by Makiko Kurimoto (Hokkaido, JAPAN)
(Makiko translated this herself from Japanese to English, I have only altered small parts)

10 years ago, it was very unusual to find anyone who could belly dance in Japan. However, in the past few years, the popularity of belly dancing has exploded. There is even a belly dancing magazine which can be easily acquired from bookstores. In addition, international festivals are held and belly dancers from other countries are invited to attend.

In December 2012, I was in Egypt and by chance, I heard about a program organised by Maria that was being held there, luckily, I could join in part of the program.

In a 4 hour session, we become a school of fish, sometimes becoming water, fire etc…

At night we had dinner together at the host family’s house and then we danced with live music by a baladi band. I had a really good time.

Though it was only one afternoon and a night, interesting thing happened. I felt like my state of mind was changing. At the same time the tension in my body goes away and started to react by sound! I experienced a mysterious feeling.

After coming back to Japan, I got an invitation from Maria to participate in her next program, Embodied Bellydance – Embracing the Energy Field in Melbourne and I decided to join immediately.

In June 2013, myself and one of my students flew from Hokkaido, Japan to attend.
For three days, we travelled into our own body and experienced various sensations through 7 chakras.

Especially impressive one was a session of Anja called third eye chakra which is located in the middle of the fore head. As I listened to the sound

around the place I become like an antenna or a transceiver, and then my body slowly reacted to the sounds/music! It was a sequence of mysterious and emotionally moving moments.

Visuddha, throat chakra’s session, we continued moving, making sound in a circle made by elastic cloth (lycra). Surrounding strong vibration, undulation of sound, I felt like I’m not being in a real world. It also reminded me of funeral of Buddhist.

I remembered that when I listen to sutra (Buddhist scripture) I become a same state of feeling. Reading and listening sutra is relaxing and heal able, and invite me a deep meditation.

I had a heart rending feeling by singing voice . . . it was a session of Anahata, the heart chakra. I become to know that sound is caught not only by ears.

Maria is a wonderful leader; with her guidance I was able to gradually awaken the sleeping parts of my physical and sensational makeup. From the program I learned how to move from my heart, move with soul, it’s natural, the movement from the bone connection. I felt I can dance very natural then previously.page1image21700320page1image21699280

Actually there was a hard part for me, sharing each feedback after each session. Usually we tend to read someone’s feeling without relying on words. So, it is not a usual thing to do exchanging opinions, feedback and etc… I was at a loss for the first experience.
However, the efforts made during the session to express the changes and surprises that happened within me were of themselves a process that helped me further and gain a clear understanding of that change, and also my sense was awakened sometimes by other person’s feedback.

As time passes, I understand that putting my sensations in order then sharing feedback makes our experiences richer and much deeper. There were 3 international participants; Tamalyn Dallal (well known belly dancer from USA), my student and me.

A word one woman said at the end of the session is still remaining in my mind – “I was always trying to move like Maria, but now I realised that to think, breathe and to feel like Maria is the most important”. Through this 3 days, I think now I became to be able to a little. I think that it was really good that I was able to participate in her program with wonderful women. I thank for this encounter heartily.

Melbourne was a wonderful city much more than I expected. I strongly think that I want to come back again, thank you, see you!page2image21500384