Lenka Adamkova, a Salimpour School dancer in the Czech Republic, went from thinking she’d never visit the United States to study at the Salimpour School to earning her Level 3 certification in a span of only a few years. Here’s how she broke through her mental barriers, overcame her fears, and stays motivated.
I remember many years ago browsing through the Salimpour School online classes thinking, “Wow! I really like this program, but it’s in the United States, so it’s not possible for me. I’ll never be able to go to America.”
Fast forward a few years… Not only have I traveled to the US to train at the Salimpour School, I’ll be making my 4th trip to the “Mothership” this summer. I’m now Suhaila Level 3 certified, and I’m preparing to test for Jamila Level 3 this summer.
What’s more, I’m certain that if I put in the necessary work, I can one day earn Level 5 in both formats.
How did I get this far? And what changed my mind?
Make a Plan of Action
We’ll probably all agree that no goal is achievable without action.
But most of the time, we dream about a project we want to do, an activity we want to take up, yet we never even start. Maybe we fear not being good enough, successful enough, or skillful enough.
Even before my Salimpour journey began, I was already afraid of traveling across the ocean so I had given up without trying to dip my toe in the format. Luckily I was presented an opportunity in 2013. Maëlle Quintart hosted Suhaila for a Suhaila Format Level 1 in Brussels, not too far from where I live in the Czech Republic. Suddenly, studying with the school didn’t seem so overwhelming. I eagerly took the chance.
When I studied the Salimpour Formats closer to home, I was able to take a small and necessary step on my journey.
Big dreams aren’t helpful without action. The only thing that truly works is taking it one small step at a time.
You can think big and dream about earning the Level 5 teaching certification, but your first step starts with Level 1.
To become a Level 1, you need to do your online classes. You need to find that time, spend some money and put in the work. Your first small step starts with getting up to move and train. Prioritize, focus, don’t expect anyone else to do the work for you, keep it on and finish. Get excited about the process rather than the result.
I love motivational quotes. I put them on my fridge or write them down in my notebook. They help me push myself but also remind me to be patient and kind to myself.
One of my favorite quotes is: “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
We have to remember that there will always be obstacles in our lives that will make it difficult to train as much as we want, prepare to test for the next level or even come to the “Mothership” for a year of two. All the areas of our lives (family, work, health, finances, to name a few) are rarely in balance and we need to learn how to accept it, yet still keep moving forward.
It doesn’t matter how fast we move but we shouldn’t stay in place. It is all about sacrifices and priorities so make them consciously and without regrets.
Achieve More with These Training Tips
When it comes to training, quality is as important as quantity.
- Find a place to train where you can concentrate and where you don’t feel limited. You need to feel safe. If you are preparing for a Level 2 or higher and you don’t have regular access to a studio, consider renting one at least once a week.
- Plan for rest during a rigorous preparation period. You might not notice it for a few months but being focused hard on the goal of testing is psychologically as well as physically exhausting.
- Take a mini-vacation before heading to an intensive. Despite the lack of free time, going out of my hometown for the whole weekend not thinking about dance was the best thing I could do the month before my SL3 testing weeklong. I came back energized and with new enthusiasm to finish all the projects.
- Above all, don’t be afraid to reach out to the school to ask for help or share your concerns. Having a support is part of the program.
If someone asked me what what we learn at the Salimpour School, first, I’d say, “Independence, focus, prioritizing, persistence, and finishing.” Only after would I say, “Oh, and how to be an exceptional belly dancer and artist.”
Lenka is from Brno, Czech Republic and she is a dedicated member of the Salimpour School. She holds a Level 3 certification in the Suhaila Salimpour Format, and is preparing to test for Level 3 in the Jamila Salimpour Format this summer. Lenka is also the Group Leader/Choreography Captain of the Czech Salimpour Collective. She has been teaching and performing American Tribal Style belly dance for over 7 years, and has studied Flamenco, ballet, and contemporary dance. In particularly, she loves strength training and movement exploration. She works hard in her community to represent the Salimpour School and get more students enthusiastic about the format. She will be performing in the Bal Anat 50th Anniversary tour stops in Europe.