A Dancer Brings Cancer Patients On A Belly Dance Journey
It is not an uncommon to hear from belly dancers: "I fell in love with the dance..." "teaching is my new passion..." "I love the way belly dance makes me feel." Is it cliche? Not if you know Louisiana belly dancer Sphinx.
When asked how and when she started dancing, she said, "I was dancing from the day I started walking, ranging from ballet, lyrical, hip-hop and even some body pumping classes in local gyms." However, when money got a little tight, she had to find a savvy way to keep dancing.
She was lucky enough to stumble across Dolphina's Goddess Life Belly Dance DVDs. Sphinx said that, “I fell in love with a new way of dance and couldn't stop myself once I started!" It also created a new bond with her sister, Paige 'Mynx' Scamardo.
A few years later they were on the search locally to find belly dance classes and teachers. They both started in a local tribal fusion classes and eventually made the change to American Cabaret, through Leigh 'Safira' Dokos (All Points Belly Dance) in 2007 and Spinx became her assistant instructor in 2008.
But this dancer's story has not always been as easy; in her 7th month of classes she got into a serious car accident putting her bed-rest for 6 months. Sphinx still tried to attend classes, even though the doctor disapproved. Stating that she "fought long and hard to build her leg, neck, and back muscles, so I could dance again." Not giving up even though she will live in pain for the rest of her life, she never stopped trying!
Not very long after recovering from her car accident, a trip to the dermatologist revealed that she had a rare form of cancer called Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans (DFSP). Having to get a large piece of skin removed from her left upper back/shoulder, the skin that was removed left little flexibility and movement in her shoulder and neck. Once again, she had to relearn to dance with her 'new' upper body. She realized that dancing was actually helping her overcome her stiff and injured muscles; she found a new outlet for her passion. "Each time I faced these new bumps in the road, my dancing changed as much as I did."
Teaching is her new passion, and not your typical students they all are cancer patients, caretakers, and loved ones through St. Tammany Parish Hospital (Covington, LA) and Slidell Memorial Hospital (Slidell, LA). She prides herself in being a not your typical teacher, hoping her students seek their own maximum potential and reach for the stars!
"I have learned my own personal strength and can now find myself beautiful, even with my physical ailments, cancer and scars." Learning a new way to move is one area that she constantly teaching her students, just like her many of them have physical ailments that they have to overcome. She always reassures them that "one is never too old or too hurt to reach their goals!"
Having been through all the different bumps in her road, she has a very different outlook on life from her belly dance journey. "Some people go to church to find the answers they are looking for, they seek answers to explain the outside world, they pray for appreciation of the good times, and strength and perseverance to help them through the bad I dance because I know no other way to pray."