I Belly Dance Because: The Transformative Power of Dance

 In Blog Posts

My Inspiration



Belly dance has transformed my life. Like many women, I sought the experience of belly dance during a difficult time in my life. It seemed like a good way to meet new friends, exercise and heal from an injury. I was attracted because it was a little bit edgy, a way to express my tendencies toward socially accepted rebellion.

When I walked into my first class, I felt as if I had found “my people.” I gradually transformed from a woman plagued by injury, self-doubt and low self-esteem to a confident and healthy “dancing queen.”

I was so compelled by my own experience that I began teaching with an almost evangelical fervor. During my career, I have watched girls and women of all ages find their voice, their ability to express themselves and their inner strength to deal with life challenges- through dance.

Recently, I had the occasion to engage in a conversation with over a thousand belly dancers through my Face Book page, “I Belly Dance Because…” I asked them to finish the sentence and was overwhelmed with the responses. Their answers were hilarious, poignant and beautiful. I knew immediately that these inspiring stories needed to be told.

The Project

I will be self-publishing a book highlighting 30-50 dancers whose stories illustrate the transformative power of belly dance. These dancers will be amateurs, enthusiasts, professionals and students. They will be young, old and in between. They will represent multiple styles of dance and various geographic locations.

I have made an open call to dancers to submit their stories. This invitation has been extended to the original folks who shared their stories on the Face Book page as well as to belly dancers across the country.

The final book will be 8.5 x 8.5 with 100-200 pages. The final cover design will have a collage of images of featured dancers. Each featured dancer will have a 250 word essay, photo and brief biography. The final book will be a compilation of personal stories.

How to Submit your story

  • Aspiring contributors should write a 350-750 word essay responding to the statement, “I belly dance because…..” I do not accept essays that have been published or accepted elsewhere.
  • Submissions should be opinion essays, not scholarly articles, and must present a clear point of view on the aforementioned topic. No footnotes, graphs, or illustrations should be included.
  • I ask that writers avoid using subheadings and bullets; if you must include them, please use as few as possible.
  • Keep quotations brief—your essay should discuss your views, not summarize other people’s opinions. You should provide sources of quotations and factual references for copy-editing purposes and to validate your statements, but we do not publish footnotes.
  • I will acknowledge all submissions by email when they have been processed by our staff. You will be notified separately only if your submission is under consideration for publication.
  • If I decide to include your essay in the book, you will be notified. I do not pay contributors. However, if your essay is selected, you will receive a complimentary copy of the book.
  • Please note that I cannot provide frequent updates on the status of submitted pieces that are still under consideration. I discourage repeated messages regarding submissions, as they tend to slow down the deliberation process.
  • All submissions accepted for publication are subject to editing for clarity, accuracy, length, and conformity to the book’s style.
  • If substantive changes or fact-checking are required, I will contact the author. I will make minor revisions at their own discretion and without consultation with the author(s).
  • I strongly discourage authors from submitting their essays to other publications until after they have been notified of selection status.
  • Authors retain the right, however, to publish their essays subsequently. Any reprint requests from other publications will be referred to the writer(s).

 Submission Form

Name (required):

Dance Name (if applicable):

Address (required):

Phone Number (required):

Email (required):

Website (if applicable):

I Belly Dance Because..... (required)

Upload your photo (max size 200 bytes):

Have a photo online that we can use? Please provide us with the link:

I warrant that I am the sole owner and author of the submitted written and photographic material. I agree to indemnify, defend and hold Terri Allred, Rochester International Dance Studio and Sadiya Belly Dance harmless with regard to any liabilities, losses, claims, demands, costs or expenses in connection with any breach or alleged breach of the agreement. I understand that I will not be paid for submission or inclusion of my essay in the publication. It is the responsibility of the author(s) to notify any future publishers that the work first appeared in this book and that Terri Allred maintains the right to include the work in future anthologies or collections.

The author(s) acknowledge that this work is original to him/her and has not been accepted by another publisher. The author(s) further acknowledge that the work is not libelous and does not infringe on any copyright or other proprietary right. The author(s) are responsible for obtaining permission to use any material that is not their own including photographs.

The author(s) will receive one complementary copies of the book. This is the only compensation that the author(s) will receive for contributing their work to Terri Allred.
By completing, accepting and dating this form, I hearby grant and assign Terri Allred royalty-free rights to my submission.

I agree to the Terms of this Agreement


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