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How Floridian Dancer Helen Blondel Inspires Girls One Pop at a Time

Helen Blondel

By Shahbaz AbbasiPublished 4 years ago 3 min read

Helen Blondel is a professional belly dancer and rising entertainer in the Orlando & Miami, FL areas. Working hard toward her goal earned her many opportunities at a young age. Very few people would know, however, that she battled many issues with self-image and confidence growing up.

Many of these confidence issues stem from rejection she faced as an entertainer. Helen was a part of show business for as long as she can remember, pursuing a career as a young singer. Singing her heart out at musical theatre auditions, she never got a principle role because she didn't have "the look" for a leading lady. Hearing constant "no's" made her feel quite discouraged and almost led her to give up performing altogether.

In her early teens, Helen discovered belly dance, which not only gave her an outlet to express herself, but also to regain her body-image. As she grew as a professional dancer, she explored the world of fitness further, which led to her first teaching job as a Belly Dance Instructor at Florida International University in 2016.

Performing at shows was a strong point of Helen's but she had no idea how being on the teaching end of belly dance would change her life forever. In her first class, she had about 20 girls show up, and toward the end of the semester, classes sold out the night before with a whopping 50 attendees each session!

In this class, Helen combined the standard principles of belly dance technique with modern aerobic moves to create a style that was truly unique. The playlist consisted of well-known traditional Middle Eastern music such as Dabke and Oriental Mezances, as well as Latin and Pop music. For Helen, it was important to incorporate a mix of all styles in order to engage the whole group of girls with music they could all understand and identify with.

Her teaching style was more follow-along rather than choreography based, because she cared more about teaching a multitude of moves varying in each class, rather than spending valuable time explaining the moves. "I wanted every second of my 60-minute class to count. These girls come to my class to sweat and feel invigorated after each class, so I aimed to give them just that," says Helen.

Helen was shocked at the fact that students were loyally attending her class to learn this dance and feel better about themselves walking out than they did walking in. Long after her time as an instructor at FIU, this prompted Helen do look deeper into all this. She really enjoyed the way it felt to show girls the liberating feeling of self-confidence through belly dance-- and she wanted to continue it.

Consequentially in 2017, Helen woke up one day with a concept of an online community, where girls from all over the world can have access to her teachings, not just one fitness room at a University gym. In 2020, Helen founded BellyPOP™ and the concept was brought to life.

BellyPOP inspires young girls & aspiring belly dancers through her free how-to belly dance videos on Instagram. She also advocates for bettering oneself beyond belly dance and offers teachings on grace and elegance from the inside-out, educational blogs, and informative live-streams on improving as a businesswoman.

In March 2020, Helen released her first E-Course, BellyPOP Intro to Belly Dance, utilizing the same teaching style as when she taught in her University's gym. To her pleasant surprise, 25+ students had signed up within the first month!

Helen plans to continue her teachings through BellyPOP™ with even more content. Her goal is to share her love for belly dance, health/wellness, body-positivity, but most of all, bringing out your inner Goddess.

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About the Creator

Shahbaz Abbasi

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