Tracy Benton

The Gilded Serpent presents...

Tracy Benton

Tracy started her adventure in dance at the age of 8 when she enrolled in her first ballet class, which led to a decade of ballet and jazz training. Despite her enthusiasm and joy in dance, she realized she could never be a pro ballerina when her teacher told her she'd "make an excellent dance teacher someday." So instead she majored in Mathematics and became a software test engineer.

But dance is something that doesn't just go away. So she dabbled in tap, modern dance, Scottish Country dancing, and ballroom until she discovered Middle Eastern dance in 2003. In class with Mona N'wal, a teacher with more than 30 years of dance experience, she found a dance form that she felt to be both very natural and deeply challenging. She became interested in reading about the history of the dance, watching footage of dancers from the various eras, and taking workshops from dancers with many different styles. Unfortunately her enthusiasm for everything bellydance has also turned her into a habitual collector of music and videos, much to the detriment of the budget.

In 2006 she recognized a void in her local dance community and co-founded the Madison Bellydance Alliance, creating first an online community and website and then helping to organize a series of local haflas designed to bring dancers from different schools and styles together. She networked with other dancers in the Midwest, trying to encourage yet more sharing of dance and knowledge.

Her artistic tendencies also got a chance for expression through silk dyeing as well as bead embroidery and sewing in creating costumes for herself and others. As Vashti of "Vashti Silks" she is the local supplier of custom veils.

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