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Adry competing at the dance contest in Benicia, CA , this October 2004 . More photos from that event coming soon!
Gilded Serpent presents...
The Universal Language: 
Dancing Makes Us Beautiful
and Depression-free

by Adry Svraka

Thoughts of depression, mood swings, sadness, physical pain... I could go on and on about the symptoms I had a few years ago. Doctors said I was all right. The family calmed me and supported me, saying that I was going to be OK, "It is 'just' depression." Sadly, depression is a very serious illness nowadays; more and more people are touched by it, and most of them do not know that there is an explanation and there is cure. I was never a believer in pill-taking and did not run to grab medication to cure my depression. Taking pills only helps so much and then one becomes dependent.

After a long time living with my depression, I found something that is better than any kind of pill or therapy.

It helped me just as it helped others, who were touched by it through me. A simple little word, which not only gives great strength mentally and physically, gives self-esteem and relaxation of body, mind and soul, but gives pleasure and entertianment too. This little word is: dancing. It is true that I have danced folk dances in my teenager years.  I was an athlete, runner, soccer player and tried many more sports and activities, but I had a totally diffrerent view of physical activity than now -after getting married, having two children, leaving my homeland. I even see life differently since I found the magic, healing touch, and beauty of Belly dancing -or what I like to call it: Dances of the East, Eastern Dances.

My name is Adry Svraka and I was born in Baja, Hungary.  I am living in Hayward, California with my family now, and am a professional artist of UniTancz. This dance not only helped me through depression and weight problems, but gave me great self-confidence. I never thought that I would have the courage and strength to dance in front of audiences at any kind of event, not to mention, doing this as a vocation. Besides my family, this activity gives me my greatest happiness. When I dance, it is my little world; I feel lost in it and enjoy the music and the movements. Everything becomes beautiful and wonderful. It sounds magical and simply unbelievable just reading it here, but believe me, it is like that when you dance. It is all this and more! Dancing can be done and can be taught in many forms: one form would be dance fitness. Belly dancing definitely works the entire body, muscles, joints and -like any other physical activity- demands warm-up and cool-down. Even these can be done with dance movements, making them more fun and enjoyable. It is never a good idea to over-do any kind of physical activity, including dancing.

I not only dance and teach Belly dancing, but founded UniTancz, which means: united dances of the world. Taking many movements from different parts of the world, combining them together into a unique performance and teaching it; such as African, Brazilian, Turkish, Greek, Egyptian, Hungarian, American, Mexican, Spanish, Indian, and more movements are found in UniTancz.

As the dance movements vary, so does the music I choose to use for dancing and teaching. I choose music from the greatest variety originating all over the world, from Hungarian Gypsy to Spanish Flamenco, and many others. I wear my costumes, matching them with the music, and this is the other great part of this dance: the variety of costumes and jewelry we can wear!

All in all, this dance form can have many faces, but it is always a good thing to know origins of dance styles. To want to learn dancing is another great feature enhanced by UniTancz . We also get to learn about our wonderful world, that we know so little about. To add to the excitement, I started doing something that is a little -but not entirely- new. I teach "BellyButtons", which is belly dance fitness, combining belly dance and aerobic movements to popular music from the Middle and Near East, Africa, etc... to get a great work-out. Unitancz makes us feel wonderful and in shape; age and size absolutely do not matter. (Furthermore, I did not even mention losing weight, yet!).

Most people, when thinking about physical activity, still imagine the monotoned, one-way exercise, when there is so much more to it. We need variety and some fun in our lives, in order to be whole and live life to the fullest. I recommend belly dance, UniTancz, and dance fitness to all who would like to try something new and to those who are tired of the old exercise routine and want to feel alive. Belly dance is for everyone, any gender, any size and any age; everyone is entitled to enjoy life as they want and with something in which they find: themselves!

Unfortunately, when people hear the words "Belly dance", many of them still think about striptease or some other kind of activity that includes taking clothes off and is related to sex. I would like to bring to the attention of those, who think this way and do not know more about Belly dance, that this is not even close to the truth. If we look deeper -just a little deeper- and are willing to learn, we will be very surprised about the beauty and spirituality of the dance. I truly and honestly support everyone who dances and tries something new; we should always be ourselves!

Dance is beautiful and dancing is good, not only for ourselves, but for those who watch us dance. Dance makes us beautiful and brings out things from underneath our surface that we may have never known about ourselves before. We can tell everything with dancing; dance is a universal language.

I close with my Motto:

"Life is not a Race, Do Take it Slower,
Feel the Music Before the Dance is Over."

If you would like to find out more about dances, UniTancz, dancers, classes, instructional videos, and more, please visit or

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Check the "Letters to the Editor" for other possible viewpoints!

Ready for more?
5-19-00 A Cure for Depression? by Carolyn J. Pedrotti L.C.S.W.
My experiences have given me new insight into women's needs for a creative outlet in their lives.

12-24-03 Dancing Inside Out by Najia
The state of Oriental Dance in America, as it is most often seen today in festivals and restaurants, is at a crossroads of change from which there will be no way to return.

11-12-04 Mystery Dancer #1: Iklas
Gilded Serpent is looking for clues to the story behind this lovely dancer! If you have any information, please contact us!

11-11-04 Sunday Afternoon at the Desert Dance Festival '04, Page 2 Photos by Monica
11-9-04 Sunday Afternoon at the Desert Dance Festival '04 Report by Nisima Photos & Captions by Monica Page 1
Consequently, I was a very popular girl all day as vendors called out to me to visit and talk. After all, I was a bona-fide Actual Audience Member.

12-12-03 Belly dancing in cyberspace – The LiveJournal Belly dancing Community by Lilly
It is analogous to keeping a public diary, and asking people to comment on it.

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