Planting SEEDs®

Dance program aims to prepare young women for the future

By Kelly S. Hopkins In Vision Magazine May, 2010

For the Sundarii SEEDs® girls, studying American tribal-style® dance is only part of the lesson.

For the past nine months, two Roswell teens have learned Self-esteem, Empowerment and Education through Dance, thanks to the careful instruction of Stacey Ennis.

Deborah Brumlow, 16, and Evalyn Thaler, 15, have the distinction of being Roswell’s first two SEEDs girls, and will be demonstrating their newly honed dancing skills during a final graduation performance at 7 p.m., Saturday, May 15 at Pueblo Auditorium.

However, the other skills Brumlow and Thaler picked up in the SEEDs program will manifest themselves in a much different way.

“The emphasis is on not only teaching them the art of American tribal-style dance…it’s about encouraging these young ladies to start making informed choices, informed decisions and to start preparing them for their independence,” Ennis said.

The after-school program – for young ladies 14 to 18 years old – was started by Myra Krien in Santa Fe in 2001.  In order to bring the program to southeast New Mexico, Ennis – a tribal-style belly dancer – became a certified SEEDs instructor last year.  The program’s main goal is teaching young girls independence.

“I felt that Roswell really needed a program like that here,” Ennis said.  “It’s really for the young ladies who have no other activities or interests outside of school.  That’s who this program appeals to the most.”

Three days a week, for one and a half to two hours per session, SEEDs girls also receive instruction in women’s health, social issues and fiscal responsibility.  And because American tribal-style dance is unchoreographed, Ennis said it also compels participants to rely on each other, with cues given by the leader during performances.

“You have to learn how to trust the other person,” Ennis explained.  “It’s a totally different way of interacting with other women.  There’s no competition.  The possibilities are limitless with the dance itself.”

Ennis is hoping the SEEDs program will gain momentum as word spreads about its many benefits.  Her goal is to teach 10 to 15 girls per school year.  The next class will start about two weeks after the upcoming school year begins.  Tuition is required for the course.

Money raised during the May 15 performance – titled “Origins: Evolution” – will be set aside for next year’s program.  The recital will also feature dancing by Mosaic Dance Company, DiDi Ethnic Dance, Anala, Georgine and the Silver Dunes Troupe, Marisa of Farashi, Kuumba, Maria Alicia and Las Rosas, and Hannah.

For more information about SEEDs, call Ennis at 420-7330, email sundariidance@yahoo.com, or go online to www.sundariidance.com.