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My Big Love

Sydney, Australia

The weather permits me to dance
Sensations build through passing years
Rain grows and returns to the sky
Wind blows in sudden reply
I hide to avoid the ache in the sea
It bleeds as I dance
To rhythms of chance
I turned and saw
Broken glass was left in the sea
Nature’s miracle changed them to
clear, smooth stones
The bits healed like meditative clones
An anonymous dancer
And a subconscious heart
Led a silent breath to ask
Does he look handsome
When I dance?

By Maria Grujicic
Dedicated to my big love.

This was a poem that I started to write and edit before I went on holiday, and continued editing in Sydney. I romanced and tried to take my breath away from myself as I envisioned what the surroundings were telling me and expressed my feelings for them. My big love? My new-found love for Sydney, the air that I felt while I was there, and my amazing handsome husband who was there with me! I wonder if you can sense these emotions and impressions in the poem, and if you can relate to it in some way too.

Bohemian Weekend Adventure In Paris

Tears for a rainy day photo

Gala Yakovleva is my dance teacher and good friend who lives in Frankfurt, Germany. We met through our belly dance classes with a teacher named Soriah and even though we were dancers belonging to the same group, we didn’t talk much. I didn’t speak a lot of German and I was quite shy.

One night, after a few years dancing, Gala announced that she will be starting a new dance class of Tribal Fusion and American Tribal Style. I was keen to try a different dance class that would compliment what I was already learning. What begun as a dance class on Saturdays turned out to be something of an artistic performance creation, of which I found inspiration for my writing that I had only just begun that year.  Everything started to fall into place as I wrote as I danced, and I discovered new things about myself that I wasn’t aware of.

Have you ever felt in your heart that you really wanted to do or be someone who was so simple to the eyes of others, but was too shy to do it?

I love to dance, and have so all my life. I feel I was born to dance, but I never pursued it professionally. I’ve done other things and continued my search for the unknown. I even traveled abroad and stayed in Europe for 8 years searching for a career in education and other things… But why not dance?

Upon reflection I think I felt that because I didn’t start as a girl, it was too late for me to do it. Why do I call my passion a hobby, when I wait until the end of my work day, just to rush home, to nothing else but write and dance? I’ve settled for a teaching career, which isn’t bad, I’m a great teacher, but the truth is, that teaching spoils my spirit, my passion for life, because to me, the greatest teacher is life itself. And as a girl I wasn’t able to pursue my passion at school. My parents didn’t understand, and I was pretty much a dreamer the rest of my life.

And so I felt grateful that I found my friend Gala, who understood me and guided me and a handsome, supportive, loving husband, I found my dream in Europe. But there was one problem. Because of personal reasons, I had to return home to Australia. I left my dream behind. But I have kept in contact with my good friend Gala, and she keeps up my strength by swapping ideas and inspiration.

Gala taught me the connection between life and dance, and the inseparable nature of the two. I learned Tribal Fusion and American Tribal and ballet in dance. Last winter,  early January 2013, I went to Germany to see Gala for 10 days. We went to Paris with another dance friend, and led a weekend of Bohemian Lifestyle. Gala especially chose the food and wine at the grocery store. We prepared our banquet outdoors and because of the cold winter, we dressed in layers of warm clothes. We danced by the lights of Paris by night. I took photos and wrote ideas for poetry, philosophy, costume making, and went shopping for jewellery and make up.

The photos in my book were taken of Paris and dance classes in Frankfurt, Germany, reunited once again with my dance friends. I miss Gala and the other dancers, but I will always visit and have this wonderful book to remember the moments with them.

I learned many things about myself on my European adventure, including the conclusion that a true dancer, dances anywhere and any time. It was crazy, it was fun and we did it in Paris! I learnt to surrender to my dream, and this is a lesson that perhaps we all need to learn. Sometimes perhaps we deny ourselves our true dream because we are afraid, lack belief, or conditioned to believe that it can’t be true. Perhaps we may even sabotage possibilities with negative self talk in fear of failure.

Now that I’m back home, I am more determined to pursue my dream. & I’m sure of only one thing..that it can only bring truth, which I believe is the key to happiness. Some days are better than others. Sometimes I feel like I’m enclosed in a small space and cannot do what I truly want, and am surrounded by fast paced activities of nothingness. But when I start to dance, and write, nothingness disappears and I begin to see purpose for my life. If this can happen for just even a glimpse of a time in my day, I can truly be happy.


Sometimes we need to step away from our immediate surroundings for all to become clear and find truth. This is true for myself. It is how I came to write my poems as I realised my subconscious love and passion for dance. My varied life experiences at home and abroad led to self-discovery and a realisation of a life of dance that I have always led that relinquished my disappointment of lack of pursuit.

Life is dance, and without dance there is no life, and love for these are inseparable.

I’m a dancer and poet at heart. Two inseparable art forms, one soul. “Poems that touch the soul & don’t adhere to the pattern of life”, refers to a nomadic lifestyle that lends itself to reach the unexplored self. This is an art form, one of its kind because it can dance and has always danced. It unites strongly through poetic philosophy that delves into ethical boundaries, aesthetics, education and love. A concept that encompasses and revolutionises a soul. It becomes true in its purest sense as every word put to paper is felt by my heart and a last breath celebrates creation.

You may want to delve into this book from the end to the beginning or read a few poems in no particular order. They will still retain their sequence because they don’t adhere to the pattern of life. Each poem makes a connection to the soul in different ways and this is what brings the poems together as one.

Memories of Manchegas Dance

Hint: Listen to each audio as you watch the video, and imagine you are there doing Manchegas dance!

Sofia’s Diary

My mood abroad is more alert to broken unknown boundaries. Life abroad is different but I’m the same. It is simply fun. I adore the sensations I get from being in a foreign place with my senses tingling every day. My emotions work overtime and I feel things that I didn’t think possible. Positive and negative energy is being released and received, and part of the learning process.


‘Tum-ti-li-tum-tili-tum-tum-tum-tili-tum-tili-tum.. tirli-tum-tum-tum… na na na na na.. lo necesi…i.i.i.. tas… ‘ Sofia sang audibly as she entered the crowded room of dancers with theatrical arms up high in the air, forgetting the words of the Manchegas dance they were learning, but compensating her inadequacy by filling the air with smiles. Sofia’s overly enthusiastic effort was greeted with an applause and a ‘Hola! ¿Cómo estás?’ And the biggest, warmest smiles  she had ever experienced in her life that made her heart feel overwhelmingly welcome and appreciated.

‘Welcome to another class of Manchegas, Sofia. How are you?’ Rang the words of Lola, the dance teacher. Lola was shorter than her counterparts though the grandeur of her dance raised her stature and grace. She was in her mid-forties and had a voluptuous body that fit nicely in the beautiful traditional Albacetan costume that accentuated her desirable curves.

Sofia admired Lola’s big beautiful eyes, long chestnut hair that swayed romantically and a smile that further enhanced her grace as she danced. ‘We have never had a member from Australia before. We all like to practise our English,’ Lola said quickly. And before Sofia could say anything Lola affectionately but firmly grabbed her hand. ‘Come, we are about to start!’

-Maria Grujicic-

Do It Like A Dance!

I wrote this a while ago and posted it on another blog. Recently my good friend Gala, the dance teacher of our group showed an interest in incorporating the Spanish style in tribal fusion dance. She quite like Manchegas and we might be doing a fusion style of the dance. My good friend and dance teacher from Albacete, Mari Carmen sent me the lyrics and song of Manchegas and we still keep in touch. Me encanta, I’m delighted to keep in contact with my friends from all over Europe! I’m excited for what’s to come and I can only feel humbled by my luck. xx

No Voice

I have no voice
But I love to dance.
I’m a mute.
But I love to dance
I cannot do.

But I love to dance.
I don’t belong
But I love to dance.
The answer is dance,
I must dance.

I’ve tried many things
But I always turn to dance.
Every day I dance.
I think and sense dance.

Dance refreshes my mind
When I feel nulled
I turn to dance!
I was made to dance.

I remember to breathe and then I dance.
My life is a dance.
I’m soothed, I’m real

I am dance.

Random thoughts after an intense 5 weeks of avoiding my passion.
Not because I wanted to, but because circumstances forced me to.
I forced myself to.
And I was given a wake up call.
My innocent mind failed me once more.
But kindness of heart prevailed.
I cannot stop what I love.
I don’t fit in that box they tried to place me in.
I squirm.
Now I know the reality of love and I can return to my artist self.
I cannot escape my artist self.

Now the hardest part is waiting,
But I am relaxed because I know.
I love
I sing
I dance!


 So many thoughts are running through a mind. But the truth never hides.

Graffiti STREET Art Paris Photographed by Maria Grujicic Street Art Photographed by Maria Grujicic Paris Paris Paris Street art tographed by Maria Grujicic DSC_0260 DSC_0261 DSC_0262 DSC_0263

NEW! Forum Tribal Life!

I am very happy to let everyone know that soon I will be starting a tribal life forum. This idea was inspired by my close friend and teacher, Gala Yakloveva. She was inspired to come up with an idea to create a book about tribal dance because of my post Tribal Hair And Make Up. The idea is to turn the forum themes and discussions into a book.

I would like to invite my readers to click on the link, once I start the forum, which will take you  to the forum. There you will find categories of topics or you can create your own. This is very exciting for me because I will continue to connect with my dance friends, strengthening our bond, of which distance will not break, and hopefully make some new friends as well from different parts of the world!

Thank you for reading, and I look forward to your thoughts,
Maria Grujicic ~Malena~


Tribal Hair & Makeup

English: Tribal fusion dance with Balkys at re...
Image via Wikipedia

Tribal fusion dance is more than a set of movements pulled together to make a choreography. It’s about character, joining personalities to create a self expressive art, and ultimately a performance. My dance teacher, Gala nurtures every dancer, and helps them develop their look, their grace, their style. Ultimately creating a bond so great between the dancers that is hard to ever break. They are tied. Each very different and together they are one.

This is why I’ve developed such a bond with my dance teacher and the dancers that I never thought possible. And now that I have to leave the group from Frankfurt, Germany to return home to Australia, I am more than saddened. I am like a child about to be separated from the sacred womb of a mother.

I never thought possible that any friendship of this kind could exist. Gala places emphasis on every dancer in the group, and treats everyone as special. She spent a lot of time talking to me about my life goals, the way I project my look, and involved me in the choreography.

I’ve studied and continue to study the tribal fusion philosophy and how the concept evolved. This has helped me understand womanhood, and the evolutionary triumphs and struggles placed along side it.

Tribal style bellydance movement began in 1967 in San Francisco. It was founded by Jamila Salimpour who taught Mashor Archer, a feminist visionary to remove sexist stigma on Bellydancing. Through my search for the place of my cultural roots, I was drawn to the tribal style because the more ethnic and folklore look of the dance and costumes fulfilled my identity. My dance classes are a place to find and be my true self, and I feel accepted and free. So far my favorite tribal styles are Tribal Fusion and American Tribal.

American Tribal Style Dance, also abbreviated as ATS is like tribal bellydance, but features a specialized type of group formation and an improvised, lead-and-follow cueing between the dancers. I have just started learning to do this dance, and I find it graceful, flowing and becoming.

Tribal fusion belly dance is a modern form of belly dance, and it is the style I find the most interesting. It evolved from American tribal style belly dance. It blends elements of ATS with any other style of dance such as hip-hop, breakdance, cabaret bellydance, and more traditional forms, flamenco, kathak, bhangra and other folklore dance styles. This makes me wonder about the possibilities of mixing the styles of dance that make up my cultural roots and those of which I’ve experienced, such as Greek dance styles, Serbian and Manchegas from Albacete. The costuming is very similar to other styles of tribal dance. Though tribal fusion mixes authentic belly dance movements with elements from other dance genres. In addition, the music for tribal fusion is often very modern or eclectic. I can only imagine the possibilities that can be created, and this makes for a very interesting process of discovery, creativity and ultimately a performance.

I adore the layered look of tribal bellydancing. The beautiful, often quite covered up look, with heavy fabrics and extensive yardage in the skirts, harem-pants and tops, for me create the romantic look that goes with my personality. Fabrics tend to be opaque and natural, such as cottons and rayons. Choli tops and other blouse/vest combinations are worn alone or layered with decorated bra tops. Ethnic jewelry, tassels, turbans, and tattoos can also be used extensively.

As a girl I didn’t learn a lot about make up and I’m not sure why. I tried to apply it, but I managed it all wrong. Growing up, I lacked a lot of confidence applying make up because I was worried of what others thought. I loved to put make up on, and abundantly so, but I had the courage to do it only when I went out dancing. I lacked consistency in my application to makeup and my insecurity showed in my face. Tribal bellydance make-up may be heavy and exotic with facial tattoos and ethnic hairstyles created with braids and hair extensions. I love this because the look is very liberating and celebrates womanhood and femininity, creating a look of  authentic ‘woman power’. It gives me confidence that I can also use in my daily life. It is through dance that I’ve found a voice, and a way to express my thoughts, and ultimately defining them to find and develop who I am.

Here is a video I found about makeup and hair. Are you a member of a tribal dance group? Please feel free to share your experiences in the comment box below.
Thank you for reading.
Maria Grujicic (Malena)

Introducing Amazing Free Audios By Malena of Poems That Dance!

Here’s a Glimpse of the
The Password is the last word on the last page of the book.

The poems by Maria Grujicic, also known as Malena, are beautiful and tell a story. Listen to them from start to finish as you watch and listen to the cool, relaxing video of Tribal Fusion Dance!



Thank you for listening,
Maria Grujicic (Malena)

A Petal, Malena


 To find out why and how I named the books Poems That Dance, The Thorn And The Petal, and A Gentle Fire, Follow:

Protected: Free Audio For The Book, The Thorn And The Petal

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Protected: Free Audio For The Book, A Gentle Fire

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The Dance That Walked Away

Image by Maria Grujicic (Malena)

It was long ago
I froze
Like a picture
I froze
Stage fright
In the middle of the night
A stage
Free for one
The dancer
No where in sight
I froze
And I didn’t bow
My head held high
In case
I was too late
To see my face
As the curtains died
And my dance walked away
In hope of another day

By Maria Grujicic

This poem is about stage fright, and timely for the theme of Carnival coming up in February. Watch the video and listen to the music along with the poem.

In different phases of my life I’ve had to get up and perform in one way or another. There were times when I wasn’t ready and I failed and this led the way for other days of triumphs! When I was 19 I went in a dance competition. I had the routine in my head and I practiced and practiced. As it turned out I wasn’t mentally prepared, and full of self-doubt I stood on the stage.

The music had started, and it was playing, but I froze. The music stopped, I look out at the audience, and at the people, and like a gentle appeal my eyes pleaded for mercy. And I simply walked away. After a few months there was another dance competition on.

Again I practiced and practiced, and I said to myself, ‘I’m going to get up there, do exactly what I’d planned.’ And the music played once more, and I did all the dance steps, resulting a win! It was the most amazing experience of my life, and unknown to me, a kind of life metaphor for more  ups and downs to come!

MALENA IMAGE by Sonja Sofia Yakovleva

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