Fatima’s testimonial

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Ritambhara Sahni’s Belly dance Institute Mumbai is a place that has changed my life, it has changed me over. Ritambhara Sahni who has not only been my teacher but a great friend, philosopher guide has made the most positive and required difference in my life and today i just needed to pen down my thoughts and dedicate this to Ritambhara Sahni and her institute and tell the world that–I dint cry —i Belly Danced.

This is the story about how I chose belly dance over tears. I was a love struck damsel who was madly in love with my tall, dark and handsome prince charming. Well, technically he wasn’t a prince, but I didn’t really care. A tall boy with a deep voice, who can dance. What more can I ask for? But my prince charming turned out to be not so perfect after all. He cheated and I was left with a broken heart. However, this is not about him, it is about me and the beautiful art of Belly dance and of course Belly dance Institute Mumbai by Ritambhara Sahni.

Yes, I was heartbroken and (Being the stubborn brat all my life) no I didn’t want to cry. Why should I cry? It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t want to be the “Damsel in distress” and ruin my life by eating Ice creams and chocolates all day long and shred tears all day long. All I needed was something that would keep me occupied. So I started thinking. I thought hard about different kind of activities that would interest me. Being an art lover, I could come up with only art related activities. Sketching, Painting, craft work, dancing….oh wait! Dancing it is. I found it. I found my distraction. I wanted to dance.

What form should I go for? was the question. Tango, salsa, rock and roll but damn those required a partner to dance and “partner” was the last thing that I wanted to think about. How about contemporary? I asked myself with a broad smile on my face. But…Have you guys ever noticed that whenever we are going through a bad phase in our lives and we find a ray of hope, the ray of hope is always blocked by a “Big BUT” (no pun intended) In my case, the “but” was that the first place I applied to, rejected my application because their batch was full.

I was hopeless again, lost in the vicious circle of thought process about what else can be done to distract me and guess what? The miracle happen I saw something colorful that I couldn’t stop looking at. I saw a picture of these gorgeous belly dancers. It was an article in the news paper about belly dancing. With a twinkle in my eye, I grabbed the newspaper to read more. It was an article about belly dancing and the newspaper had interviewed professional bellydance expert – Ritambhara Sahni. The article also mentioned that her institute – “Belly Dance Institute Mumbai by Ritambhara Sahni” is now starting classes for beginner’s. I quickly grabbed my mobile and dialed the number given on the news paper. I fixed an appointment and went to enquire about the class.

It has been five years, since. I still remember my first visit to Belly Dance Institute Mumbai by Ritambhara Sahni . I entered a room full of these beautiful and gorgeous ladies. Tall, not so tall, long hair, short hair, beautiful eyes, mesmerizing smile, they were all there, with a belt of coins tied around their hip and a spark on their face. The coins on the their belt made a loud rhythmic sound while the lovely ladies shimmied their way towards the mirror on wall. I couldn’t stop staring.

I was trying hard to not be a freak while waiting. Well, starring is bad even when done to the same gender. I was waiting to meet Ritambhara Sahni, the “Indian diva of Belly dancing”. While waiting I noticed that I couldn’t stop moving. The mesmerizing music and the enchanting sound of the coins was hypnotizing me literally. My right heel was constantly tapping and my hip was slowly swaying on the music. I felt that something was dragging me to the dance floor and join the girls. I wanted to be there and look like those ladies, feminine and graceful.

Ritambhara Sahni arrived — well the moment you i saw her i could feel her positive strong energy, her vibe, her strength, you can see her and tell that she is extremely experienced, knowledgeable and the right person to learn from…..I just quickly enrolled with her. I had found my distraction. I started dancing with her and never stopped since. I improved with every session. I felt different and my confidence boosted. My family thought I had gone crazy and was spending a lot on the new found interest. Little did they understand the transition that I was going through. Until this one day they when they saw me performing on the stage. Yes, Belly dance institute Mumbai by Ritambhara Sahni had organized this stage show called “Hip-nosis” The first Belly dance show of Mumbai. Being on stage was a beautiful feeling.

Immediately after the Hip-nosis got over, Ritambhara Sahni called me to invite me to perform with her for a belly dance performance on colours channel. It was a big thing for me. I obviously was excited and i did go ahead and perform .You have to experience performing with Ritambhara Sahni and getting trained to perform under her guidance….trust me she is strict but she can make a great belly dance artist out of you. I didn’t stop learning though. I continued to learn higher levels.

I had to take a break from belly dancing for a while. However, I never stop being in touch with Ritambhara Sahni because, more than a teacher, she was a lovely friend. A friend that cared about me, inspired me and motivated me. She never forgot or gave up on me. She always included me in every big thing that the institute was doing.

“Belly dance Garba” A navratri special column on the front page of “Times of India” and I was a part of it. I was the lead girl on the picture. The mixed emotion of happiness and pride that I was going through was priceless. Thanks Ritambhara Sahni.

My point here is that she never forgot me and that made never forget her. My work got a little manageable and I thought of asking Ritambhara Sahni to consider taking me back as a performer in her institute. Believe it or not, she called me the same day and said that there is show performance in a theatre play and she would be so happy if i would perform—-wow, i was just so excited again . It made me realized how connected we were. More than friends we were soul sisters.

I love myself for choosing belly dance over crying 5 years back. I not only learned dancing, I made a relationship of a lifetime. I don’t have enough words to explain my journey with Belly Dance Institute Mumbai by Ritambhara Sahni but all I would like to say is thank you for being there and I love you Ritambhara Sahni.

Women Empowerment at Ritambhara Sahni’s Belly Dance Institute Mumbai :


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