Essence of Bellydance

by Coco

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ESSENCE OF BELLYDANCE™ Teacher Spotlight Lisa

"When you realize that you are passionate and euphoric about something, keep this feeling and dare to take the first step! Think about what you can do today for your dream and then do it."

Interview from January 28th 2020.

In 2014 I moved to Gießen to study ecotrophology (nutritional science) and started to attend dance classes in my spare time – salsa, bachata, kizomba and eventually belly dance. I entered the world of dancing and didn’t want to stop anymore. 2019 I completed the ESSENCE OF BELLYDANCE™ teacher training. At the moment I'm doing my master's degree and offer my class “Belly dance – movement for body and soul” at an educational institution.

How did you get in touch with the Bellydance and what does it give you?

Ever since I was a child, I loved dancing and was fascinated by different dance styles. Bellydance was always a dance style that I wanted to try. 2017 was the first time that I attended a belly dance class at university. It was Madeleine's Essence of Bellydance class! During the first lesson, I immediately fell in love with this dance and wanted to learn more. When I dance, I get the feeling to be at home in myself and I perceive my body consciously. This feeling often gets lost in everyday life. While dancing I feel connected to myself and my body. I also gained a more loving relationship to my body.

In addition to your dance education, you also have a bachelor's degree in nutritional science and a master's degree in nutritional sciences. How do these passions fit together?

For me, both dancing/movement and a conscious nutrition belong to a healthy lifestyle. Both fields are about taking care of yourself and your body, knowing what is good for you etc. Thus, it’s a lot about self-care, self-love and mindfulness. When we treat our body well, we set the foundation for a good life and a healthy mind.

Why did you decide to make dance and movement your career?

I realized over time that dancing is a part of my life that I don’t want to miss anymore. It’s like after all these years, it became clear to me what was missing in my life the whole time. At the same time, I realized that with dancing classes I can also give a lot to other people. The wish of having a job where I can inspire people was always inside me. I just wasn’t sure about how to express it. Thanks to dancing, I found my way.

How did you get started? And what were the most important milestones on that path?

During the Essence of Bellydance teacher training I already offered some unpaid dance classes now and then in my internship. I had fun passing on new skills and already practicing my role as a dance teacher. Through this, I gained more self-confidence in this role over time – because in the beginning it felt really unfamiliar. I would say the Essence of Bellydance teacher training with the exam at the end was my biggest milestone so far, because 2 years ago I couldn’t have imagined accomplishing it.

Did you have any doubts or reservations about the training?

When I thought about registering for the teacher training, I had many self-doubts in my head. I asked myself if I can be a dance teacher, if I have enough experience and if I “can” dance in the first place. As I managed to put aside my doubts and register for the teacher training, I noticed that it was just the right decision. I’m so happy that I dared to take the step and I haven’t regretted my choice for one second.

How did the training change you?

Thanks to the teacher training, I learned to listen to myself and my intuition more and to have more confidence in myself. In the past, I wouldn’t have thought in a dream to be a dance teacher one day. Thanks to the teacher training, it became clear to me: Often we are our own worst enemies and prevent ourselves from living our dreams, mostly due to fears and insecurities. Obviously, I couldn’t let go of all my fears completely and insecurities and doubts can always show up again, but I think I can handle them better now. The teacher training contributed to this in a large part.

What was the best moment in your dance life so far?

Since 2019 I offer belly dance classes at an educational institution with new women every time. The best moment so far was when one time, over 20 women came to my class. The room was so full, you didn’t have much space individually, but the energy was just overwhelming. I will never forget this day and it showed me once again why I’m doing all of this.

Is there something you regret?

There is nothing I deeply regret, because I think every decision helped me grow in my life, whether positive or negative and no matter if I would do it differently today. You can always learn from mistakes and get something positive out of them. The only thing I may regret a little, is not getting started earlier with dancing and to have stood in my own way for so long.

What 3 tips would you like to share with women who want to pursue a similar dream?

1. Just do it! We often postpone things or think “I will do that one day…”. No, do it now! Life is too short to hesitate or to wait. When you realize that you are passionate and euphoric about something, keep this feeling and dare to take the first step! Think about what you can do today for your dream and then do it.

2. Believe in yourself! Don’t think about what other people (who don’t matter to you) think about you. There will always be people who won’t like what you do or how you do it. Don’t let them stop you, you can’t please everybody. The person who must be the most convinced of yourself, is you. If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will. Constructive criticism from the right people is something different – learn to distinguish these things.

3. Build connections! Mutual support and networking are the essential thing. Let go of competitiveness, you won’t come far with it.

After belly dancing, Kizomba, the sexy latin dance with a partner is your second love. How do the two dance styles complement each other?

Both dances are very sensuous. Belly dance as well as kizomba are about feeling your body and letting the music lead you. In kizomba you need to trust your dance partner because you allow yourself to be led in the dance, and therefore you need a good connection. In belly dance you don’t have a dance partner, you dance for yourself, but you need to have a good connection to your body. You need to learn to accept your body like it is and to feel the movements from the inside. That’s a good foundation for kizomba, because when you feel good about yourself and your body and trust it, you can also trust your dance partner more.

You got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the end of 2019 and you say that dance will help you? Can you tell us more about that?

After the diagnosis I was terrified. Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. The course of the disease is different for everyone and the future is uncertain. I know of mild cases but also of really bad ones. I had thoughts like “will I be able to dance at all in the future?”, “for how long can I be a dance teacher?”, “would it be best to stop immediately?” Finally, I decided: I will dance as long as I still can. If it’s 2, 20 or 50 years. Dancing helps me to feel alive and healthy. In moments where I dance, I’m not “ill”. I’m just myself and I dance. This gives me a lot of strength. And if one day it won’t work out anymore, I at least enjoyed the time when it did.

It became clear to me that we can never know what the future brings and we should live and appreciate the moment and do what makes us happy. Thus, I can’t really tell what applies more: the dance helping me handling the disease or the disease helping me with my attitude towards dancing. I want to show people who are also affected by chronic diseases that life is not over when you get ill. I also write about that on “Instagram because there I found a great platform to talk about my experiences and to exchange with others.

What are the 3 books that shaped your life?

Jorge Bucay – Let Me Tell You a Story: Tales Along the Road to Happiness

Paulo Coelho – The Pilgrimage

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – The little Prince.

How does a day in your life look like?

As a student, every day looks different for me. Sometimes I have class in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon or I’m free the whole day. I love to incorporate movement and mindfulness in my morning in the form of belly dance, yoga or meditation. I also like to start the day with some brain jogging or practicing foreign languages (Portuguese, French). If I don’t manage to do it in the morning, I try to catch up on these habits during the day or in the evening. Even if I don’t manage to do everything on every day, I try to take time for myself and my passions regularly.

Apart from that, my days mostly consist of lectures, seminars, grocery shopping, cooking, dancing, dreaming, making plans for the future or meeting with lovely friends in a café. I also spend a lot of time with my fiancé. We live together and like to end the day with a nice dinner, a movie or a board game. We also love to go to salsa/bachata/kizomba parties together since we both started dancing at the same time and met for the first time at a class as well.

What is your vision for the future?

For the future I imagine helping people to choose a healthy lifestyle – with dance & movement, nutrition and mental practices. My big dream is to get together with other people and to open sort of a health center with these kinds of offers. A place for holistic health, so to speak. In addition, I would like to encourage especially people with chronic illnesses and help them to deal with their disease. I would also like to integrate dancing even more into my life and someday be on a stage myself.

Thank you so much for the interview Lisa! You are an inspiration.


Do you love to dance and want to inspire other women? Then join our international community of excellent dance teachers and start teaching your own ESSENCE OF BELLYDANCE™ classes. You can do it!

Bellydance Teacher Training with Lisa from Giessen
ESSENCE OF BELLYDANCE™ teacher Lisa from Giessen, Germany
Bellydance Teacher Training with Lisa from Giessen
I realized over time that dancing is a part of my life that I don’t want to miss anymore.
Bellydance workshops with Lisa from Giessen
When I dance, I get the feeling to be at home in myself. This feeling often gets lost in everyday life.
Bellydance Teacher Training with Lisa from Giessen
There will always be people who won’t like what you do or how you do it. Don’t let them stop you, you can’t please everybody.

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