Nancy "Icy" Brown is the founder and director of ucanto Belly Dance, the Western Washington Sister Studio to Fat Chance Belly Dance, and has been performing American Tribal Style belly dance for 9 years.

"I was always accused of being a belly dancer any time I was out club dancing. And I just--I didn't see it. I just did what I did. Then I went to one of my dearest [friend], in fact my tattoo artist's wedding, and who did she have there? It was Fat Chance Belly Dance and I didn't know who they were from Adam. I just knew these were different belly dancers. And that is what got me hooked back in 2001.

"Of course, when she told me belly dancers were going to be at their wedding, I was like, 'Oh, that's nice.' And then when these women walked in in tassels, turbans, skirts, and this whole different look, it was those, 'Huh? What's this?' That intrigued me from day one."

"For me, the very first significant sized tattoo was actually a scar cover up because I am very self-conscious about my tummy. I was also, at one point, 210 pounds and I'm four-eleven. That makes for a large size, very round girl. So I was very, very self-conscious. And Gypsy Jill, my tattoo artist—who passed away about a year ago--she saw part of me and a redirection of focus when she created the fan. That allowed me, because of my modesty, she created the fan so I was always kind of hidden behind it and it became a protection for me. With that, it allowed for me to go ahead wear a belly dance costume that exposed the area that was, in my mind, the least pleasant to be seen." [more]