From Dream to Reality


Hello Everyone! I hope this message finds you all well. It’s Annemarie!

Sometimes in our busy lives, it becomes difficult to share with others our goals, choices, dreams and what we really want out of life. At Dreamsbellydance Academy, it is very important for us to know each one of you and to find out a little bit about your dancing and what bellydance does for you. For many of you, it is an escape from reality, to de-stress, to relax, to have fun, to learn and it can be so much more. So today, I wanted to share with you MY story, about what bellydancing has done for me and how it has affected me and how it continues to grow. I hope that in my story you gain some inspiration in yourself. Remember, it is not about the destination, it is about the JOURNEY that leads you to your destination.

When I was younger, I had always been an active child. I took ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop and gymnastics. But to begin my BELLYDANCE story, my journey started when I took my first Bellydance class with Nathalie when I was 10 years old at the Goddess store. When my mom had remarried, her new husband was Israeli. Throughout the course of their marriage, because of his culture, he had taken us to many Middle Eastern Restaurants—that was when I had first seen a bellydancer perform. That’s when I soon found out that my mom had even studied Bellydance back in the 70’s, so maybe Bellydance had been my calling from the beginning without me evening knowing it! Anyways, after I saw that bellydancer, my mom and stepdad brought me to my first bellydance class at the Goddess store with Nathalie; she was my very first teacher. My parents started to bring me to bellydance classes once a week, and believe me, I never missed class! As I started to take classes, bellydance came very natural to me. Of course, I was no pro, but it was something I began to love and want more of each time I danced. I even had the opportunity to take some of the bellydance classes with the other adult women! I then started performing with my classmates and even had a duet here and there with Nathalie (which since I was very young, felt like such an amazing accomplishment!) At about 13 years old, unfortunately I had stopped bellydance- which I still ask myself why I did; it could have been due to my parents because I was so young, myself, or maybe a combination of both. But from then on, I knew that bellydance had brought me happiness, joy, and so much more that I would get back into classes sooner or later.


After about 4-5 years of not belly dancing, I ran into Nathalie at the gym. I believe that God puts people in your life for specific reasons, we may not know why exactly, but I believe that God put Nathalie in my life to guide me in my belly dance journey. It just so happened that when I ran into Nathalie at the gym, she had just opened up Dreamsbellydance Academy, and from then on I started working for her at DBA as only a front desk employee. I immediately started taking classes with her again, and that was when I made my goal to become a teacher. After many, many, MANY, hours of training, learning, and growing, I started off little by little with teaching. I started as only her assistant in the class- warming up & cooling down her students. I even began to substitute her classes when she was unavailable, and then started to teach my own class with my own students. Now let me tell you, at first no one wanted to take my classes! Everyone saw me as the nice, happy, sweet, young girl. They did not take me seriously as the “Teacher.” However, after lots of determination and the WILL and WANT to become the best teacher I could be, I continued (to this day) to train to become better at my teaching, as well as my dancing.


DANCE is a part of me. When I’m happy, I dance. When I’m sad, I dance. When I’m bored, I dance. When in doubt, DANCE IT OUT! Without dance, it feels as if something is missing inside of me. Think about something that’s most important to you, something that drives you, a desire, a feeling. If you were unable to do that special thing, you would probably feel lost! For me, if I didn’t dance, I would feel lost too. What I’ve learned throughout my journey so far, is that it is not about being the best, it is not about getting the movement (or technique) perfect. What matters, is that you TRY. If you try your best at everything you do, then in time you WILL get the results you want. Don’t be afraid to just “go for it.” Nothing bad will happen; if you don’t get the immediate results that you want, then that just means you have to try harder next time- don’t be afraid to push yourself, you can do it!!! This leads me to tell you about my experience in Bellydance Competitions.



In 2011, I had decided to enter into the Miami Bell ydance Professional Category Competition. Let me just say, I WAS SO SCARED. Before this, I had never entered into a belly dance competition before and didn’t know what to expect. In January of 2011, I began my training with Nathalie. We started training two times a week and the closer we got to the competition day, the more we trained. There were many days, when I doubted myself and didn’t think I could really do this. Keep in mind I had only 1-2 years of experience, while I was entering into a competition with women that had ten years more experience than me! You can only imagine how this made me feel. I knew that the 2011 MBC Competition was going to be INTENSE, and knowing all of this I still wanted to compete and push myself.

After all of the hard work, sweat, tears, anxiety, and more- I took 2nd Place in the Miami Belly dance Convention Professional Category! I can’t even express in my writing how happy I was (and still am). Believe it or not, I am just like all of you. I started with the same Bellydance Intro Class as you did, I took the same Levels, went through the same Evaluations, had the same performances. No matter how much or how little experience you have in bellydance, YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO.






So, in 2012 the following year, I decided to enter into the MBC Competition again, this time I had hopes of winning! And once again, I went through the numerous hours of training, the sweat, the tears, the happiness, the confidence. To be honest, I think I got a little bit too comfortable. What I mean by too comfortable, I began to think “I got this!” I didn’t expect how intense and fierce the 2012 MBC Competition was going to be, and therefore I didn’t even place in the competition. This crushed me! After the competition, I felt so frustrated in myself, how heartbroken I felt, how mad, and I wondered why? Why didn’t I even place? I thought I had the proper training, the drive, the dedication- and I did! But like I said before, just because you don’t get the results you want, doesn’t mean you aren’t good or are not capable of conquering your goal. Instead of being down on yourself, change your mindset and have the goal to be better, let your new mindset push you so that you can achieve everything you want! It is not about how many times you fall, but how many times you get up!

I hope my story inspired you, and so I am going to leave you with a little quote…

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” Aristotle


Annemarie 🙂


  1. I love it!! I think this is so inspiring and I’m so happy everything is falling into place. You deserve the wolrd And more and I’m glad it’s starting to show. I wish you manyore goals and. Dreams coming true and I’m so happy that we are still best friends! Love ya girl! I’m proud of you!

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