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.

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.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Bring A Friend, Free Bellydance Class Day!

Jaidra and Brandy of Discordia Arts: Sword Duet at Ren Faire

I'm having a special promo class the first week in February. Bring a friend, and BOTH of your classes are free. Check out more information here, and like the Discordia Arts Facebook page while you're there to keep up with our performance and class schedule.

Now, your first class with me is always free, so this promo is mostly for my current students, but if you're reading this early, you can get 2 free classes by coming in for your first class ahead of time and then bringing a friend on Bring A Friend Day. Bellydance has changed my life, and I love to teach it...come give it a try and maybe you'll love it to!
Jaidra with some of  her students at the 2013 Discordia Arts Spring Student Showcase