I hope this message finds you well. Today, I wanted to share with you a letter from one of our newer students, Grace Alvarez
. It warmed my heart so much!
“When Sarina asked me if I would share about my experience starting Bhangra, I knew that I didn't want to just say something cheesy with a subject line like, ‘Masala Bhangra spiced up my life.’ I've been taking the time to think about why I started going, how I feel when I am there. It has also made me reflect on how Sarina, my classmates, and the music moves my mind, body, and soul.
Masala Bhangra has really been the missing link that I needed to get reconnected with my fitness. Although I don't work out multiple times a week (I'm really just a weekend dance warrior), I still feel the huge impact this makes in my daily life throughout the week. Every Saturday morning, I have something to look forward to. I know that if I go well-rested and hydrated, or 15 minutes late, I know I’ll still leave in a better place. I’ll be more focused and ready to start my day than if I didn't attend.
As a woman, with Bhangra traditionally being a more masculine dance, it empowers me to feel confident taking up space and using my voice. Being a woman who is also neurodivergent, I found Masala Bhangra to be a natural way to regulate and reset my mood and focus every Saturday morning.
Bhangra beats - when you hear them, your body intuitively starts to move. Bhangra music has strong rhythms that coincide with body movements. The music gets you on your feet, makes your heart race, and is filled with vibrant sounds. You can't help but feel a rush of energy and light up inside, even on a bad day.
I show up (for myself) because it makes me happy. There is always that proud moment when I realize I'm drenched in sweat. But it’s worth it because I'm putting in the hard work without even realizing it.
Joining this team and community has given me new friends and a workout I like. I’ve also found a mentor in Sarina, a culturally energizing, smart, successful mom, and businesswoman.
One really amazing thing that you’ll come to find about Sarina online, or in-person, is that she brings that same energy you see on her social media to all of her classes and events that she is involved with. It really is infectious.
When I look back at videos from class, I see the big smile painted on my face as I am dancing, and I instantly grin. This is such a special class that Ailey Extension offers because Sarina brings so much cultural knowledge and relevance. She also makes it so that anybody is able to join in the dance and offers accommodations to those in need. When I go to class I know that no one is going to judge me. Everyone gives each other high-fives and is encouraged to dance at their level and comfortability. It is a motivating and joyful experience.”