This life we's strange, painful at times, but oh so beautiful.

I am a fusion dance artist and teacher, a fire dancer, and a visual artist. I draw inspiration from nature, music, and the amazing people that come into my life. I am also a conservationist who makes jewelry and found object multimedia craft type art in my spare time (when I'm not reading, writing, or lighting things on fire and dancing around with them). I love to dance barefoot on the beach, watch the stars move inexorably across the heavens, and to laugh with the people that I love. I am currently based in Greenville SC, working with Discordia Arts to provide unique and exciting entertainment to the Upstate.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Dance will be there

In the past few years, many of my students have gone through difficult times, and I have found myself repeating the same thought…it’s an important thought, and I feel that it is relevant enough, and an important enough piece of my personal philosophy, to write it down:

Dance doesn’t judge you.

Dance doesn’t mind if you need to take care of other things for a little while.

Dance will be there for you when you need it.

Don’t feel guilty, if life gets in the way and you have to take a step back from dance. Don’t let dance become a burden to you. Yes, dance can push you, and if you let it, guide you to become more than you ever dreamed you can be. Dance will ALWAYS be there for you. 

That means that if you get hurt, if you lose a loved one, if you lose your way, dance is OK with you not coming to class for a little while. If you need to visit with dance only at home or in the privacy of your backyard, dance is going to understand, and dance will wrap around you and sing in your heart whenever you do find the time. 

When you come back to class and you are a little rusty, or your techniques aren’t quite where they used to be, dance doesn’t care. Dance won’t go away because you get frustrated….it’s still there, patiently waiting for you to get out of your own way.

Dance will be there for you, through thick and through thin.

Dance is inside you, and once you find your way to dance, it will never forsake you. It’s OK if you need to step back, and it’s OK to return after months, years, or even decades, away! 

Dance is here, never far away, calmly and ecstatically anticipating the day that you are ready to just get up and Dance!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

2016 Bellydance Classes and More

New Classes for 2016

A new year, and I've got a lot on the horizon!
My class offerings have expanded and in addition to dance, I'm also offering art classes through Niad, The Ward, and The William Felton School of Crafts for adults.

Join me to learn about the history of henna, paint silks, or just get crafty! Up to date information can always be found on the Discordia Arts Facebook Page and the Niad Facebook page.

In the meantime, here's a quick rundown:

Mondays (starting Feb 22) 9-10 PM
Bellydance Basics at Maya Movement Arts
201 Smythe Street, Greenville (register through mind body)

Wednesdays (starting March 9)
8 week sessions
Bellydance Basics 6:30-7:30 pm
Bellydance II lovely layering 7:30 - 8:30 pm

Upcoming workshops include bellydance and poi, silk painting, henna, and more! It's going to be an awesome year!

As always, here are a few fun photos from the last half of 2015!
Jaidra at the Enchanted Chalice Renaissance Faire

Henna Body Art by Jaidra of Niad

Jaidra in Columbia for Haflaween

Jaidra performs with Wasted Wine at Vulcanalia

Silk Painting Demo for Open Studios at the Ward

Monday, April 27, 2015

Busy busy bellydancer

A lot of changes and new things have been afoot here. Discordia Arts is hosting a monthly dance at music show here in Greenville. Our goal is to provide a venue for exploration of collaboration between bellydancers and live musicians of many different genres and to provide a professional level dance show experience that showcases a variety of styles of bellydance. Our first show, in March, saw us teaming up with Synergy Violins, a fabulous electric violin trio here in Greenville.

I've opened a studio space to allow me to take private henna appointments. It's in the Ward art studios and is called Niad, for Naturally Inspired Art and Design. I hope it's a first step on a long road of creating art. We shall see. With all of this, our regular shows with Wasted Wine, gigs with Discordia Arts, and my 6 weekly classes, I haven't had a lot of time to write. So, as will have to be worth a thousand words, and maybe next time I land here, I'll have more interesting things to say

Jaidra Photo by Scalcione Photography

An Evening of Music and Dance with Discordia Arts March Show

Jaidra with fire staff at Greenville's Indie Grits Variety Show by Film House

Brandy and Jaidra of Discordia Arts

Jaidra dances indoors at Greer's International Festival

Setting up the Niad studio

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

An Open Letter to a New Dance Student

Dear New Student,

Congratulations to you. I know how hard it is to decide to take a dance class, to put yourself out there in a way that you haven’t done before, and to try something new. You’re doing a great job. I mean that. I know that the movements may be uncomfortable or awkward, and that you’re looking around the room surreptitiously eyeing everyone else, thinking that maybe you don’t belong here because your moves aren’t as fluid or as sharp as the dancer next to you. That’s OK. It’s alright to be uncomfortable. That’s why you’re here, to learn something new, and the first time we do something new, it’s rarely easy and almost always awkward. Everyone learns at their own pace and you will learn how to do this if you stick with it and practice. I know. I’ve been there.

I’m your teacher. I’m not here to teach you how to dance like me or to get you to perform. I’m here to provide you with the tools to dance like you. If performance is your goal, then I will support you and help you along the way. I will guide you, and I will correct you, but ultimately, whether or not you learn this dance is up to you. What you get out of this dance is up to you. This dance is my joy and I hope you find joy in it as well, but all of that – it’s up to you.

There may come a time when you choose not to dance with me anymore, or just not to dance. I respect that, and I understand that life gets in the way, that sometimes I’m not the right teacher for someone, and that sometimes you will need to spread your wings and do your own thing. I’m OK with that. I want to be here to support your dance. Remember that I’m a dance student too. I’ve been there. If you have questions, you can ask me, and if you have problems, you can talk to me; just not while we’re in class. Class time is for dancing.

At the end of the day, I’m glad you’re here. I’m proud of you for choosing to try something different and something new, and I’m proud of you for working hard in class and doing your best. I’m humbled that you chose me to be your instructor, and I promise to do my best to honor and respect the trust that you’ve placed in me by continuing my own education, working hard to plan my classes, and creating a safe and supportive atmosphere for you to learn in. 

Thank you for dancing with me. Love and shimmies,


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Finishing out 2014

I've had a wonderful year. 2014 has been full of change, new experiences, great times with great people, and of course, lots of dance.

Last week, I danced live with Boom Boom Shake, a wonderful world music group on tour from New York, and had the opportunity to perform an improvisational sword piece to a beautiful chiftitelli, one of my favorite rhythms to dance to. It was a great event at a super beautiful venue, Dr Mac Arnold's Blues Restaurant in the village of West Greenville, an area of town that is really fostering some beautiful creativity in our little city. A few weeks ago, Discordia Arts and Wasted Wine brought down the house at Vulcanalia at the Artistry, one of my favorite events of the year. We set a lot of things on fire, represented the elements in a fashion show, and served PBR from our heads. I don't think anyone was bored.

A few other highlights of the last month or so include the opportunity to spin fire dressed in full sugar skull faces like we did at the Ward for their Day of the Dead show, and a chance to paint ourselves blue and perform at the local Browncoat Ball. We did that ...seriously an awesome year.

I'm looking forward to an amazing 2015. I've got new classes starting, including a much asked for series on spinning poi, and some new bellydance technique classes and choreography that will be a lot of fun. I'm planning a trip, and hoping to get back into my visual art a little bit more. I've also got a new website dedicated to classes and am working on workshop plans and more. Keep an eye out. It only gets better! :)

I'll leave you with some of my favorite images from the past few weeks.

Jaidra with Boom Boom Shake Photo by Scalcione Photography

Jaidra Representing Earth at the Vulcanalia Fashion Show

Jaidra and Brandy of Discordia Arts at the Day of the Dead Show photo by Fete Greenville

Brandy and the new Discordia Arts ATS student troupe photo by Robert Gowan

Discordia Arts with Wasted Wine at the Day of the Dead show photo by SeaJae of Cirque Studios

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Discordia Arts at the Faire

Discordia Arts had a wonderful weekend at the Enchanted Chalice Renaissance Faire in Greenville, SC, this past weekend. This was our 3rd year performing at the Faire, and it is truly getting better every year.

On Friday night we performed as the headliners along with Wasted Wine, and brought a mix of fire and shadow that the crowd really seemed to enjoy.

Saturday, we danced a pure belly dance set, our first in a long time, featuring a few of our students. We spent the rest of the day meeting amazing people and enjoying the atmosphere of family filled revelry that this small but unique event brings to the upstate.

Can't wait for next year!
Brandy with Fire Fans: Photo by SeaJae Photographer

Jaidra with Fire Staff: Photo by SeaJae Photographer
Discordia Arts Shadow Screen to Never Look Back

Discordia Arts and Students at the Faire

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I'm back, and ready for some dancing!

My summer hiatus and cross country road trip was beautiful. I hiked through Arches, Canyonlands, Grand Mesa, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, the Albion Basin, the Columbia Gorges, and parts of Jedediah Smith. I viewed wonders such as Crater Lake, the deepest freshwater lake in North America, and hugged redwood trees. I meditated and danced in the desert and slept on mountains. Now, I'm home and looking forward to dancing with my beautiful Greenville belly dance family again.

Starting tonight, Belly Dance Basics will be back at 6:30 - 7:30 at Equilibrium Zen Gym. No Belly Dance II, as that time will be spent in rehearsal for our October 11th hafla and show.

New classes will be starting in October, including an expressive dance and moving meditation class that I'm very excited about. More on that later.

I leave you with some favorite photos from my road trip. Happy shimmies!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Bellydance Class Hiatus

Classes with Jaidra are on pause for Summer, as I take a much needed vacation. I'm going to be traveling, learning, and visiting old friends during most of July and August. I expect to return and start classes back up in Fall.

In the meantime, for great dance classes in Greenville, SC, join with my lovely dance partner Brandy White of Discordia Arts on Tuesdays at Taal school of Dance.

We've had a fun couple of months performing new and old pieces across the south east, and I'm looking forward to continuing to stretch our theatrical legs and create new and exciting entertainment when I return in Fall.

Jaidra of Discordia Arts at Rusted Palace with Morgan of the Pines

Discordia Arts at the Steampunk Carnivale in Knoxville,TN
Discordia Arts at the Steampunk Carnivale

Jaidra with fire staff at Hey Look! music festival with Wasted Wine

Saturday, February 15, 2014

My Bellydance Story

Performing with Troupe Sulukule 2006
There has been a lot of reflection going around lately, and I have been contemplating what roll dance has played, and will continue to play, in my life.

It's a long story....Let's start in late elementary - middle school and early high school

I was not comfortable with myself for a very long time as I was growing up. It's not a sob parents are both amazingly supportive and loving individuals, and I had great friends...but rather an unpleasantly common story of growing up as a woman in our culture.

I was slightly chubby. (or, at least I thought I was)

I was painfully shy (still am, actually)...and my mother told me that my shyness made people think I was stuck up (which was probably correct), and this caused me to withdraw even more.

Triboriginal Pre-performance 2006
I was uncomfortable with girls my age, and I was picked on  because I was smart and cared about how well I did in school. I loved to learn, but hadn't yet learned to love myself.

I looked at magazines filled with young women who were impossibly beautiful, and didn't understand why I couldn't look like that, no matter how much I starved myself.

So, clumsy, shy, quiet, and depressed, I continued to grow and try my best to find a place for myself. In high school, I started my first long term was not good, and for three years I struggled with self image, depression, self harm, and an emotionally abusive boyfriend.
Me: Opening for Raquy 2009

I went to college, and things started to change. I became more comfortable with who I was. I fell in love for the first time, and got engaged. I made friends who would become lifelong companions, and I did well in school...but I was still quietly unhappy whenever I was alone. Though I was by no means overweight or disfigured, I still saw an ugly woman when I looked in the mirror.

In 2002, one year before I graduated college, my fiance and I broke up.....and I broke.

Solo Performance 2010
It was a dark time for me. In outward appearance, things were fine, but inside, I was heart broken, lost, depressed, confused, and quietly miserable.

A friend of mine convinced me to try a belly dance class with her.

I went. I had always been curious about belly dance, and I'd never done anything quite like it. I needed to do something that was for me, and it seemed like a good place to start.

Jaidra and Brandy with Wasted Wine 2011

My teacher was twice my size...and the control that she had over her body, the way her face lit up when she danced, the impressive movement of her hips...was mesmerizing.

There was a 70 something year old grandmother in the class, wrinkled and white haired, and she was so beautiful, confident, and healthy. Watching her dance made me realize that I could do this.

All ages, all shapes and sizes, all colors of skin...and the moves looked different on everyone, but they were all beautiful.

I found that when I was concentrating on making my hips move up and down in time to the beat, or circling my chest while holding the rest of my body still, that the concerns and the darkness in my mind retreated.

I grew stronger, developed more muscle control, and as I practiced, the moves and isolations that had seemed so difficult began to take shape in my own body.

And, then I moved away...and moved again.

With my students 2011..It's now my  joy to share what I love
In 2006, I moved to Athens, GA. I was in another difficult place, and I had stepped away from bellydance over a period of about a year. The boy that I was dating was bad for me, and I knew it. I knew I needed to find my way I looked for a bellydance class. I found Christy Fricks, someone who was to later become an incredible influence in my life, as a teacher, mentor, and friend. She welcomed me in to her beginner and intermediate class, and when she founded her troupe, she included me. My first public performance occurred that year, and as a member of Troupe Sulukule, I began to find my voice as a dancer, surrounded by strong women, and to explore the dance community and all that it had to offer.

Me with Evelyn and Brandy 2013
My story continues in this vein. Sometimes I lose my way. Sometimes things get dark, and I make mistakes, or mistakes find me...sometimes, life just hurts, and I look in the mirror and wonder who I am. Dance helps. I find myself when I dance. I am able to accept my flaws, enjoy my abilities, and push myself to become "more" while being OK with where I am now.

Belly dance has changed my life. 

I have met so many amazing women (and men) through dance...I have seen people overcome so much. Loss, major health problems, chronic diseases, depression, divorce, self image and self esteem story isn't unique. Belly dance heals. It heals me over and over again, every day.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I am a bellydancer

I dance because I have found myself in the movement.
I dance to express joy and share passion or sorrow.
I dance to push myself beyond the boundaries of what I ever thought I could do.
I dance empowered as a woman, to love who I am.
I dance with sisters, and with friends.
I dance because to dance is to become one with the universe.
To dance is to be whole.
Brandy and Jaidra of Discordia Arts with Fire Fans
To dance is to dream.