How did a girl from Colorado fall in love with oriental dance?
Joann encouraged Marquardt to do dance events when she thought she wasn’t ready or wasn’t confident enough. “She always kept pushing me and said I’ll be really good at this. So Joann was the number one influential person,” said Marquardt.
“She had put up an ad about belly dancing classes that I heard while I was driving. I was about 18-years-old, I heard the word ‘belly dancing’ and I pulled over, I was so filled with curiosity. It was in 1996, so I went home and pulled out the phone book to contact her. I got into her class. I remember being so enamoured about everything – she had a little studio at her home, she had it all decorated, there were posters of all classic Egyptian golden era dancers, she also had costumes and finger symbols. I was hooked, she was a really amazing teacher.”
Eva was another local teacher with whom Marquardt took classes. She gave Marquardt early opportunities that blossomed into bigger things.
Marquardt owes her success in dance to Joann and Eva.
A dancer and a mom
Like every mother, Marquardt was anxious when she was carrying her son, but particularly because she had to juggle between dance, events and looking after her son. “That’s when my sister told me a saying in Spanish, ‘Every baby is born with its own bread.’ That’s so true, I knew I would figure it out somehow.”
With more responsibilities, you only get better at prioritising and multitasking. You only get better at reorganising your schedule in the sense you are able to make time for everything, said Marquardt.
Taking an international leap
Marquardt had always fancied dancing at an international level, but “I never saw it coming.” During the workshops and festivals, Marquardt would be in awe of the famous performers but never thought one day she would be at their same place, doing the same thing.
“I never tried to make it actively happen. First I started locally, then for my country. I started making DVDs in the U.S. around 2004-2006. The DVDs went on the market internationally and that’s how I got my first event in the U.K. So that was the first international invitation I had, just a week after that I started getting more emails from different countries asking me to come,” the bellydancer said.
DVDs were a breakthrough for Marquardt in her career, after that YouTube happened. A video of her dance was posted that took YouTube by storm, gradually more people showed interest in her.
“It slowly kept snowballing and I kept going with it and tried to say yes to as many opportunities as I could,” Marquardt said.
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