In 2010 4dancers readers will hear from a range of guest contributors here and there, talking about different styles of dance, or just sharing thoughts about the dance world. Today I would like to introduce Karen Hersh, a teacher and performer in the American Tribal Belly Dance style. I’ve asked Karen to share some information about how she became involved in dance so that you can get to know her a little bit…
My name is Karen, but I dance under and answer to the name of Piper. I began dancing close to 20 yrs ago in California when I decided to get in shape. I signed up for a what I thought was a ‘ballet’ workout class but in reality, it was a ballet floor bar class that was taught by a woman who studied and performed in Russia.
After a few years of that, I moved back to the Chicago area and started taking modern dance classes in Oak Park and in Chicago, and eventually had the privilege to study for a few years under the direction of the dance company Deeply Rooted. While I loved dancing with Deeply Rooted, I felt I needed to leave and focus on my personal life (as I just moved in with my now husband Brian). After about a year being away from dance, he suggested I find something to do. And so I did: belly dance.
I took my first class at Belle Plaine studios with a woman named Taj. I had no idea that I was at the beginning of my tribal fusion dance career. After Taj, I moved onto taking American Tribal Style (ATS) with Gabrielle Deschaine in Berwyn/Forest Park. And the rest, they say, is history.
Since that little beginning with Taj, I’ve taken as many classes as possible to improve on my own unique style of tribal fusion. I’ve been blessed to have been invited to teach overseas in the UK at Tribal Ford in England, (which is a weekend long group of workshops held in the Ford Castle located in Northumberland, England), and then 2 different workshops in Dublin and Glasgow. I am currently teaching my style of tribal fusion at Pineapple Dance Studio in Forest Park.