Where are you from?
Who do you dance with (Soloist/Company/Studio affiliation)?
I am the full time dancer for The Lemon Bucket Orkestra in Toronto. Occasionally I perform with Ventanas, and I once danced with the lovely ladies of the Om Laila Troupe and do solo shows once in a while.
How long have you been dancing?
Forever. I started Ukrainian folk dancing and ballet at 3 years old. I started to belly dance 6 years ago.
What is your favourite music?
That’s a tough question for me because I don’t tend to choose favourites. I love folk music from Eastern Europe, especially Ukraine and Hungary. I love Romani music from Serbia, Romania and Hungary, and I also love slow, meditative music from the middle east. I find broken rhythms really, really fun to dance to, so songs from the Balkans tend to really get me going! I’m also really into a good beat on the electronic dance floor, and roots reggae and most recently ambient music ground me.
Favourite costume piece?
My huge double circle skirt. That skirt is the love of my life! I feel so beautiful in it!
I can be a bit of a troublemaker, but in a harmless way… and I’m not one to miss an opportunity for a new experience so I don’t end up sleeping enough! I can also be really hard on myself which tends to hold me back a bit.
I’m really loving, which translates into a passion for healing people, whether through my words, heart, or dance. I’m also a hard worker, with many talents. I love to contribute to projects I believe in.
I’m out on a 65-day Canada-wide tour with the Lemon Bucket Orkestra (started June 20th). I’m very excited about that!
I went through a very difficult life change 6 years ago that led me directly to bellydance. I was searching for a way to connect to myself on a deeper level, and because dance is like breathing for me, I knew this connection had to be through dance. The dancing I was practicing was too rigid, and ignored the body-soul connection. I found exactly what I was looking for when I joined Om Laila in Toronto, where Roula Said introduced me to belly dance with a focus on chakras and waves and spiritual connection. Joining that studio and meeting Roula changed my life forever. Now I can’t imagine not belly dancing, however, because of my folk dancing roots and the music I mainly dance to, I’m a fusion dancer. I combine Romani, eastern European folk dance, and bellydance, and I honour what feels good to my mind, body and spirit.
Who inspires you?
Powerful, grounded and centered women inspire me: the beautiful, strong women in my family, Erica Ross, Roula Said, Omara Portuondo, Maya Angelou, Dr. Sheri Rosenthal, Betty White… and more that I just can’t remember right now.
Photo by Michael Zender