Monday, February 20, 2017

It's Mardi Gras!

If you live in New Orleans, you are likely just like me, unable to focus on "real work" because you are excited about the upcoming parades and Mardi Gras activities....
So just so you can have all the details ready for after Mardi Gras. Here is a quick recap of what's coming up:

  • Classes Resume March 9th (4 week and 6 week Sessions)
  • Dancing our Way Home resumes March 14th (7 week session): I am serving as facilitator for the Dancing Our Way Home program offered by Tamalyn Dallal starting with our second session TUESDAY, MARCH 14, 2017 for 7 weeks. These sessions will take place at Tamalyn's in home studio in the French Quarter. It's a beautiful space and open to any student wishing to delve into Middle Eastern Dance studies with a world renowned master instructor, choreographer, author, event producer, and all around amazing teacher.
  • Awaken the Goddess Retreat March 23rd (Sword Dancing, Energy Healing, Massage)
For a Complete Schedule, click here
For a listing and Calendar of Events, click here

Friday, February 10, 2017

#33 in the Top 100 Belly Dance Blogs

So honored to have been awarded Top 100 Belly Dance Blog by Anuj Agarwal, Founder of Feedspot.

"I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog Belly Dance New Orleans - Shimmy Soul has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 100 Belly Dance Blogs on the web. I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 100 Belly Dance Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!" Anuj Agarwal, Founder of Feedspot. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Save the Dates: March 26 & April 23

Happy Friday, Goddesses!
It's a great day for EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENTS!!!!

This spring, two sweet offerings, for some energy clearing and restoration. We have two incredible AWAKEN THE GODDESS RETREATS scheduled for you!

SAVE THE DATES: March 26 & April 23
For the Belly Dance Goddess Hour by Karla Marie Full Calendar of Events, Click here

Sunday March 26

with Gwenda
(no experience necessary, 
we have swords you can borrow)

by Karla Marie

Therapeutic Massage 
by Jessica Heno, LMT

Sunday, April 23

with Mistress Ilea Bizarre

by Karla Marie

Therapeutic Massage 
by Jessica Heno, LMT

Awaken the Goddess Retreat: April 23, 2017

Join us for a day dedicated to restoring, renewing, and awakening the goddess! This retreat's sweet offerings include "Intro to Improvisational Tribal Style" and "Restorative Energy Clearing including Therapeutic Massage"

Click here to join the Facebook Event Page

Sunday, April 23, 2017


NOLA Spaces
1719 Toledano St. 
New Orleans

$50 Full Day (10::00am-3:30pm)
$30 Per Session (ITS, Sword, or Energy Healing)
$25 Deposit (Reserves your spot, Balance due April 16, 2017)

Register via PayPal OR Check by April 16, 2017

Registrants can choose a single session or the full day. 
This workshop is limited to 12 dancers. 
Registration will close once we are at full capacity.
Highly recommend early registration.


MORNING SESSION with Mistress Ilea Bizarre
Just Cue It! 
Intro to Improvisational Tribal Style dance (ITS)
With Mistress Ilea Bizarre 

There is an undeniable magic that emerges from dance improvisation. It's the ability to interpret music as movement with passion and spontaneity, combined with a nonverbal communication and deep connection to the tribe you're dancing with that makes group improvisation a powerful dynamic to add to your dance repertoire. 

This class will include concepts, basic steps, cues, and combos designed to introduce group improvisational dance and have you on your way to creating and applying your own language of movement, giving the advantage of on the spot "choreography" to suit your practice and performance needs. Open to all levels with a basic foundation of fundamental belly dance movement.


Sword Session with Gwenda Bourgeois
(Those interested in purchasing a sword, contact me for link)

Partner or Prop?  
Introduction to Dancing with a Sword
with Guest Instructor Gwenda
Reveal your inner warrior goddess with strong poses and controlled moves. Let the power of dancing with a sword infuse your bellydance with strength!

Balance. Grace. Harmony. Strength.
Sword technique and moves that will leave a lasting impression.
Increase your strength, poise, and posture while you and your shiny partner practice a series of steps, spins and combination,  level changes, poses and transitions, traveling moves, and balancing your sword on different areas of your body. 

This workshop is structured for dancers who have little or no experience of sword work, dancers who have some sword experience, but want to bring their sword to performance level, will also benefit from this workshop. 

Energy Healing Session with Karla Marie and Jessica Heno, LMT

* Bring two pillows, a yoga mat, a small throw or blanket/jacket as it tends to get cool during the healing.

*  Restorative poses | Essential Oil Therapy
*  Chakra Activation | Energy Clearing
*  Meditation & Visualization Exercises

In the Spring, it’s natural to think about what’s transpired in the beginning months and prepare to welcome positive new energy to support your intentions in the months ahead. 

I believe it is most important to bring awareness to what energy belongs to us and to allow this to flow within and be protected, while releasing all the energy that does not belong to us, releasing all those things that do not nourish us with forgiveness and compassion. 

This time will be dedicated to clearing our energy centers, the most important space in our life, to create our “ultimate sanctuary” within ourselves, activating positive intentions, opening our energy centers and sealing our energy for protection.

We will do this through the powerful healing available through dance and movement. We will start our workshop by connecting to our body and move through our energy centers, ending in a restorative therapeutic session.

Use the "Send Money" option
Send payment to:

Email to complete registration and receive mailing address for check.
Join us. _/|\_ love, light, and happy shimmies

Belly Dance Goddess Hour by Karla Marie  |  Shimmy Shakti Troupe 

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Class this week

Basic Elements of Belly Dance
Thursday 7pm

Belly Dance Intensive
Saturday 10:30am

Join us :)



A POST FROM JANUARY 2015... on my way to my first out of town workshop.

Thanks to my loving husband and sweet boys who have supported my passion for belly dance. 

With a family of five there are always a myriad of plans. Some are fun activities and events, but truth be told...  most are not optional, very demanding, and important household to dos. It's easy as a mother, wife, and professional to lose oneself in the daily to dos and obligations. This leaves us with very little energy to even think of what we might spend our "free time" on. Not to mention, there is really no such thing. 

When I am home, with "nothing to do", I am already on a "to do", running a load of laundry, washing the dishes, checking homework, picking up dirty clothes and shoes from the living room, doing bills, cooking, changing diapers, finding a lost cleat or soccer ball, caring for an injury, making a grocery list, or directing traffic and mobilizing the individuals I call my children so they can be productive. This requires energy and stamina, as well. They WILL NOT listen to me the first time when asked to clean, so it requires a few loops around to get the visual and the audio that comes with the command. Then... I have raised boys that will not get pushed around, that have a sense of pride in themselves, and that enjoy team work. This means, if I am going to require that they work and be happy doing it. I have to model the behavior... so there is no "mami lying on the couch watching TV" while they bust butt... oh no, at my house, it is through action (mine, of course) that I inspire any sort of productivity :) which I am happy to do because with 3 boys, we need to get that thick air moving and cleared out, if you know what I mean!?

So, why I am getting all long and winded about this. Because I want to make it abundantly clear that it is not easy to make time for "myself". The fact that I do, and I have been for 9 years makes it appear as if it is. It is not! And when you have a family... it is not only a commitment on your own, but it must also be a family commitment. It is difficult to force myself to be active. It is almost, near impossible to find the time and/or energy to even "think" about myself, let alone my body, and forget about my mind or emotional state. If I don't make this commitment for myself, it is even more difficult for my family, my husband, my children, and much less my friends and employer to know that this is important. Carving out time for "me" so I can dance with a group of women/friends on a weekly basis (sometimes twice a week) is like a DREAM for a mother of three, professional, and entrepreneur, and very very hard to reach. But I am 100% committed to making it happen and so are my boys (to helping me make it happen)! It starts with me. It is important. It is difficult. But it IS possible. 

So... everyday, when I show up, at my belly dancing class, I congratulate myself for doing it, for taking the time, and appreciate myself for paying attention to my heart and my body. Then I thank and appreciate the beautiful students that show up each class that have no idea what they have done for me all these years.

It starts with one commitment.... then, it turns into one week at a time, to 1 month at a time, to 1 year at a time, to now 9 years of regular, weekly belly dance practice, and 6 years of those as weekly belly dance instruction, 4 years of weekly yoga practice, 3 years of Kundalini yoga studies, 2 years of weekly energy work and meditation practice, 1 year of Reiki studies and practice, 6 months of reflexology studies, and the moments and spaces keep opening up. They are an incredible gift to my heart and spirit directly from God. I can't believe I ever said no to all of it.

So, each class, I go home and I hug my hubby and my babies and thank them for "holding down the fort" for those couple of hours per week, for entertaining my energetic discussions about how amazing and beautiful my belly dancing lovelies are, and for listening to my conversations about the glute pulses or hip shimmies that we converted into Egyptian shimmies, the energy that was balanced at my clearing, the strong connection I felt to the guardians and angels at a session, their chant preference for a particular cool down, etc. They know this time is sacred for me and they know it rejuvenates my soul and my spirit and they know it provides me with the SISTERHOOD I need to make it through this crazy daily routine.

They don't giggle at my belly dancing skills, they don't roll their eyes when I say I have a performance or do a fire clearing, they don't try to convince me that this is not a "real" job. They don't judge, they just support and love me.

Many days and weekends we have spent, driving around town, meeting with studio owners, negotiating prices, signing rental agreements, and finding the perfect location for my classes. They humor me asking them for Marketing ideas when I am organizing sessions and posting my craiglist, blog, or facebook listings. They do a line up to smell essential oil combinations and help me pick the perfect one. They know how seriously I take it and they support me as a family.

If I'm too tired to drive, they drive me to class, if we have a must-do activity that might challenge the family schedule, they wait for me at the sport store or park, or restaurant and engage in their own fun while I'm in class, if there is homework and housework.... well, they usually wait for me for that one! But at least they are ready with a big glass of ice and water when I walk in and say "Hey ma! How was your class? Did you have a good time? We were waiting for you cause we wanted to eat dinner with you."

Long story, short, I feel supported in my quest to UNDERSTAND MY BODY, TO LOVE MY BODY, TO CONNECT WITH MY SPIRIT, AND TO HEAL MY SOUL SO THAT IT SHINES BRIGHT :) Belly Dance, yoga, Reiki, and all the things it comes with...brings me closer and closer each day.

All this to say that it has been a dream for so many years to train with the best and get deeper and better at my practice. I have had many opportunities with Yoga and Reiki, but not Belly Dancing, not like this. Finally, the shimmy doors open up and it is my time! I have actively looked for opportunities to train with Suhailia Salimpour the last 2 years. My students and I have belly danced to every Drum Solo by Issam Houshan and now I get to dance to him LIVE. With thousands of Suhaila's Intensive programs and workshops all around the world... Taipei, Belgium, UK, Canada, Mexico, it's been difficult to find one that I can attend. But it is finally happening, right in my backyard.

ATLANTA, here we come! And in September it's off to Austin! Finally, next weekend, I take the first step towards my Belly Dance Certification. 

I cannot tell you how my spirit feels at this very moment. Neglect, fear, sadness and sorrow brought me to belly dancing in 2005. A single mom, with a defeated and lost heart. Today, I am a new person. This time, I arrive at Belly dancing with a beautiful, loving husband, and my happy, healthy, gorgeous boys. We all hop in a car smiling, and with a grateful heart that is filled with love and joy! On our way to mami's Belly Dancing training :)

I'm a little excited, as you can tell! :) Definitely looking forward to this wonderful experience.

Namaste y'all and hope I see you at Belly Dancing this year!
I'm gonna be burning with passion for the dance and ready with new skills and techniques to share!
It's gonna be a great year!

This morning I was talking to a friend...

This morning I was talking to a friend...

a Social Worker who works with patients in a hospital that specializes in homicidal and suicidal cases. I simply asked "How are you?" She told me how stressful some of the cases had been recently. She is very committed to her work and I can understand how her well-being is directly related to her job.

It sounded like it had been a stressful week, so I asked her what she was doing for self-care. Her answer was "nothing, really. I mean, I went to bed early last night". My response to that was "you know, sleep is a necessity. I meant what are you actively doing to restore from a long day/week, to help improve your mood, help restore your mind, and move your body"  you know... increase circulation and stimulate all those lovely muscles of yours?


I definitely know how it is to be stressed, I definitely know it's difficult and challenging to balance life, I know how challenging it is to fine 1 minute to yourself... so much more difficult to find 1 hour or 3 hours in a week. However, I believe in making self-care high priority. I made a commitment to myself many years ago that I would make time, at a time when I was convinced it was not possible and I proved myself wrong. It is very possible. Even with 3 kids, a husband, a dog, a demanding full time job, two side businesses, and a very active social calendar, it is possible and it is important.


Why am I sharing this? Well, I think this group is made up of a lot of strong women, definitely a lot of busy women, and whether its belly dancing, or yoga, or salsa, or swing dancing, or your Mardi Gras dance group, or some other exercise class.... I think we all need to seek ways and engage in activities that help improve our mood, execise/move our bodies, and restore our minds. Not once a week or twice a week, but at least 3 times a week. The conversation with my friend ended with me recommending she find 3 activities per week that would accomplish this and her replying "I will do 3 and report back" It's possible life will be crazy and it will take several months or a year to establish this new routine, but perhaps it got her thinking.... thinking is good. Reflecting on our daily choices and thinking about ourselves.


There are 168 hours in EVERY week. Make at least 3 of them about you. That is .018% of your time. that's point. zero. one. eight. percent. Not even 1%. And I know... sometimes it's because we are tired. We don't wanna move. However, that is when it is most important to move, activity boosts energy, if you are experiencing low energy you are not engaging in enough activity.


Fight the couch.... fight inactivity.... Awaken the Goddess and get your butt moving! Rest is not found lying down. Rest is found when your heart and mind are connected and at peace. Restore, Improve your Mood, Improve your health!

Consider moving to rest. Consider withdrawing to stay connected. Consider dancing for health.
- Karla Marie