Get to Know a Bellydancer: Laura Atma



Laura Atma

Where are you from?

I was born in Toronto, and grew up in Oakville, Ontario

Astrological Sign


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

My first dance home was The Dark Side Studio under the tutelage of Audra Simmons, and I was honoured to be one of the founding members of Lavish. For the past several years I’ve been dancing with Dragonfly Bellydance, led by Thania Zahira, which is the studio I call home today.

How long have you been dancing?

I was introduced to bellydance when I was 18, which makes it 14 years, but I wouldn’t say I have that many years of experience!

What is your favourite music?

My favourite music is the music I first learned to dance to: live Romani and Balkan. Ecstasy is dancing to live oud, slow sitar, violin, cello or bagpipes.

When it’s not live and around a campfire (which it isn’t 50 weeks of the year) it’s hard to describe what I like, I just know I like it when I hear it- Glitch Mob, Radiohead, Beats Antique, Dirty Elegance, Beirut, Amon Tobin, Dr. Draw.

My introduction to bellydance didn’t include raqs sharki or cabaret style music, which I’ve never been able to enjoy, no matter how much I try! I do appreciate its complexity though.

Favourite costume piece?

My favourite piece is a black tassel belt made by an old friend of mine who’s an incredibly talented crafter named Red. It belongs somewhere between “tribal” and “steampunk” and has the most delicious old coins, brass accents, and Afghani and Turkoman findings.

Your Vices?

I’m incredibly hard on myself and overly critical.  I’m also exceptionally honest, and happy to voice my opinion, so don’t ask my opinion unless you really want it! 

Your Virtues?

I feel strongly about being accountable for my actions and decisions, so I’m very dependable and loyal; my friendships are very important to me. I also think it’s really important to grow and evolve as a person, so I’m always trying to learn something new, and reflect on my experiences. 

Upcoming project/event?

Nothing on the horizon. I’m taking a break from performing, but I’m always humbled when I’m at an event and people who have seen me dance in the past ask “why aren’t you dancing tonight?”

Why bellydance?

The freedom and joy I saw on the faces of the women dancing around the fire where I first saw bellydance was transfixing. The link between drummers, musicians, and dancer, connected together through the rhythm, the heat and the smell of the wood and smoke… it’s a feeling I’ve been chasing since I first felt it.

Who inspires you?

The women who first showed me this dance who you’ve probably never heard of – Olivia Kissel, Maria Hammer, Ziah Ali (Awalim Dance Company/Tribal Con), Melanie Wood, Kamile Hitz. As well as all the women I’ve meet through studying this art who are the most welcoming, friendly, and supportive people alive! Finally, my teachers, who have made dance their lives, who know what they love and have the courage and skill to pursue their dreams.