Ketzel Levine, NPR
Paris-bound Manon Martin at the Seattle airport.
Not long ago, Manon Martin was an accountant in Seattle, balancing books and analyzing financial data. But those days are over for Martin, who decided to exchange that career for a new one — in belly dancing.
As Martin tells NPR's Ketzel Levine, she expects to dance for the next 10 years or so, if her body can take the toll. She's planning on living in Paris for most of that time, to perfect her craft and earn a living in one of the city's many Middle Eastern dance clubs.
Since arriving in Paris, Manon Martin reports that she has found work as a dancer.
The change from accounting to dancing came slowly for Martin. She took belly-dancing classes for three years. Then she began working weddings, showers and bar mitzvahs, supplementing her regular job as an accountant at the University of Washington.
Now the 33-year-old Martin hopes to become a modern Josephine Baker, another African-American woman who moved to Paris to enhance her career and perfect her art.