Get to Know a Bellydancer: Anuka

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Name

Anuka

Where are you from?

I was born in Romania and came to Canada with my family when I was 4. I grew up in Toronto.

Astrological Sign

Scorpio

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

I am a working professional soloist and am the artistic director and choreographer for Mirage. I regularly perform at restaurants and event venues. As a soloist and with Mirage I take great pleasure in participating in Toronto’s vibrant bellydance scene as a guest artist or by putting on my own shows. I am a core faculty member of Dragonfly Bellydance Studio and frequently collaborate with members of the Dragonfly Dance Company.

What is your favourite music?

The tongue-in-cheek answer here is “good music” – every genre has high quality pieces and I don’t believe in limiting myself.

I love Arabic music. I played the violin from grade school through university so I do have a marked preference for orchestrated classical pieces but I also enjoy folkloric music and pop songs. All of it evokes different moods.

I also love classical music (particularly Baroque and early Classical), rock, blues, Balkan, electronic, ancient music (think chamber orchestra before it settled into its current form – some of the string instruments used to have more strings!)… there is a lot of great music from all over the world. I’m always curious and listening to different artists.

Favourite costume piece?

Definitely the costumes I make for myself – they are more comfortable and durable than anything I have purchased. Don’t ask me to pick just one!

Your Vices?

Amassing fabric and beads for innumerable future projects and then hoarding it all for ages!

Your Virtues?

I am self-motivated to create. Even when I feel disheartened I keep at it and don’t let myself be easily discouraged.

Upcoming project/event?

There’s always a lot going on! I’m going to make another mermaid appearance (with Mirage) at the Mystic Arts Collective event on March 21st. I have two workshops coming up at Dragonfly: Floorwork & Better Backbends on April 19th and a costume workshop on May 2nd (Repair, Embellish, Create!). I’m performing and excited to have my classes perform at the Dragonfly Student Showcase on May 31st. There are a couple of other things in the works but I can’t share the details just yet.

Why bellydance?

I tried a bellydance class for fun while in university. I fell in love with the music and flowing movements. Before you know it I had dragged my friends into it and formed a troupe.

Who inspires you?

My strongest dance influence is my mentor, Hannan Sultan. I am grateful for the hours she spent training me and the opportunities she gave me. Especially at the beginning she had a lot more faith in me than I had in myself and gave me the push I needed.

I have had the pleasure of learning from three wonderful artists Toronto is very lucky to have: Roula Said, Mayada and Yasmina Ramzy. Whether it’s classes, workshops or attending their shows they have done a lot to shape my musical and aesthetic tastes.

I am continually inspired and delighted by the dancers around me – we have such a vibrant scene in this city. For me, Zahira has always been someone to watch – she is a consummate performer, technically brilliant and intensely creative. I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with her several times.

Of course I am also inspired by international performers (notably Aziza, Jillina, Bozenka) and can’t believe how easy it is to access videos now. When I started dancing (and dinosaurs still roamed the earth) there was no Youtube and precious little online. Now I can see footage from a wedding in Egypt or an international star at the click of a mouse. It’s amazing and I hope I never take it for granted!

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