Get to Know a Bellydancer: Valizan

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Name

Valizan

Where are you from?

Born and raised in North York (Feh on Toronto amalgamation!). Currently enjoying living in Hamilton.

Astrological Sign?

Leo, with Virgo tendencies.

Who do you dance with (Soloist/Company/Studio affiliation)?

I am the leader of Shades Of Araby, the ATS troupe I founded nine years ago. Also do solo work when it comes up.

Affiliations… Heh… I am also a member of Troupe InternATSional which is an ATS troupe made up of dancers from Canada, The UK, The U.S.A and South Africa; Jim Boz’s Sons Of The Padisha (all-male tribal troupe); and Sons Of The Trimurti (all-male ATS troupe that formed for Cues & Tattoos in Seattle, WA.)

How long have you been dancing?

::ponders this :: Took my very first lesson in 1995. This August will be my 19th year. The first seven was crap though. Those are the years you’re learning about your body and pushing your limits. Really wish I’d started bellydancing earlier.

What is your favourite music?

Y’know… that changes from month to month. My musical taste really runs the gamut, both in my non-dance world and my dance world. I love Phil Thornton because he makes music with playtime packed in for dancers. Among my current faves to dance to: Dhaffer Youcef, Bob Holroyd, Hossam Ramzy and Trio Jouban.

Favourite costume piece?

Hands down, my big blue tassle belt, named Big Blue! It was specially made for me and it works well for catching my movements and adding flow.

Your Vices?

Being too much of a nighthawk and not getting enough love from Sol. I need to get to bed at a decent hour, but after teaching I’m so wound up I can’t rest.

Also… Pepsi. Working on moving away from my sugar addiction. So far, so slow, but it is coming along.

I’m too much of an artist and not a harsh enough businessman. I really just want to be a dancer. Feh on paperwork.

Your Virtues?

I’m loyal to my friends, and I work hard for my students who show me they want to take the dance journey.

Warped sense of humour. Wait… maybe that’s a vice.

Upcoming project/event?

Due to some difficult life happenings, my life ground to a halt three years ago. This year, I have regained upward momentum. My troupe will be featured at Raqs Unveiled in Detroit in May, Faery Fest in Guelph this summer, I am teaching at The Black Forest Tribal Fest in Germany this fall and I have things cooking on the back burner for 2015 already.

Why bellydance?

Every dance is an attempt to connect with that which is beyond the ken of humankind. If real life were all there were, we’d all be so depressed. But bellydance is a portal to different energy, different headspace and the kind of connection that people just don’t seem to make with each other any more. ATS to me means putting your iPhone down and looking into the eyes of the person who has deigned to give their attention to you so you can dance. Bellydance in general is generating energy with your body and soul to open that portal to a spiritual place.

Who inspires you?

In general, I’m inspired by those people who help people understand they don’t have to ask permission to live their lives. As a dancer, I’m inspired by a lot of people: Donna Mejia, Amy Sigil, Bob Fosse, Yasmina Ramzy, Carolena Nericcio, Candy Johnson, The Alvin Ailey Dance Company.

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