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Chanson De Vie Dance Studio

Jessenia's Bio

Jessenia (aka Kristy/Kristina)


     My first exposure to belly dance was several years ago in Turkey where I taught English as a second language. I knew then that I would become a belly dancer.  I went dancing in the clubs often, beginning to feel a love for the language, music and dance.   We traveled through Egypt where I went to see the dance shows in the hotels.  A couple of years later when I returned to my home in California, I began searching for Middle Eastern dance teachers. I took classes primarily from Fahtiem and occasionally with Angelique and Tonya, as well as numerous workshops over the years. At first I was merely interested in the way the movements felt on my body and its wonderful conditioning and meditative effects.  It wasn’t until about ten years later that I started to really feel the desire to perform and choreograph.   In 1994-1996 I danced and choreographed theatrical pieces for an eclectic dance company.  I taught belly dance to ballet, modern and jazz dancers as well as people new to dance. I also studied exercise physiology and taught aquatic exercise classes. I took classes in modern, jazz, ballet and flamenco and designed and created costumes for the company.  When I relocated to the Houston area I began teaching middle-eastern dance at In Step Dance and Performing Arts and continued to design and create costumes for dancers.


     I earned a Master’s degree in counseling and I continue to work and pursue graduate study in the counseling field. Primarily I help people to express their emotions and intentions, identify and develop their strengths and stay moving on the path they choose.  As a dance teacher I bring this training and way of working. I express these things to my students not verbally, but through re-aligning their movements for health, beauty and dynamic performance.  I strive to help each student express their unique strengths, feelings and ways of interacting through the movements of the dance.


     I appreciate and have had some training in many variations and styles of  Belly dance.  Today I am working mostly with classical and traditional Arabic music, but I also find myself working with many other varieties of music should the setting, the dancers or the musicians request or inspire.


     I’ve had the good fortune of being able to dance with the others at Chanson De Vie for the last couple of years.  I love the fact that we create in such a collaborative manner. Where this group is, there is bound to be fun, inspiration and more fun.  You will see us dancing as a group and as soloists at weddings, parties, dance shows, festivals, local restaurants and we frequently hold studio party performances for students and their friends and families.


     A typical hour to an hour and a half intermediate class with me at Chanson De Vie will include a structured warm-up, technique, muscle strengthening, and new combinations. Through these combinations we will improve performance to a variety of rhythms, tempos, and styles of music. This class is appropriate for dancers who have had a very basic introduction to the dance, as well as the advanced dancer.  As well as dance workshops, I continue to take belly dance classes of all levels because I believe that even when a dance teacher teaches the simplest movements, there are endless nuances and variations to be discovered through the instructor, the other students, how I respond to and what I bring to the movement on a given day.


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