Sandi ARTA Story
October 14, 2021

Dancing to Maintain Mind, Body, and Spirit

It’s important to have a plan when you retire, not just a financial plan, but a plan for how you’re going to stay busy and keep a certain vibrancy and creativity in your life. That’s what ARTA member Sandi Missler believes. After a career working in schools in Admin Support and Community Coordinator roles, Sandi pursued her yoga instructor designation before moving to Cranbrook, B.C. to teach in a studio there.

“I think when you’re approaching retirement, you have to think about what you love, what you want to spend your time doing, and where you can get the training to do it,” Sandi says. For her, it was yoga, an activity that she’s enjoyed for years, even while she was working. But just because she already had a passion, it didn’t stop her from trying new things and expanding her interests.

Sandi Missler

A few years into retirement, she found a local group offering belly dance lessons, and decided to take a chance. Needless to say, it turned into more than just a few lessons. The group was called Anadil, a name that means Nightingale in Arabic, and it quickly morphed from a handful of women experimenting with a new hobby to a full social group of like-minded women with a love of creativity and performance.

The group does everything, from lessons, to workshops, to performances. They even get together to make their own costumes. “There’s a wide range of access for everyone to get involved in costume-making, whether you’re using a sewing machine or a glue gun,” says Sandi. “I was just a home sewer before I started, some of the other ladies were seamstresses, but we all get involved however we can.”

Because belly dance can be done without a male partner, the group became an opportunity for Sandi to get to know different women in the community, from teenagers, all the way up to one member who was almost eighty. Everyone is welcome. For the ladies of Anadil, it’s not about being perfect, it’s about having fun, enjoying the dance, and doing your best.

“Everyone needs a tribe,” Sandi says. “Whether you’re scrapbooking, playing pickleball, or whatever else. You need to have people in your life who are like-minded and who are enjoying what you’re enjoying.”

Sandi recently moved back to Alberta, but she keeps in touch with the Anadil group through virtual get-togethers. When the pandemic subsides, she hopes to start offering her own belly dance lessons, or join a nearby group, to bring that sense of community she found in Anadil to her new home.