Written by Mallory Rose of Sangha Space
Najia is a Belly Dance instructor and Tango dancer. She brings a very natural and spiritual
perspective to her teaching and dancing. Najia is passionate, friendly, open, and honest. You can
find Najia in Tango classes Wednesday and Thursday evenings at the studio! Ladies, Belly Dance
classes are offered Monday evenings at Sangha Space! The second Friday of each month is ďGoddess
Night OutĒ, a celebration of mystical movement, feminine energy, and internal reflection. Come
transform through movement!
WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
In Philadelphia, PA
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN BELLY DANCING?
Over 20 years. Actually much longer, but Iím afraid to show my age.
WHATíS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT IT?
Itís the most beautiful dance I could ever imagine and you feel the beauty move through your
body and it transforms how you feel. Itís so feminine. All of the beauty, it can make me cry
when I think about it sometimes.
ANY ADVICE FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE NEW TO BELLY DANCING?
Donít be so hard on yourself. There are no tests. The thing is, youíre gonna be a beginner
for a long time. As a beginner, it takes a couple years to cycle through the moves to build
a foundation. Thereís people in the class who have been in there 2 months, 12 months, 2 years,
and then a lot of professionals (dancing 10 years+) will still take my beginner class for
foundation. So, often what happens is people compare themselves to others in the class rather
than being inspired on them. So theyíre hard on themselves. If you see something that you
like that someone else is doing, stand behind them and be inspired and say ďIĒm gonna do that
The main thing is to connect to your deep feminine feeling. Itís the most important thing, rather
than analyzing everything. If youíre feeling anxious and critical, youíre not going to learn. You
have to relax and know that I interview all of the people that come through to make sure that
supportive people are coming into community of supportive women. And donít deny yourself a dance
that has no pre-requisite for weight. Thereís all shapes, sizes, and ages who do this
professionally, let alone as students. Itís so great for stress relief, major stress relief.
Women become transformed psychologically, emotionally, and physically. My students literally
change before my eyes. They start doing everything differently, sculpt their bodies,
experimenting with make-up or doing their hair differently. They really get in touch with their
CAN YOU DESCRIBE BELLY DANCING IN 3 WORDS?
Earthy. Sensual. Feminine.
HOW DID YOU ENCOUNTER TANGO?
I first encountered tango in these old black and white movies, and the music and the feel
of it. Then I got this old antique flip book, where you could watch people tango by flipping
the pages and it made a movie. And I said, ďsomeday Iím gonna do thisĒ. I tried to break
down the steps of each pages, but that was useless. You need a partner. Now I have some
nights off, so I can finally come.
ANY ADVICE FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE NEW TO TANGO?
Relax, everyoneís friendly. Sangha Space tends to attract the best people, it really does.
Iíve taught in and been to many studios, and thereís a reason people will drive 3 hours
to get here.
Thereís a reason. Thereís a certain energy and itís worth it just to feel good.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE TANGO IN 3 WORDS?
Connectivity. Meditative. Passion.
WHAT IS ONE SIMILARITY AND ONE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BELLY DANCING AND TANGO?
Similarity is that there is a deep meditative quality that you can get into, where
dance is a form of spiritual transformation. They look like theyíre sexy, but
theyíre actually very spiritual. When you really get into it, you feel the
spiritual nature of both of them. This is why I love both. The contrast is the body
postures are completely different. So, theyĎre a nice compliment to each other for
the body, because their postures are so different. For exercise and posture youíre
going to get benefits from both.
WHATíS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT TEACHING AT SANGHA SPACE?
The building is alive. This building has a soul. You come in this building, without
anyone in it, it is alive. And you feel the heart of the building. And itís heart is
so loving that it only attracts love, and repels everything else. And Iíve seen it
repel people who were nasty. People who come in here and theyíre saying, ďew this
buildings oldĒ, ďwhere are all the mirrors?Ē They just donít get it, and theyíre not
going to stay long. The sweetest people come in awe, and just look up and sit, and
feel the stress melt out. They feel the love the embrace of this building with all
of its history, all of the love of the events that happen here. This is a really
special place. I do everything I can to stay here and keep teaching classes.
SOME SAY TEACHERS ARE LIFELONG LEARNERS. WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU ARE CURRENTLY LEARNING MORE ABOUT OR WORKING ON AS A DANCE TEACHER?
Iíve been working on the mystical side of dance for a while now. People really connect
to it. Just delve into dance. What the heart and soul of dance really is, is celebrating
community and worship. Itís about getting in touch with how you really feel and your
connectivity to the earth. Itís a form of praise and giving thanks. I learned from
opening up to that, and from my research, and my students have said itís the most
important thing that has helped them with the rest of the dance and with themselves.
Itís a very personal experience to transform yourself, to feel better, to feel whole,
to connect. To be at peace with your body. To be at peace with your mind.
WHAT OTHER ACTIVITIES (BESIDES DANCING) DO YOU ENJOY?
Hiking. I love being in the woods. I love having my feet step on stones and the roots
of trees. Following all of the meandering paths and see all the different foliage change,
and the sky open up from the falling leaves, or the canopy. I love feeling the rainÖI
love nature and I bring that into my dance. I love cooking vegan. I love sharing my
knowledge of vegan food, it helps me stay healthy, from all of my previous bad habits
before, and I look a lot younger which is really nice. And Iíve shared that with other
people and theyĎre health improved drastically and they looked about 10, 20 years younger
after going vegan. I make a lot of my own beauty products. Iíve found that is a
wonderful time saver and money saver. Photography and drawing, Iím an illustrator.
IF YOU WERE TO WIN THE LOTTERY, HOW WOULD YOU SPEND YOUR TIME?
I would do everything Iím doing now, except I would like to add some things.
Iíd produce my own vegan cooking show, which also would have some dance and
other things, and all the stuff I love included. Maybe have an additional
studio space thatís all decorated as a fantasy world for people to enter.
Iíd do everything Iím doing, Iíd just do more, without worry.
WHATíS SOMETHING SECRETLY AWESOME ABOUT YOU THAT PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW?
Iíve never been unkind to anyone in my life, even my enemies. No matter what
someoneĎs done to me, or how bad it is, Iíve always been kind regardless.
ANYTHING ELSE YOUíD LIKE TO ADD?
Youíre always welcome to call me to find out more. 484-632-0724. Iím very friendly
on the phone. Iím here to help. This is my passion. Iím here to be of service
and answer any questions. Iím here to help people who want to transform through
this type of movement.