I learned how to belly dance as soon as I could walk. I danced and danced and danced, and I dreamed of sharing belly dance with the world - until a bullet stopped me in my tracks.

I got shot in the leg with an assault rifle on vacation when I was 21 years old.

I pushed through some of the best parts of life—graduating college, starting my career, getting married, having three (pretty damn cute) children.

But I never felt safe. I never felt whole. I walked on and off with a cane throughout my 20s, and I hated my body for failing me.

Ten years after my shooting, I heard another survivor sharing her own story, raw and vulnerable. When I told Rhonda Foster how inspiring it was to hear her story, she invited me to open up about my own.

When I shared my story for the first time in front of over 300 people, I felt an immense release. It was the first time I let other people witness me in my grief, my pain, and my constant fear.

That moment was the catalyst for my recovery, and with every step I took out of hiding, people I met along the way held and guided me through.

As I tried to dance under the open sky again—I started to recognize the true value of my mom and aunties’ childhood lessons in belly dance.

They gave me the audacity to believe that I should be able to exist in spaces—dance, stand in the center, command attention, refuse to be pushed aside or ignored. With belly dance workshops, interviews, and speeches across the country, I invite participants to find and embrace the fullest expression of themselves, without holding back.

My story has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Women's Health Magazine, and a number of other media outlets, including dozens of podcasts and shows.

It took me a long time to get back on my feet, physically and emotionally. And now that I'm here, I dance at every chance I get!

When I'm not writing or traveling for work, my family and I love to play soccer in the backyard, grow fruits and vegetables in our garden, and have impromptu dance and karaoke battles in our living room.

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Email info@nurjahanboulden.com for media inquiries, and fill out booking form for event inquiries.

Note: No performance inquiries please—Nurjahan teaches belly dance as a form of intimacy and community, not as a performance art