit through movement, both physical and energetic. I hope to foster a sense of connection, joy, and awareness in both my own life and in the lives of the people I work with.
What’s your favorite song?
"Smile" by Charlie Chaplin
What’s one wish you hope comes true?
I send wishes and prayers that Calilfornia finds some relief from these fires soon. LA was my home for fifteen years. My heart breaks to see so much devastation in the area.
What is your opinion on wellness?
I believe that at the core of wellness, one can find the seeds of joy, gratitude, and love beginning to take root. I find the body and mind respond to the harmony that these emotions bring and that wellness is an extension of finding that sense of peace within.

Meet Nor Cal Dancer, Valeria Star

An Interview with a Dancer

What kind of dance do you do?

I enjoy many types of dance. I enjoy ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, belly, salsa, hip hop and ballroom. Currently I am studying ballet although I am going through the rehabilitation process so all dancing must be done with good form so as to not become injured. And I must make sure to address any injuries right away so they will get better. So that means I am not able to dance as often as I like.

Where is home for you?

Stockton, CA, where else

How Long Have You Been Dancing

I believe that we started dancing in the womb since we were swimming in utero. But when I was 8, my mother gave me tights and leotard for my birthday and I was horrified. I didn’t want to go to ballet but ended up loving it after only 1 class. That was 44 years ago. But I had big gaps in my dance life because of work.

What is your favorite song right now?

I believe you can have infinite favorite songs. But I did a dance to one of my favorite songs called Patience by M. Mendi. It was produced by Outrecords.com. It’s a really chill song that is sure to have you feeling like your riding on clouds. I did the video to hopefully inspire Patience in the world. I think we all need to be really patient with everyone which includes ourselves. The more we can relax, we can begin to have more positive social interactions and actually help other people feel our calmness.

What Dancer Do you Admire?

That is another really hard question!! I love so many!! But if I can only pick one it would be Misty Copeland. I read both of her books and I know her story of courage and perserverance. She had a very difficult home life and despite all of that she was able to succeed. Also she’s just so strong and has the most amazing body. I can only dream to have her body one day. But I do have her book Ballet Body so hey anything is possible.

What Is Your One Wish that You Hope Comes True?

More than anything I want there to be world peace. What that means to me is that we don’t have anymore wars, everyone is fed, healthy and has food and jobs. The economies are all thriving and our Mother Earth is Healthy and clean. And there are a lot of trees. I love trees so much that I started a fundraiser for trees and it’s with a NonProfit called Plant One Tree. Super excited. To date, I’ve raised enough for over 90 trees. To Plant trees for $1/tree click here.

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

What does wellness mean to you?

Wellness means that you are basically healthy and doing well. You have housing, food, clothing along with financial income or support and you are calm, physically strong, flexible and in a positive mindset. Also your finances are in order and you love and respect yourself. You also eat lots of fruits, vegetables and drink lots of water and take yoga. It’s really important to take care of yourself because who wants someone else to take care of them? They won’t do the same job you would. Nobody will ever take better care of you then yourself. Just drink a cup of tea and think about scheduling that appointment for a massage.

Final Words on Dance

Just do it and do it often. You may think you are no good and have no talent but if you allow your body just to start moving to the rhythm of the music, you will find a cool flow. You start to have fun and it’s so good for your body, brain and spirit. I feel it can get you out of a bad mood in no time. You can take classes if you like but nothing wrong with just shaking that bootie however you want. I hope you dance and often.

Meet Washington DC BellyDancer Varia Strix

Beautiful

I had the great pleasure of meeting Varia in Portland, Oregon at the 8 elements Initiation Training with Rachel Brice of Datura. Varia is a beautiful dancer and she was super cool and had a great sense of fashion. I asked her if she would share a little of herself with the world and she was happy to share her passion.

I asked Varia to share one of her favorite artists that we danced to in Portland. As you can imagine if you hear music you’ve never heard, you want to know who it is. Varia shared in the group Velvet Owl by Amon Tobin. We did a really cool warm up to this jam!!!

That’s all core strength right there and lots of practice!! Awesome!!

So Varia darling, what type of physical activities have you done in your life? ” I have been dancing since 2008 with a primary focus on bellydance. Prior to that I used to dance East and West Coast swing and Lindy Hop with sprinklings of Walts, Foxtrot, Salsa, Cha Cha and contra dancing. I also enjoys hiking, snowboarding, skiing, rock climbing (indoor and outdoor) and advanced SCUBA.”…( I had no idea she was such a badass!! Wow)

Varia also learned this sequence with Rachel Brice at the Datura 8 elements initaion training.

Here Varia is dancing

Just Dance with Amy Amustela Kirwan and The Rogues


Varia lives in the Washington DC area. She began belly dance in 2007, inspired by Amustela’s performances at the MD Renaissance Fair  . She has explored various styles including American Cabaret, classical Egyptian, and her favorite, tribal fusion. She has performed solo and as a member of local troupes Belladonna’s Bellatrix, Wendy Broadway’s ATS Tribe Masala, and Ayperi Leyla’s Al Kamiya. 

Varia has received training under many world renown instructors including Suhaila Salimpour, Zoe Jakes, and Rachel Brice. Currently she is expanding her growth as a member of the DC Salimpour Collective under director Donna Manalo, and is pursuing certifications in the Salimpour formats and the Datura 8 Elements program.

Varia was smart to take this fan to Portland. It was very hot and she looks so mysterious. Love those bracelets!!

Since receiving her FTT certification, Varia has been invited each year to teach at the Maryland Council for Dance Festival, and has held workshops at various locations in the northern VA area. She is also available for private instruction upon request.

Varia’s focus is to bring awareness to safe body alignment, encourage confidence, and most importantly to have fun!

Congratulations Varia for following her passions and dreams. Dreams are so important. Never give up on your dreams.

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach living in Nor Cal. She’s encouraging everyone to follow their passions. Please share and follow this Blog to support and encourage dreams.

Datura Bellydance Workshop in Portland

I had the great honor and privilege to attend a Datura bellydance workshop in Portland, Oregon last week. It was such an amazing adventure. It really took me outside of my comfort zone on so many levels.

What was it that took you out of your comfort zone?

Well first of all I had to get myself packed, get my dog packed and get to the airport on time. If you have ever had the pleasure of missing a flight, then you know, that you don’t want to experience that again. So I started out my trip with a ticket from California Highway Patrol. I stayed cool despite this ticket. But it was a little irritating to say the least.

Then I got to the airport past security. My boarding pass was B14. But I got the gate mixed up and was sitting in Gate B14 for at least an hour. Then someone paged Valerie and they said your supposed to be at gate 20!! How the hell that happened I don’t know but I ran down there and made it to the plane.

Sitting at wrong gate

I made it to my hotel and then realized I had left a very critical bag. My bag that had my toothbrush. Luckily my hotel gave me one and I had toothpaste. I remembered my make up so, all in all, it wasn’t bad.

What was the deal with the Datura Workshop?

Datura is a style of bellydance created by Rachel Brice. She has classes online at Datura online and she teaches workshops in Portland at a cool dance studio called Nia. She has her own Datura studio as well but to accommodate more people she had the training at Nia.

The Datura Phase I Initiation of the 8 elements brought together 40 students from all over the world. Represented countries included: Japan, Australia, Mexico, United Kingdom and United States. There were professional dancers as well as students. But everyone was a student this week to learn and absorb as much as they could from Rachel Brice

Rachel shared part of her dance journey as well as the reason for putting together the course so that this dance form can be shared with the world. She had told us at the beginning of the week that we were going to feel like, “She was filling up our mouths with a fire hose.” At first it made me laugh but by the 3rd day, I completed understood the concept. I felt like my brain was being stretched out really far. I didn’t want to stretch it but then she stretched it for me and I was so glad she did.

What was the most awesome experience?

We would learn these dance sequences. First we would learn the feet, then she would add isolations, then Zils and then finally arms. It doesn’t sound that difficult and even when you see it, it doesn’t look terribly difficult. But playing the Zils while dancing and keeping rhythem while your arms, legs and body are doing something different was mind blowing. And then we did it in perfect unison at full speed. It was like, “Hell Yeah!!!” I couldn’t believe we were able to do it all together. If you’ve ever been around dancers there are usually varying levels of dance experience. But in 3 days she had as doing it. I felt like a complete badass!!!

Just for the record, I felt like such a beginner. There were definitely dancers who had such cool moves. Some were awesome with Zils and everyone just brought their own gifts and talents. Truly an amazing group of people.

She shared her costumes in Costume Cafe which was just amazing. In the video above I was able to see her headdress in person. She shared her inspiration for costumes and also so many things. She is a complete badass. Bruce Lee’s baby sister. I bow down to her.

What was the take away from the training?

Whatever it is you do everyday becomes your practice. You simply have to find the time to do whatever it is you love to do. Sometimes we get stuck in bad habits, or get caught in the responsibilities of life. But no matter, practice is the most important. In talking to Rachel, she explained some of the ways she practices and how she just goes over it over and over again until she gets it down to how she likes it. I was also super happy to know that her absolutely favorite type of dance is improvisational dance which is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE THING TO DO!!. So it gave me support to know that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH IMPROVISATION!! And she does such an amazing job with it.

You’re Not Music’s Bitch

What does that mean? It means as dancer that you control your movement. YOu can pause and stretch and pose and dance how you want. Music is there to help you express yourself but you and music work together and you do whatever you want. It’s you dancing after all.

What are my plans going forward?

I realized that more than anything I need a good teacher. I plan to continue to study dance. A good teacher will mold me to their vision. I will be like a child coming to my teacher. I will allow them to teach me and that is the best I can do for right now. There’s nothing wrong with being a student. It’s like letting someone else drive you around for a while and I get to just enjoy the ride. I will continue to pursue my dream of dance. As long as I am dancing, EVERYTHING WILL BE OK.

Valeria is a Health and wellness coach who lives in Northern California. She is sharing her passion and journey with the world and encourages everyone to follow their dreams at all costs. This guy was cool. He didn’t talk much and never moved. XOXO

Dancing to Eternal Music

About almost 300 years ago in 1721 Bach wrote the Concerto #3in G major. It’s such an amazing composure. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!! This piece of music is about 6 minutes and it was written for the Catholic Church. I think it would be have been pretty amazing to hear this in Church.

So here I am dancing improvisational to Bach and I hope you enjoy it. The music is just AMAZING and it’s so good to listen to music. I hope you enjoy it and please feel free to share this beautiful music with the world.

Better yet what’s your favorite song or type of music? Feel free to share below. We may not know everything in life. But one thing I know for sure is Bach was a genius. XOXO VALERIE


Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach.  She lives in Northern California with her daughter and Labrador Retriever.  As you heal yourself, you heal the planet.  Find your joy and live it.

Have you ever wondered how to Hang from a tree?https://enlightenyourlives.com/2019/01/11/when-was-the-last-time-you-hung-from-a-tree/  Find out how to do it here?  It’s so awesome!!

Watch a Scarf Battle

img_8077You know I like to have fun.  So here I am dancing with a scarf.  I also discuss what’s up with wearing scarves over your head and face.  It’s only a scarf but it does bring up a lot of emotions.

Please subscribe to my youtube channel.  Thank you so much!!  I encourage you all to have a beautiful and peaceful weekend.  Remember you are loved.  In case you forgot.  All of your ancestors love you.  Don’t forget that.EVER!!

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach and a Yoga Instructor.  As you Heal yourself, you heal the planet.  Thanks for caring.

PS: You Rock And Have a Great Day!!

Puppy Gets Excited by Dancing

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I am a dancer.  I dance at home with my puppy, Amber.  It has happened more than once.  The first time I wasn’t paying attention because I was doing a video dancing.  Amber wanted to dance too.  I do have it on video and I think it is pretty funny.

Today I was dancing in my room and just getting into it and not paying attention to my puppy, Amber.  Previously she was just laying there.  As soon as I started doing some fast hip shimmy’s, she went insane.  She started jumping up and then I realized she could feel my vibration.

So dogs feel energy and people feel your energy too (more on that later).    It was just amazing to discover this and I just had to share my new discovery.


Also remember that people can feel your energy too.  So it’s best to just try to wish the best for every person you see.  But if you have low energy, it’s difficult to do that because you are not feeling the best.  You are most likely in survival mode.

Anyway dear ones if you have low energy and you want to feel better, the easiest quickest way is just to focus on gratitude.  It really works but it’s a habit like anything else.pexels-photo-424517.jpeg

Diet is also very important but people don’t know what to eat and what not to eat.  It’s very confusing.  But many people are just stuck on their diet treadmill and can’t see any other possibilities.  But you can change your diet.  Just make sure you are hydrated.  And remember there are many people that would love to help you.  You just have to reach out to them.

OK dear one’s, that’s it for now.  Have a blessed day and know that you are so loved.  More than you realize.  XOXO

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach.  She lives in Northern California with her daughter and puppy Amber.  You can learn more about Valerie here.

Fight For your Right to Dream

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This time of year it’s very popular to make changes with New Year’s Resolutions and all.  We have great expectations but when it comes time to actually implementing those changes or intentions.  That’s when the difficulty comes in.  I mean you are already super busy with a jam- packed schedule, so how on earth can you find time for one more thing?

This answer is that something has got to leave your schedule or you just have to make that new thing a priority.  Meaning that you do it first before you do that other thing.  Now maybe you like to get on social media.  So make a little agreement with yourself that before you even think about pushing that little Blue square with an f on it that you will do that priority.  After you have done you’re “priority”, you can f away.  I mean get on the blue f as much as you want.

I think the morning routine is an essential part to having a great day.  If you wake up and do some stretches or yoga, breathing, praying or simply have some quiet time for positive affirmations before you start doing all of the stuff to get ready, you can have a much happier day.  So that’s where that blue f comes into play.  This means don’t f your day away.

Other things may have to give in order for you to make your priority.  Maybe you’ll have to take some time off of work in order to give yourself that time.  Is that the end of the world? HELL NO.  Trust me when you are on your death-bed, you’re not going to think, “I should have worked more.”  You might think, I’m glad I followed my heart and my passions.  But you have to fight for your dreams and passions.  (Think of Twisted Sister here: “You’ve got to fight for your right to dre am”).  Yeah that was me singing there.  But you have to be fierce with it.  You have to just say you know what, I’m going to do this and nothing is going to stop me.  Not laundry, not dishes, not TV, not work(don’t get fired though), not your spouse or partner, not your kids. But if you can rearrange things a little bit, I’m sure you can find the time to pursue your dreams.

Twisted Sister i.e. the big hair band of the 80’s that sang Fight For Your Right to Party

This is my quick story with this.  So as a Yoga Instructor, you would think I would be doing yoga everyday and just be super flexible and bendy.  Well last year, I wasn’t.  Life can get in the way.  And it can be difficult to just pull out that yoga mat.  But when I knew I was going to do a dance performance.  I knew that I need to get flexible AF and fast.  So what I did was got my phone, put it on stop watch and did 2 full sun salutes.  It took 6 minutes.  I just decided that every morning before work I was going to give myself 6 minutes for yoga.  And it did help me to get flexible.  I was able to do the splits, believe it or not.    But in any case it all started with me just giving myself 6 minutes in the morning.

splits

2017 not bad for 49 but my daughter snapped this picture fast because I was not enjoying  this. 

Remember Newton’s first law of motion, “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”  So you have to be that unbalanced force and mix things up a little bit.

And it can be scary to change things up because you are letting go of the old way of doing things.  But in no time, those old habits will just be a thing of the past and you can go on with your life knowing that you were able to make one small change.  The next step is to decide  what else you would like to change.

Valerie is a Yoga Instructor and a Health and Wellness Coach. She lives in Northern California with her daughter and puppy.  You may contact her at estrella.valerie@yahoo.com.

PS.  Please follow my Blog and thanks for reading.  XOXO

Check out my Smoothie Recipe here.

How to set Dreams and Goals for 2018

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Well 2017 has come and gone.  This was an amazing year.  I feel like I really lived it.  Some years let’s just be honest have been terrible.  This year for me personally was really good.  I had the following major accomplishments: RETIREMENT, AMBER DOG, Performances and I’ve been able to keep my sanity for the most part.

I looked over my goals for 2017 and I have to say that I have stuck with them.  That just means I need to continue to add to my goals.  I mean if I could nail the goals for 2017 then I can surely continue to nail the goals for 2018.

Since I’ve retired my focus has shifted.  I was super stressed when I was working and now that I’ve retired it’s time for me to get serious about relaxation and just settling into my groove.  Retirement is a Huge Adjustment and unless you’ve done it, I don’t think you quite get it.val_edited-9177

      This is me thinking about positive thoughts.  Give it a try and see what happens.

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to give me a way to focus my energy in a positive manner.

So how do you set goals anyway?

  1. Keep it simple.  Make too many goals and you end up not doing anything.
  2. It doesn’t need to have anything to do with fitness or health.  This is a popular resolution but you can set whatever goal or dream you want.  This is your chance to really get creative with your dreams and try to figure out exactly what it is that you want anyway.
  3. Write it down.  Perhaps your resolution could be to start journaling.  If you have never journaled or not for a while, this is a great time to start.
  4. Tell someone what your goal is with the hope that you can get some accountability and also once you tell someone, it reinforces your goal because you are discussing it.
  5. Day dream about your goals.  What would it look like if you had this?  How would you feel?  Imagine it’s already yours and be happy knowing that it’s coming into fruition.

Feel free to comment below with some of your dreams and goals.  Remember the more you talk about it, the more likely it will happen.  So I’ll go ahead and get this party started by sharing my dreams and goals for 2018.

  • Daily yoga (at least 10 minutes)
  • Meditation at least 3 days per week but the more the better
  • Dance daily at least 20 minutes
  • Write daily at least 20 minutes
  • Go on a plane for vacation
  • Shop local, vegan diet and breathe through all difficulties
  • Transform my guest bedroom.
  • Keep singing

VAL DANCING FOR RONI

This is me dancing at my party and having fun.  This is what dreams look like.  Just do it.

Now see that wasn’t so difficult.  Well here’s to an amazing 2018.  Don’t worry about all the drama that’s going on in the world.  You allow what comes into your reality.  Choose wisely.

Retirement Performance

VAL DANCING STAGE

Retirement Performance

When I first decided that I wanted to dance at my retirement party, my main motivation was because it was a dream of mine. I wanted to do it because I wanted to see exactly what my capabilities were at age 50. I felt that since I was a yoga instructor and a health coach that I should have the ability to perform and with the proper instruction, anything is possible.

So the dance training began and I found it to be very difficult. I had an injury at the same time I started training so I had to be very careful not to hurt myself. But I knew that I loved dancing and I just wanted to put on this epic performance at my party. I had an interest in belly dancing for years and I had done some training starting in 2008. I took a few classes with a local dance instructor and watched some videos but I hadn’t found a dance instructor in my area that I really was compatible with.
Then in 2015, I had surgery and the Dr. gave me the usual recommendation which was not to exercise for 6 weeks. I really despise that recommendation but of course I followed the Dr’s orders. They told me walking was fine.  Yoga was still not an option but the one thing I was able to do was belly dancing. And it just felt amazing on my spine, neck, shoulders and hips. Thus a belly dancer was born.
I soon realized that yoga and belly dancing were very much intertwined with one another.

VAL SPINNING
I kept up the belly dancing and I even taught a workshop at Angeline’s dance studio in 2016. I had previously been a Zumba and U-Jam Fitness Instructor and I felt comfortable dancing in front of people and I knew I wanted to perform at my retirement party in front of my loved ones, but I felt belly dancing alone would just feel completely inappropriate and I knew if I wanted it to turn out good, then I needed professional training and choreography.

I picked the song which was Transcendence by Lindsey Stirling and it had a classical feel to it. Although I used to belly dance at home to that song, I knew that ballet would go nicely with it as well.

At first I wanted to do a partner dance. But it’s difficult to find a partner and I decided to just do private instruction.
So it was going to be a belly dance/ballet fusion dance.
So ballet is very challenging. It’s pilates on steroids as I like to call it. And I was still working at the time and my work was not helping the situation at all. Because all of the sitting was counter productive. But I kept up with the training and the video is the final result.
When I watch the video, I feel happy with certain parts and other parts, I wish were better. But overall, I feel grateful that I had the ability and opportunity to dance and perform especially at the age of 50.

Sometimes when the fear strikes me when I think about releasing a video, I just think well if someone wants to criticize me that’s fine. They can go ahead and do a performance and then we can discuss my performance afterwards.

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach and Yoga Instructor. She recently retired from a Career in Law Enforcement after 26 years. Email her at:estrella.valerie@yahoo.com