Get to Know a Bellydancer: Audra Simmons



Audra Simmons

Where are you from?

Toronto…  I grew up in Northern Ontario (Kirkland Lake) but my heart was always in Toronto

Astrological Sign?


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

Perform as a soloist and with Lavish, and own The Dark Side Studio

How long have you been dancing?

I started belly dancing in January 2000 and have no previous dance training

What is your favourite music?

I’m a sucker for the strings, they get me in every genre. Other than that my favorite depends on what I’m doing and when you ask me.

Favourite costume piece?

Don’t have an absolute favourite as my costuming is completely reliant upon what kind of piece I’m performing

Your Vices?

Opinionated and stubborn

Your Virtues?

Having strong opinions, sticking to what I believe in, and pride in what I do

Upcoming project/event?

We have so many wonderful things happening at the studio in the next few months I could go on and on…  I’m really exited about The Lavish Project (May 27-June 1, 2014) because it represents a completely new way of working (Samantha Emanuel and Heather Stants are joining Lavish to work collaboratively over 4 days to create dance pieces we’ll be performing in the gala show – Saturday May 31) and sharing (we’re all teaching workshops that will partially reflect our collaborative work together).  And Heather Labonté and I are working on a new piece that we’ll be debuting there, then taking it to the New York Theatrical Belly Dance Conference in June.

Why bellydance?

I ask myself that a lot actually, and I’m not completely sure to be honest.  (And I’ve heard many people argue that what I do isn’t belly dance at all! But that’s another topic entirely.) I haven’t found anything else that comes the least bit close to capturing my attention so very completely, or allows me to as adequately express myself as belly dance does

Who inspires you?

My students constantly inspire me!  Working with, dancing with and teaching Heather Labonté inspires me. And I wouldn’t the dancer I am today without the huge inspiration that my friend and teacher Rachel Brice has given me.

– Photo by Clare Critchley