Taking Tribal Global, In Their Own Words – Sarah Coffey

deeItalyDeirdre’s Dance Den with Sarah Coffey

A warm welcome from Deirdre’s Dance Den, bringing you stories from our dance community around the globe! Yes, Gypsy Caravan Tribal Bellydance™ has gone global and is welcoming new dancers and followers all the time.


I love hearing your stories and particularly those that illustrate resilience, strength and how the dance and the dance community are welcoming and supportive.

Sarah, from Cairns in Australia writes:

“Although my dance journey only began fifteen months ago it has become an inseparable part of a longer personal journey that I began almost six years ago. That journey has been one of personal tragedy and triumph and of complete gender transition. I was born male and lived in that role for forty eight years. While I was happily married and raised four children, I lived the identity imposed on me by society. The woman in me would not be silent. In 2008, I began the most important journey of my life. I lost so much, not least my family, but I gained much more. My own identity and a sense of peace I had never known.

My gender transition was completed in February 2012 in Chonburi, Thailand. An extraordinarily gifted surgeon fixed the physical and I was reborn. I began a twelve month recovery process at the end of which I was ready to face the world again. What I had been through left me very isolated.  Society is not very accepting of people in transition but I decided to break out.


In April 2013, I decided to fulfill a lifetime dream and learn to dance.


A friend in the UK was dancing tribal style, I thought, why not. I began a search for local tribal groups. The first on the list was Tribal Zest here in Cairns. I made contact and received a phone call the next day. Sienna, who ran and taught Tribal Zest explained that she had never met a transgendered woman let alone taught one but was very willing to give it a go.

Two weeks later I attended my first lesson. In the fifteen months that followed I have enjoyed every second of dancing. I have been a little slow to learn due to hips and muscles designed differently to other women but which I am slowly training to be a little more flexible.

Tribal Zest Dancers including Sarah

Some of my motivation to dance was to learn how to carry myself in a more feminine way, to improve my posture and hopefully learn a little grace. I must admit I felt like a large, uncoordinated lump when I first started. I no longer feel like that.

Tribal has allowed me to really connect with me, to know me, and to express my femininity without conscious thought.

I have been able to, through dance, connect with my tribal sisters on a level I never thought possible. Their unconditional acceptance of me has been remarkable and has enabled me to fulfill a dream and grow as a woman.

Sienna, you have taught me much more than dance, you have taught me to be free.

Tribal Zest
Tribal Zest students, Cairns, Australia


The highlight so far in my dance journey was just the other weekend when Tribal Zest appeared in the Cairns Festival Parade.  I was asked to join the girls on the float. The thought absolutely terrified me.

The last thing a woman like me wants to be is where people can abuse, taunt, or ridicule. I found the courage and joined the girls on the float. It really was the first time I had ‘put myself out there’. I need not have worried.


I had a wonderful time and my self confidence has risen to a new level.”

Sarah Coffey (Cairns, Queensland Australia)

 Share with us! We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours in dance, and best wishes,

Contact me at: Deirdre@gypsycaravan.us

Deirdre on Facebook

And Paulette adds,  “Wow, what a courageous, beautiful, life-fulfilling journey, Sarah, thank you for sharing, for standing up in your own power and beauty, and for your dance!”

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