Blog/Recent News...

Here are some of my personal musings.  I hope you enjoy these less formal perspectives as much as the articles I've written as well. 

January 1, 2013

Dear Dance Friends,

Wow, what a quick and swift year!  This year was full of extraordinary transitions.  In January I was offered a full time position working in hospice.  What a rewarding job it turned out to be.   Helping people in their last days pass in dignity, pain free, hopefully, at home, with their loved ones around has been magical.  Working 32 hours a week kept me from working so much at my dance.  It turns out it is easier to make money in a "real" job than at being a dancer!

My husband, Pete, happily came out of retirement in April to regain his auto body collision shop back.  He had sold the business 4 yrs ago and the new tenants walked away.  Today he is happily busy re-building the business.  He and his daughter, Tania are kicking butt and doing a great job.   Pete was not impressed with retirement and being a  "house-husband."  ;-)

This past fall, our tenants moved out of our mountain home and we decided to move back to the Sandia Mountain Sunflower home.  Many of you had seen this home before in it's full garden glory.  I hope to restore my gardens once again and maybe even raise chickens as of this spring.  Fresh eggs are enticing!  This took a full two months of unpacking boxes before we all felt back to normal.  Our house in the city is now for sale.  Will post all particulars at the end of this letter just in case someone out there may be interested.  (smile)

The end of the year was spent staying warm in front of the fireplace, watching snow sift down on the national forest nearby.  Our three dogs, chubby Mr. Smith, precocious Buddy and Precious Paco fill our lives with contentment.  For today, January 1st, all is fine and I am full of optimism for a great year.

This past year we lost Armando, aka "Uncle Mafufo", and also the incomparable John Compton.  They were my dance family spirits and I will miss them.  I can see them all up there in the Big Stage in The Sky...partying in strong spirit.

I look forward to more dance, helping hospice patients, and connecting with my friends and family all over the world.

Peace & Blessings,





About that Pueblo Style Patio Home for sale.... Email for photos!


13001 Nandina Way SE

ABQ, New Mexico… 87123

New Mexico…The Land of Enchantment

Built in 2004, Pueblo-Style Patio Home. 3 bed/2 bath, 1575’ + 500’ oversize garage.   Lot 4474’  .10 acre.

Priced for quick sale:  $219,000



·      Soaring ceilings in open living room/dining room/kitchen floor plan,   ceiling fans and 7 skylights! 

·      Open floor plan, level floors, extra wide doors and hallways, super large  bathrooms, grab bars =  handicap accessible! 

·      Gas Kiva-style fireplace with custom mosaic tile work.       Faux  finish on walls.

·      Walk-in closed in master bedroom

·      Tons of kitchen cabinets,  extra-wide doors and hallways.  Two sets of French doors. 

·      Level entry ways---easy for walker or wheelchair. 

·      Established landscape of rose plants,  trumpet vine, Spanish broom, mums, grapevines.  Extra wide driveway, extra wide garage. 

·      Tiled and wood laminate floors.   All bedrooms have new carpeting.

·      Installed doggie/kittie door out into 100% safe & enclosed yard.

·      Oversize attached garage.  Oversized driveway.



Cul–de-sac patio home nestled against a large bank of old cottonwood trees, next to an open arroyo (City of ABQ Open Space) featuring rabbits, woodpeckers, horses, coyotes, owls, hawks and many magical hummingbirds.  This home is a bird-lover’s paradise.  Three ponds, fountains, with migratory ducks two blocks from this home.  Country feeling IN the city!

Features:  gas Kiva-style fireplace with custom tile work.  Tons of kitchen cabinets,  estra-wide doors and halls.  Two sets of French doors.  Level entry way.  .



Hidden Valley

13001 Nandina Way SE, ABQ, NM 87123

Hidden Valley is located in the far Southeast Heights of Albuquerque near the base of the Sandia Mountains.  Its unique location in the valley of Tijeras Arroyo gives the community a sense of remoteness from the rest of Albuquerque, yet it is conveniently located close to I-40 freeway access, Tramway Boulevard, shopping, and the Northeast Heights.  Hidden Valley Drive is not a through street which keeps this area  quiet and free of traffic.  Extremely safe neighborhood.   Learn more:


THE BEAUTY:                                            

The landscape of Hidden Valley consists of mature vegetation including stately Cottonwood and Ponderosa Pine trees as well as about 8 acres of grassy common areas and front yards maintained by the Hidden Valley Community Services Association.  Hidden Valley features a pool, clubhouse, basketball and volleyball courts, a pond, and other amenities.   Learn more:








October 2010

Dear Dance Friends,

Fall is in the air and, for me, it is a time of renewed energy.  Summers are hot and I tend to be lazy, but these deliciously crisp nights make for superb sleeping and fun creative juices emerging.  After a spring and summer that was a long emotional and spiritual path, I have regained my footing in this world and am ready for a busy fall of dance and personal care.  

In July after three months of struggles (primarily with the health system!) my father passed away in Michigan.  There is no explaining what it feels like to witness a loved one's passing into the other world.  It was soul wrenching and inspiring at the same time.  He went well, surrounded by people that adored him.  My family rallied around him and I was so proud of them.  There were no regrets and lots of love all around.

Then I came home and had to quickly refocus on dance work.  My Wise Woman Retreat was a few days later and I went into it with heavy heart, but the women that flew in were amazing and their energy and support carried me through the weekend.  It was another soul inspiring event for me.  I sure hope they got out of it half as much as what I did!  Roadrunners popping out here and there, the majestic tram ride through 8800 feet of canyons and pines, and the dramatic thunderstorm during our hafla dancing...these are just some memories.  That was one special weekend.

My big projects coming up are 4 video projects that I want to focus on this fall.  At the same time, this fall I am hosting the incomparable Legends dvd icon, John Compton in workshop and show.  The event is 3 weeks away and already I am finding myself short of show tickets!  What a great response!

On a more personal note, I am also looking forward in early  November to going to the"Popeye Spinach Festival" in Crystal City, Texas, my birth place.  This will be my first time to visit this event.  My husband, sister and I are escorting my Tio Alonzo to it.  He is the last remaining Elder in our family and it is an honor to go back to our home town with him to relive memories. 

In late November I fly to Germany to the BIG event there, Leyla Jouvana's Festival in Duisburg!  I will be teaching and performing there.  Although I am not crazy about international flying anymore, I do this job because Leyla is one of the best hostesses on the planet.  She treats her guests like kings and queens. 

I am also teaching in January on a Carribbean cruise hosted by sponsor, Shireem.  I am nervous about the bouncing waters as I am prone to motion sickness quite easily.  Keeping my fingers crossed...  Many, many of my friends are coming along and it should be one big ole party boat! 

So for now, I am signing off.  Pray for peace and more compassion in this world.  It is not so hard...



December 2009

Dear Dance Friends,

2010 looms right around the corner....this is always my time to contemplate, "What is it all about Amaya?"  The older I get the more I know that I don't know as much as I thought I did at the age of 20!  The years going by are a humbling path.

The swearing in of a our new President in January gave me hope. The swearing in of Sonia Sotomayor onto the Supreme Court actually brought tears to my eyes.  The acknowledgment of ethnic people in high places is a testimony that the world IS progressing and the years of "White Is Right" is on the wane. Here's a toast to the mosaic of cultures, colors, and creeds that make up our marvelous country!   Now to equalize pay between the genders...

The loss of my beloved friend, Bert Balladine, really took me into a tailspin last March. Being so Bert, he transitioned during the weekend of Rakkasah West!  Perfect timing. The last hurrah.  Many of his friends were in the auditorium audience when they got the word.  What a silence.   There is now a hole in our hearts forever.  (For those that are Bert Fans, there is an updated version of “Once More With Feeling”, a dvd on Bert’s life and philosophies you may want to check out in the store section of this website.)

After four years of work, my dvd project finally appeared on the scene. "American Legends in Belly Dance" was a super well received and my wishes to honor our U.S. icons was done.  Or so I thought.  There was a lot of emailing and buzz about it. Many tears were shed by those of us that recognize who has passed in our dance world and how missed they are. Many words were passed about the rights to put an image of someone in a dvd of a revered person who had passed 12 yrs. before. I had felt so proud and happy with my dvd, but in this world of such potentially litigious people, I can say that I will never get around to that second volume.  Apologies to those that were waiting in the wings to be honored in the next issue.  It's a crazy world out there.

I still heartily believe in this DVD as a one-of-kind and a must have.   It is a beautifully done video with a ton of help from my editor, Rachael Rodgers.  I cannot say enough about how wonderfully skilled and thoughtful she was on this project.  The archival material was of mixed quality and she made it all come alive. Seeing on the screen the legacies and hearing the history of the very first tribal troupe, the MED dance unions, the East Coast club scene, the vaudeville, circus, movie connections in the 60s and so much more was incredible fun.  For years now, I felt that I had one hip in the past and the other hip in the present.  My view of the dance world was skewed for awhile there. This video is jam-packed with awe-inspiring men & women that led all of us into today's hugely successful dance scene.  I am so  proud of it.

A portion of the sales from the Legends dd will go towards worthy non-profit organization,  The Central Asia Institute sponsored, The Girl Effect.   I firmly believe in the empowerment of girls & young women to fulfill their full potential.   Girls are the most likely agents of change, but they are often invisible in their societies and to our media. Building schools for girls in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan is a start.  Educate a girl, change the world!

In the spring of 2009, I started sensing that my dog, Junior, was not doing so well and by July he passed away quietly in my arms.  The perfect exit... for him.  For me, well another chunk of my heart got a bruising.  I sure miss him.

I got to make new dance friends in 2009, one being Samira of Las Vegas.  Not only was she my sponsor at her hugely successful, Las Vegas Intensive, she was also the designer of my new website.  My website was OLD!  She convinced me and then held my hand while finalize my new one.  Whew...that was a project (right up there with taxes and doing sit ups...argh).   Check it out at:    She/We did nice job, I think.  She and I spend a lot of time talking and laughing on the phone.  I heartily recommend her if you need to freshen up your website presence.

So I continue my plans for making  a few more videos---instructional (not archival or documentaries!!!).  My Wise Woman Retreats may take us to Costa Rica or Cancun.  I enjoy my cup of coffee more, Little Joe y La Familia-my fave music today, on the radio, my excellent health, my sweet husband Pete, my family and my dance friends.  (Thank you Julena for my Christmas clock with my name in sequins!)  I will continue to take Bert's sage advice, "Maria, dance all you can while you can." 

Then there is the annual issue of re-thinking/analyzing my dance path.  How long does one get to continue on the path of being a performer? My birthdays continue to pile on.   In many other dance forms, one is finished by the age of 30.  Yet, I remember Bert's words..."Ladies! You have nothing to dance about until you are at least 35!" 

Oh!  Our little family has been graced with a Christmas Doggie.  We adopted a Scottie rescue dog named Shorty.  He is a wheaten and a perfect foil to Mr. Smith, our black scottie.  Now we are a multi-racial family!   We are blessed by their antics.   

Let's all do a world group shimmy and find peace within ourselves and the planet in 2010.

Many hugs,