The Gilded Serpent presents...


Dina’s love of Middle Eastern culture started when she was sixteen years old, living in the inner city of Detroit, Michigan. It started off benign, she and her mother found a middle eastern restaurant nearby and sampled the cuisine. Dina fell in love with the tasty fare and instantly became a fan, at least of the food, at first and soon began to eat it often. It was a pleasant culture shock from the ribs, fried chicken and pizza that she and her family were most familiar with.

When Dina entered college, luckily, there was a Middle Eastern restaurant near her apartment on campus. Dina soon became a regular customer, savoring the fattoush salads, stuffed grape leaves, mujadra and her personal favorite- houmous. In was in that now defunct restaurant that Dina became familiar with middle eastern music. A staunch musical connoisseur, Dina immediately fell in love with the melodies that covered her mind and heart like luxurious silk.

During this magical time (the law of attraction was really at work), a friend told me that she was taking up bellydancing and Dina decided to sign up too. But before she did that, she bought some bellydancing tapes (before she got a DVD player) and soon grew disillusioned with them. The dancers were all small and tiny, at least compared to Dina. She wondered if this was even meant for her to do, but decided to go to the bellydancing class and throw caution to the wind.

It was not in vain. In the class, which was held in midtown Detroit, the women (mostly Afro-American) were of all beautiful shapes and sizes. Dina’s teacher, Ernestine (Rema), taught Dina that her spin on teaching bellydance was for it to be a celebration of a woman’s body and spirit. “In fact,” she added with a wink, “the dance looks better when you have hips”. Ernestine offered the classes for free to the public while she worked as a nurse during the day. Ernestine danced in Egypt and in shows across Michigan. It should also be said that she is a full-figured beautiful Black sista! Dina was hooked. It has roots in Africa and the Middle East. Dina was able to enjoy the dance and celebrate her heritage as a woman of African descent. She loved her full-figured body for the first time, especially her hips which can do a mean shimmy.

Dina is a writer but does bellydancing as a hobby. She recently danced with Pure Dance Detroit with Roxann Scotella of bellyrox.com (Warren and Royal Oak) and has studied with Sonya Green of thehealingbellydancer at yahoo dot com (Detroit).

What are Dina’s goals in Bellydancing?

  1. Assist other women of all races, shapes and sizes to enjoy their bodies through bellydance;
  2. Win first place in the Bellydancer of the Year pageant; and
  3. Execute a full belly roll with a plate of lit candles on her head.

Note: if you log on to bellyrox.com’s link to Pure Dance, you will see Dina listed as a volunteer dancer. However, she is listed by her birth name: Rodina Peace.

E-mail: sweetdinaboo at yahoo dot com

Articles on Gilded Serpent by or about Dina

  • Dance Today! Bellydance with Neon DVD
    My pride, however, was not insulted. Go ahead Neon, clap your hands and count from one to eight as if I just stopped teething yesterday. I don’t care; I want to learn how to be a better bellydancer and if I learn effectively from a professional performer who reminds me of my kindergarten teacher, then so be it.
  • Dynamic Belly Dance, The Joyful Journey of Dancemaking and Performing by Ramona
    This book would be excellent when coupled with a good dance instructor or Ramona herself. She is thorough with her information and was successful creating a book that people can enjoy, if their wallets were big enough.
  • Four Bellydancers... I AIN'T SCARED! Bellydance Superstars- Introduction to Bellydance DVD
    The ladies seem to enjoy each other’s company (except for an occasionally withdrawn Sonia) and the chemistry that they have with each other comes across well in their instruction. That is if you don’t get bored or tired before the video ends.

Articles on Gilded Serpent that Rodina has helped with editing:


Letters inspired by Dina articles

  • Dynamic Belly Dance, The Joyful Journey of Dancemaking and Performing by Ramona
    Although I can relate to the sticker shock reaction, Dina has a great sense of humor that makes her great quality review a laughing good read. She also convinced me to start saving my pennies to buy my own copy, because I'm a sucker for gorgeous photos of beautiful dancers as well! Thank you, Dina, for a most effective review.

Luise Perenne BFA
Fountain Valley, CA