Melody has been belly dancing for 20 years she currently has nine tattoos with more to come. Her preference of styles starts with Gypsy style belly dance, mixed with a little bit of tribal, and a lot of fusion. Melody chooses her tattoos carefully like they are an extension to her performance costume. "I think my belly dancing has influenced my tattoos. Where I get them, how big the size is, what they are, and what I'm willing to let people see," she says. I asked what kind of thought she puts into choosing a costume. "I think about my body style, where my tattoos are located, and what audience/venue I'm going to be performing at." [more]

"I was looking for something to put on my lower back and my husband did not want me to have a tattoo there because of the stigma of it being a tramp stamp and I wanted something that I didn't see on anybody else.

"I was watching a T.V. show about octopuses and how they are very misunderstood creatures. They're not big and scary and they're not stupid. They're actually quite smart and things of that nature and I thought, 'Wow. It'd be kind of cool to have an octopus back there.

"I thought about it a little while longer and went on a trip with another dance sister to do a show down in Sacramento, California. Everywhere we went we ran into tattoo artists or dancers who were related to tattoo artists. Each and every time we looked at tattoos, they kept coming up as octopuses. When I got home, I made an appointment to go and think about getting this tattoo.

"On the way to talk to Dick about my octopus tattoo, I was telling a girlfriend about everywhere in Sacramento we ran into were octopuses and tattoo artists. There at the Starbucks, where we stopped to get coffee was a big old purple octopus laying on the counter. I looked up at the universe and said, 'I get it. I'm supposed to have an octopus."

"My original tattoo has been modified. My original tattoo, on my left breast, is two musical notes representing my name. Then about five years after I got it, I augmented it with sprig of flowers. Several of my girlfriends were all getting these sprig of flowers on different body parts and in different colors. It unites us."