Get to Know a Bellydancer: Sarah Skinner


Sarah Skinner

Where are you from?

I am American. I grew up in a small town and moved to the BIG APPLE (New
York City). A few years ago I moved to Toronto.

Astrological Sign?

I am a Taurus. I fit the sign fairly well.

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

I have a long history of doing all kind of performing from solo work, to
being in other people’s visions to running my own company. I love all three
and find deep value in each for different reasons. My dance company is the
Sisters of Salome.

Teaching wise I don’t have one studio. I teach out of different studios
and travel teaching workshops.

What is your favourite music?

Music is a challenging question. I am always agonizing over it. I love
classics and I love the new stuff from pop bounce to dramatic fusion.
Generally the things that pique my interest in a piece of music is
complexity and an emotional quality. I am less interested in the drum
track repeat type songs.

Favourite costume piece?

Being that I make a lot of my costumes I have love affairs with my
costumes. Some I favor more than others, some are more task oriented and
some more for a special performance. To pick a favorite is so difficult to
do. And actually you asked favorite piece – meaning I could select just a

To select a favorite piece: My coin head piece. I love the authenticity of
heavy, real coin costumes. There is something so magical about wearing
dangling coins on your forehead that gives just a feeling of romantic
oriental visions that stimulate my mind as I dance.

Favorite all time costume: is my red tapestry costume. Starting with red
being my favorite color to the layers of textures and rich colored beads
to the many pieces of the costume that adorn me. It gives me a feeling of
luxury as well as being one of the most flattering for my shape.

Favorite whimsical costume affair I’m having now: I just created a new
baby: the Doily. (Yes it is important to give your costumes names) The
Doily was created for the finale of my last theater production. I chopped
up a big poofy wedding dress creating the biggest skirt that looked very
much like the vintage toilet paper cover dolls with crocheted skirts. But
no, that was not enough! I worked with Micheal Baxter who created an
electronic lighting system that made it so I can turn the skirt on and
off! I felt like Cinderella going to the ball in in!

Your Vices?

I am incapable of going into a wholesale jewelry shop or a bead shop
without spending insane amounts of money.

Your Virtues?

I am a long term planner. I like to do big things and that takes a great
deal of planning, scheduling, effort and ability to keep a momentum.

Upcoming project/event?

I always have something in the oven. At the moment I don’t have any
sharable specifics. I will typically do some small projects through the
year and next summer have another production.

I just finished a large undertaking. I did a Theatrical Belly Dance Show
called Arabian Nights that was presented at the Toronto Fringe Festival.
It had a wonderful cast and crew of 18 people. It turned out better than I
could have ever hoped for.

Why bellydance?

I started all kinds of dance as a child. I added Belly Dance to that list.
There are so many reasons why Belly Dance has stayed with me for my entire
life. And I see it being with me till the end. It is so woven in – in every
step I walk every move I make in how express myself. I am not sure at this
moment I can articulate it for you why.

Who inspires you?

I draw inspiration from lots of things, not just Belly Dance or dancers
necessarily, but I will stay focused here. I have many teachers and
mentors in NYC that continue to awe me. I have a long list but to name a
few that are on the top of my mind at the moment: Zenaide, Anahid Sofian,
Elena Lentini, Eva Chernik.