At the age of forty-eight, happily remarried and retired from her legal assistant, gerbil wheel, Kat decides to break out of her shell and try her hand at belly dancing. What begins as a hobby leads her to filling a coveted spot in Palmetto Oasis Middle Eastern Dance Troupe. With less than eight weeks to prepare, Kat's thrown into a world of performing she is terrified to face, all leading to a week of giving lessons and performing in Jamaica. Traveling with eight glittery strangers, she forges deep bonds under outrageous circumstances at what they'd soon all discover was a clothing-optional resort. Struggling with paralyzing stage fright and searching for the deeper root of her fears, Kat feverishly seeks a way to release Ameera, her inner dance queen. By the end of the week, the audience is mesmerized by the powerful presence and synchronicity of women joined at the hip by scares and some glitter. Kat soon knows, with the help of eight sisters in dance, that she is finally part of a tribe, discovering an oasis to refresh her thirst to be a part of a circle of women.
Kathleen Varn's love affair with words manifested when she turned four and taught herself to read. As she grew older, books and reading were an escape from responsibility. Eventually, Kathleen dove into journaling, which helped her find solace in the grief of a toxic relationship. Throughout her journey to extract her family from oppression, she explored the idea of freedom through allegorical short stories. Kathleen is now very happily married to her soulmate. She resides in Charleston, South Carolina, where she worked for an adoption attorney for twenty-three years. With her two children settled in adulthood, she is exploring a beautiful world, from scuba diving in Fiji or photographing in Alaska's frozen tundra. Kathleen hopes her readers enjoy Ameera's journey to pursue the forbidden zone of dance while becoming part of a larger experience---embraced and bonded to eight glittery belly dancers, each of them aware they may have never met without the common denominator of a six-week belly dance class under the tutelage of their troupe director.
In spite of the progression for women in the 1900s, there were still gender barriers throughout Kat's childhood. Her father's military career transplanted the household from Rhode Island to Florida. As the oldest daughter, she was expected to shoulder the responsibilities for sisters and eventually her own households. In spite of the skirmishes in her life, there was a resilience and spirit to face what appeared to be a simple matter--- dance. Little did she know what it would shake and shimmy from her past.
Tonight’s school supplies consisted of a single chartreuse hip scarf, which I’d stuffed in a small book bag. My nose wasn’t pressed on the glass, watching the mystery of women bonding through synchronized dance movement. Instead, the belly dancing pool was open and I was heading for the diving board! Time for me to jump into my forbidden dance zone.