Her gift to the world

Francine Nazaruddin

Photo by Christy Pryde

Self-proclaimed gypsy Francine Nazaruddin has had a passion for dance since she was young. Born in Los Angeles but reared in Chico, she’s always been inspired to chase her dreams by her musical and free-spirited family. She has taught classes in Chico through CARD, and is now starting a Zen Belly Dance class at Azad’s Martial Arts Center. She began belly dancing in 1993 when she moved back to Chico after spending 10 years acting and modeling in LA. Since then she has been on a quest to find her true passion—and now, she thinks she’s found it by combining belly dance with meditation.

How’d you get the idea for Zen Belly Dance?

My life coach told me to find my life’s purpose, and she inspired me to find my passion. Not so much what I want, but what the world wants from me. Ask what it is that you can offer the world, and that’s where you can find you inner peace. So what I came up with was putting my passion, which I know I’m most happy with, belly dance, with Zen, which means meditation.

What is Zen Belly Dance?

Zen Belly Dance is a meditative dance that incorporates meditation, as well as yoga, positive visualization, and the essence of movement that celebrates mind, body and spirit, and that is tribal belly dance. So I’m going to bring it together in a way that I can continue to inspire people to find their own path as I did.

What is a ZBD class like?

You’re going to come in to the dojo and we’ll have a time of creative visualization. Then we’re going to do some yoga stretching to get your body warm, and then we’ll be introduced slowly to American tribal-style belly dance—that incorporates many different movements from many different countries. I’ll teach my students about how to listen to the music and the rhythm and at the end we’ll have deep relaxation and meditation, and you will be given a homework assignment.

Is this a new trend in belly dance?

This is my idea, it is brand new. No one else has done this—to my knowledge this is unique. I’ve never heard of anyone doing anything like this before.

What intrigues you the most about ZBD?

I feel it is what I have to offer the world. It is what I have as my gift and it is what I’m getting from giving. Love is not something you can put a cap on; it is infinite, and there’s never not going to be enough to go around.