Where are you from?
It’s generally accepted that I’m from the planet Earth, but there is room for argument..
I was born under the sign of Predo the Platypus; of course we Platipudlians are dedicated and loyal, but also clumsy and often suffer from narcolepsy.
Who do you dance with (Soloist/Company/Studio affiliation)?
In addition to solo work and collaborations with bellydancer Sandy Watters, I currently dance with Undine Dance Company under the direction of Ioana Timariu. Joanne Camilleri is working on an exciting project that I’m pleased to be a part of. I also have a Cancan troupe called The Saucy Tarts, and am a member of Toronto flapper troupe The Sugar Shakers. Recently, I have been involved with Audra Simmons’ Lavish Dance Company, and Sarah Skinner’s Sisters of Salome.
How long have you been dancing?
I’ve been bellydancing for about eight years, but was dancing with The Saucy Tarts before that.
What is your favourite music?
I enjoy interpreting many different types of music; one of the challenges I find interesting is choosing music I wouldn’t normally think of to dance to, or improvising to music I’m not familiar with (or never heard before). But if I were to be perfectly honest, it’s dark and moody music that always makes me want to move.
Favourite costume piece?
I don’t think I have one; most of my costumes are just a collection of items that happen to combine nicely to create a certain effect, as opposed to showcasing one piece. I find it fascinating when some costumes resonate with people so much that they create a character out of their own subconscious. For example, instead of a simple description like “your blue costume”, they may say, “Please wear your Mongolian warrior princess outfit” or “Are you dressed as a Native Mardi Gras werewolf?” or “Nice Klingon/Predator/geisha look you have going on”. It may not be my intention at all, but they are digging deep into their own imaginations and pulling out something that is informed by their own experience . I love that.
One man’s vice is another man’s virtue. I just live my life and try to be a good person, with varying degrees of success. (Although, I do admit to an almost uncontrollable weakness for chocolate).
On Saturday February 1, I’ll be dancing at Club 120 as part of Last Night on Earth, a Doompunk Carnival to benefit Elegy, a Live Action Roleplaying Game. It will be an incredible evening with many, many fabulous acts. You will definitely want to be there.
When I first started out, I had no idea it would become so important in my life. It went from something fun to do once a week, to a way to challenge myself and learn a new skill, to a means of self expression and fulfillment.
Who inspires you?
My teacher, Audra Simmons of The Dark Side studio is my inspiration. She gives an excellent grounding in technique, but encourages students to develop their own styles and provides the tools to help them do so. I am so lucky to have somebody who knows exactly how to feed my creativity and challenge me when I need to move out of my comfort zone. As a dancer, she practices what she preaches by always continuing to explore new things and grow as an artist.
Roula Said of Om Laila Studio always has and continues to inspire me. She was my teacher for so many of my formative years as a bellydancer, and even now much of how I dance is influenced by her understanding of waves and breath. She granted me so many learning opportunities as a rehearsal director and costume designer for the Om Laila troupe. I owe Roula an immense debt of gratitude for her mentorship both in and out of class.