Jamie Gray

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Hometown: Dalton, GA

Occupation: Belly dance performer and teacher

Favorite Southern saying: “Britches” for shorts

What’s your inspiration for what you do? The emotional feelings I get only when dancing. And the enjoyment I see in my students when they get that same feeling also. It keeps me going. I have to keep sharing this art.

What’s the most rewarding thing about it? Getting to see and be a part of the student’s journey. When the student is in the moment and nothing else matters except her and her emotions and the energy moving through her when she is owning herself in her hard work and discoveries. And in return she enjoys what she does and it allows her to feel and express herself more completely.

What’s your biggest challenge? Getting through to our community what belly dance is and what it is not. It's not just fun and games/playtime (although we do have a blast together) and it's not stripping! It is work learning to connect with our own bodies and working together to accomplish goals. We truly build up physical, mental and emotional wellness.

What does it mean to be a Southern woman? Just as any woman anywhere, I believe in being responsible for myself and my actions. Being attentive to the world around me but not getting lost in it. Remembering that it takes equal amount of good as well as the not so good things in life to keep us balanced.

Information about Gray and her work is available online at www.bluesunfusion.com.