Sometimes in life, we seek out leadership – we intentionally look for an opportunity to rise above and make ourselves, and others, better. Other times, leadership is bestowed upon us out of no act of our own and we have a choice to either accept the challenge, or to pass – to lead others when others desire leading, or not. In this case, the opportunity to lead was laid upon me and I was inspired to act by creating Sojourn Belly Dance Company. From 2005 through 2015, I had the honor to dance alongside and under the tutelage of one of Memphis’ forefront belly dancers – Liz London, founder of Tribal Memphis, Memphis Raqs Belly Dance, and Lavinnia London’s Cabaret. During that time, I myself instructed and performed professionally under the Memphis Raqs name, and attended numerous belly dance conferences and workshops locally and afar – learning and cultivating skills from the tribal fusion belly dance greats (Zoe Jakes, Mira Betz, Donna Mejia, Kami Liddle, April Rose, Jules Downum and Mardi Love – to name just a few). I continuously seek new avenues of inspiration and dance motivation for growth and improvement. In addition, I maintain a regular yoga practice that influences and enhances my dance daily. Sojourn opened its doors in May 2016 upon the announcement of Liz’s departure from the Memphis area. My hope is to foster and continue to grow the same love for belly dance that sparked my heart all those years ago, in the hearts of my students. I want to encourage and support other women as they discover their own potential through the spirit of belly dance. It is more than just a shimmy and a shake – it is an exciting journey!
- Elizabeth Steiner
- Douglas E. Taylor