Guest Post on Tribal Bellydance- Toni reflects on our dance intensive and Breitenbush


Toni Ree Grenz

It’s true, I have my dancer students journal when they are taking my intensives. I so believe that journaling is empowering, mind clearing, thought provoking, healing, and so much more. Many of you know that already, either because you do journal, or you’ve been reading my stuff! I am so turned on when I read what my dancers and students write, whether it be stream of consciousness, something with a art/tribal focus, or a poem, doesn’t matter…if it is in your mind, get it out and be heard, damn it!

I have read and seen so many great words/stories/feelings, especially when posed with a more directed question, some of which seem so simple or easy to answer. So Toni, who has been studying with me for several years and teaches tribal on the east coast, was at three of my intensives this past April and May, and came to my annual Breitenbush Tribal Bellydance retreat again, (she taught a short segment on Laughter Yoga, and had the room in stitches…holy crap, it was fun and she is funny!)

So over the intensives, I asked this next question:

What Kind of Meaning Does Dance Give to My Life?

It balances me. In grace, poise, feeling…. connecting me to my  tribal sisters, nurturing my spirit. It completes me (trite saying I know, but it’s so true) I can’t imagine myself NOT dancing. It is who I am now, what I’ve become and will continue to be, letting it mature and age gracefully with me into my old age.

Morning Pages May 3rd (testing today)

Happy. Trying to stay calm and seriously focused. Fabulous breakfast with my fabulous tribal sister.
I am ready to dance. I am ivory soap (99.9 0/0) sure that I will graduate today. I’d like to say “God willing”, or “as the sun shines”, but it’s raining today, “liquid sunshine” as it was conveyed to Dierdre this morning.
I feel beautiful, and think I look beautiful today to boot! Woo Hoo, Bring it on Paulette, I’m Ready!!!

Mourning Pages (last day of third test)
What was I thinking? I’m getting to old to have overlapping intensives, of ANY kind. My body aches, my lower back is crunchy, the balls of my feet are ready to bleed. I don’t know which end is up. I can’t see straight, everything is a blur.
Whew! I passed!!! okay, it was all worth it.
Paulette’s middle name is “journal”, I’m pretty sure. And yeah, she’ll make you journal too. Like it or not. But it kinda grows on you. (Only took me about 4 years. ) So I’m seriously thinking of journaling now. I still think that it’s bad enough that what I think sometimes makes it out of my mouth, but to put it on paper is like engraving something in stone. Hard to erase. But I’ve been thinking of all the hilarious things that happen to me, and think that maybe, just maybe, I should at least write those down., you know, in case I ever write a book or a comedy. (I like to think I’m funny, even if my family thinks otherwise.) And I believe that I would have a helluvalot of stuff written by the time I die. BUT, if I write enough stuff in two or three years to fill a book, will that mean I’m done for? Crap, I hope not.

On another note: Here’s my rendition of my solitary hot tub experience at Breitenbush one early morning.

The Pools that Pull

Early one morning I strolled on down to the five man-made round tubs behind the main lodge. All alone, I undressed, and noticed a sign on the pole I hung my towel on. “Illumination” from the EAST. So, figuring
that I was here from the east, I’d try that pool first. Nice. Easy. Not too hot. I can handle this. Then, on to the next. “Joy” in the SOUTH pool. Yeah, no problems. Relaxing nicely. I knew from last year that the pool to my left was the hottest. The one I couldn’t even get my big toe into last year. I wondered, I missed one, the one from the North. Okay, I walked over to it, dunked my foot in. Too cool. Don’t want that one. So I looked up at the pole and read “Wisdom”. Wow I thought, must already be pretty darn wise, don’t need that one this morning. So on to the hottest one. ” Introspection” from the West. YEAH! I did it. AND I’m not dying. I’m actually enjoying this. WOW. Merina and Magdelaina would be so proud of me. Okay, what’s the name of that cold-water-plunge pool? I walked over, no sign, stuck my foot in and HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, can’t
do it. I title it “FUCKING CRAZY”, and I’m not there yet. Who knows, maybe next year.


Alrighty then, how fabulous was that? And just imagine where her writing can go! And I am delighted to read it and to share it with you…come on peeps, get journaling, lay it down, send it to me!

love that….

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