AnneMarie Edwards, a bellydance instructor with Daza Dance Ballroom Academy in Atlanta, says she is passionate about sharing the expression of graceful, feminine strength through dance. She has trained in ballet, Latin and ballroom dance with local and international instructors who are renowned champions in their fields. She has been involved with teaching and performing bellydance in the metro-Atlanta area for the last 7 years and recently got the opportunity to compete as an amateur in a major ballroom competition, the Hotlanta Dance Challenge.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
There are so many “favorites” working in dance. What is truly amazing and unique as a bellydance instructor is seeing women of various ages, body types and even nationalities discover (or rediscover) their femininity and embrace its beauty.
Your least favorite?
It is personally difficult seeing a woman give up on herself—thinking she’s too old or too out of shape to dance.
How did you come to this point in your career in dance?
I believe it is fate. The dream of becoming a dancer that I had as a 16-year-old girl never went away, no matter how much I tried to bury it or rationalize it away. Bellydancing brought me personal dance power. Competing as an amateur in the ballroom arena made my dance dream a reality!
What do you see as the keys to being your “best self”?
I believe in living my best life—one life, one shot. I am adamant about finding your passion and pursuing your dream. I believe it’s one of the strongest lessons I can teach my children—and I try to lead by example.
What’s the hardest lesson you’ve ever learned?
Time waits for no one.
What has been your greatest achievement?
The birth of my two amazing daughters.
What’s your No. 1 fitness and health secret?
For fitness, my No. 1 secret is to have a mentor, such as a personal trainer, who will hold you accountable. For health, it is to choose to be happy every day.
What’s your fitness regimen?
As a minimum, I dance 10 hours per week between bellydancing and ballroom dancing. I work out with a personal trainer, Rachel Payne at House of Payne, 2 hours a week, and monitor what I eat.
What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
The gift of a second chance in dance. As my dream of being a principal dancer with a ballet company started to fade with every year that passed after the ripe age of 21, I found myself again in dance as a lone bellydancer. From that familiar spark, the longing to be successful in partner dancing reignited, and I began competing as an amateur in the Pro-Am category of ballroom dancing with professional ballroom instructor Josh Jones. The dance continues—from ballet to bellydance to ballroom!