If it weren’t for Suhaila and the Suhaila Salimpour format, I’m not sure I’d still be belly dancing. Starting with my very first exposure to the format through my first teacher Kim Leary in New Jersey, I knew this was something that I could really sink my teeth into… and 8 years later, I feel like I’m barely scratching the surface of what this format has to offer me. Suhaila herself is a mentor to us, her students, in the true sense. She is the Mentor to our Telemachus, the Obi Wan and Yoda to our Luke Skywalker, the Morpheus to our Neo. She gives us the tools with which to become stronger dancers and individuals, pushing us to always do our very best, not only on the stage or in the studio, but every day. She is encouraging without being pandering, strict without being cruel, and demanding without being harsh. She asks more from us than we think we can give, but we give it… when Suhaila asks something of me in my dance, it’s because she believes in my abilities–often more than I believe in my capabilities. And do have someone like Suhaila as my mentor is more than I ever expected from this dance form, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings for me as I continue my studies with her.