"I love how dance brings people closer, sharing with my students, working towards shows together and seeing them grow, overcome stage fright, or body confidence issues"
What do you do?
I’m a dancer and instructor specialising in fusion belly dance, burlesque and hula hooping. I run cabaret shows for venues, festivals and events, and am the owner of Skytribe dance studio in Leicester City Centre.
Although I have honed my Egyptian belly dance skills dancing for weddings, restaurants and melas, I specialise in fusion belly dance which incorporates Urban dance styles, contemporary dance, and folkloric dances from many cultures, often with a fantasy or gothic/alternative vibe. But most modern belly dance is a fusion really when looking back to the golden age of belly dance (think 1940-60s) when Egyptian Cinema was booming, and dancers were influenced by the stars on screen. Jazz steps were incorporated into the dance to make it more palatable to Western society and this style is what we see most widely today.
How did you get to where you are?
Most of my projects stem from my passion for belly dance which I started studying about 11 years ago. I have studied with many teachers from all over the world, the more I learn the more I realise there is to know.
In 2009 I landed a job teaching burlesque for Bijoux Burlesque and went on to sell some of my choreographies to the company to be taught by their teachers across England. I ran my first burlesque shows at Leicester’s Rack ‘n’ Roll and The Soundhouse, paving the way for my cabaret career travelling around the UK to perform in shows such as ‘The Cats Pyjamas’ Grimsby, ‘Night Train Revue’ Rotherham, Brighton Fringe, Nozstock Festival’s Velveteen Valley Cabaret and for bands, most notably as a solo opening act for American rock band ‘The Eels’. After teaching myself to hula hoop I incorporated this into my acts and have been fortunate to teach at Hoop Gathering both in the UK and Spain, and to perform fire hula hoop at the Miss Great Britain finals.
Around this time I also became a freelance instructor for the Attenborough Arts Centre and later Déda Derby too, building up a base of students over the years.
Travelling between venues to teach classes started to become tiresome and in 2015 I decided to open Skytribe Dance Studio. I now teach all my weekly classes at Skytribe and it is home to several other freelance instructors.
Why do you love what you do?
I have always loved movement, even when I was a child I enjoyed pushing my physical boundaries, whether in school sports or gymnastics, and spent a lot of time injured after trying to teach myself flips (or other ridiculous things I had no idea how to do). It’s sometimes the only way I feel I can truly express myself. In honesty, I live in a fantasy world and love to be able to share the ideas floating in my head through dance.
I love how dance brings people closer, sharing with my students, working towards shows together and seeing them grow, overcome stage fright, or body confidence issues. Some go on to achieve outside of class - whether they get a great booking, or run an amazing cabaret event, or begin teaching others. It feels good to know you had a part in that growth.
Why are you based in Leicester?
I was born in Leicester and wouldn’t trade for another city. Leicester has so much culture, and I have had the benefit of dancing for lots of family celebrations, all with different customs. Arabic, Indian, or Polish families will often request different songs for me to dance to, sometimes something I’ve never heard. At weddings and birthdays all the traditions come out and it is wonderful to experience.
Plus, Leicester has one of the biggest Asian Melas in the UK, thousands of people come into the city centre to experience the food, music and dancing, I’ve been lucky enough to dance Bollywood and belly dance there with Chaines Dance Company many times.
Despite the pandemic I have a few projects coming up this Autumn to be filmed at the Attenborough Arts Centre for release online. A fantasy project collaborating with local musician Tablic, and a Halloween Burlesque show with my dance troupes Chicas Locas Burlesque and Skytribe fusion bellydance.
If you want to see the finished results you can follow me on social media or check out Skytribe studio’s pages too if you fancy coming to class and joining the troupe.
Social media accounts to follow: