Passions

Safiya has a number of other interests that she has been involved with over the course of her lifetime. Some are simply hobbies that bring her great joy, while others are Life Pursuits that are almost cherished as much as Dance itself...

In the Okinawan Martial Art style of 'Motobu Ha Shito Ryu Karate Do' she advanced to ShoKyu (or First Brown Belt), under the instruction of Kyoshi Bill Woodard (seventh degree Black Belt of Ocala Karate Dojo). The structured class environments, rigorous stretching and exercises, and dedication to excellence made a natural transition to the dance class. Her teaching methods have been greatly influenced by this, and helped to transform her into the exceptional teacher that she has become.

Likewise, studying Kata, a Japanese word describing detailed choreographed patterns of movements practiced either solo or in pairs, has been helpful in understanding how to learn, as well as teach, dance in all of its basic movements. Kata are also used in many traditional Japanese arts such as theater forms like Kabuki and schools of tea ceremony (Chado), but are most commonly known for their presence in the martial arts.

Safiya's Martial Art background complements an already innate talent she has for breaking down dance movements to their basest forms. For new students, this helps them build muscle memory and becomes a priceless tool for tackling the complexities of isolations and layering found in Belly Dance. On another note, more advanced students are quickly introduced to a whole new way to bring fluid motion and grace to their dance style. Her involvement in the musical elements of her pursuits began soon after she fell in love with the exotic rhythms associated with Raqs Sharqi. She found that understanding these rhythms helped her to connect with the music in Middle Eastern dance, so she made it her aspiration to learn the Doumbek, Riq, and Zils/Sagat. In the process of learning these instruments, she became involved with local artists, enthusiasts, and drum circles, and now she integrates music theory, rhythms, and sagat work as a regular part of her dance classes and workshops.

Safiya is also an accomplished rider and was a horse-owner and competitor for much of her life. Her involvement with equines includes many breeds and disciplines and not only was she a participant, but also a riding instructor, as well as a manager of a large thoroughbred breeding operation in Ocala, Florida. Her favorite breed is the Egyptian Arabian, and her personal riding horse, Arahm Zahar, was a cherished member of her family for well over fourteen years before passing away of old age.

        ← Safiya's Story
"When Safiya dances it becomes obvious, very quickly, that she has natural talent and passion seen in her creating, reacting, and adding to the pretty melodies, a sweet and refreshing stage presence rendering the whole experience more complete." George W. Wakim of Lexington, Kentucky