Belly-Off 2012: Addivas of NC

Over the next few weeks, I would like to highlight this year’s Belly-Off Competition! We have been conducting interviews with our winners and judges and have much to report on!

Let’s start with our winning troupe, Addivas!

Addivas!

Addivas consists of Charlotte, Sara, and Dominique of North Carolina. A series of questions was posed to each of the member and here is what we have so far:

From Charlotte!
-Who do/did you study with? How long have you been dancing? Also what style of Oriental do you prefer, Turkish, Egyptian or Lebanese and why? Or are you a fusionista?
I started studying with Lisa Zahiya last July. In the bellydance world, that makes me a pretty inexperienced dancer. Which means I am still figuring out what style of bellydance I prefer! At this point, almost everything I do is fusion in some way. I’ve been really fortunate to have a teacher that emphasizes knowing the history and traditions of the dance, so I have some knowledge of the costuming, music and moves that differentiate the styles, but I don’t think I’m qualified to say I favor one over the other. Like many dancers, I mix and match to get what I want to achieve.
 
-Do you travel? Teach or take at workshops? Perform?
I traveled from North Carolina to Pittsburgh to perform in the Belly-Off! I do not teach but I do soak in lots of knowledge at workshops from the pros. I performed my first show on New Years Eve of 2012, and I have probably performed at least 5 times since then. Each time I am doing something more scary: performing alone, performing improv, performing in a competition, and each time what seemed impossible then becomes possible.
-Do you prefer dancing to live or recorded music?
Choreography makes me feel safer, but live music really brings out my joy.
-Why bellydance as opposed to another dance form?

I have always been drawn to bellydance and I’m not even sure I know why. I’ve knew I wanted to bellydance, it just took me awhile to find the right situation.

-And finally, what does bellydance mean to you?

Bellydance has given me confidence and love for my body that I never thought possible. I remember a time when I thought I could never shimmy in public “but my belly will SHAKE” I said. Now my shimmy feels like not only accepting a body part I was previously insecure about…. but even celebrating it! I love my jiggle!

Bellydance also means a community of really amazing, really talented folks. I admire many of the women (and men) in my community, both as dancers and people. They are creative, hard working, and savvy businesswomen.

Bellydance also gives me fitness goals to strive for. Now I am no longer going to pilates just to feel good (and look better) but so that I can improve my dance practice. It is really gratifying to see improvements in dance through hard work.

Finally, bellydance is a form of expression for me. I have to fight to get out of my own head, to talk without words and to express the hard stuff. With dance, I can say things that I can’t with words.

From Sara:

Who do/did you study with? How long have you been dancing? Also what
style of Oriental do you prefer, Turkish, Egyptian or Lebanese and
why? Or are you a fusionista?

We study with Lisa Zahiya (woo!!).  I’ve been dancing almost four
years.  I started Tribal Fusion and prefer it because of the freedom
of expression I feel it gives me, though I am currently studying more
of an American Oriental. (I think that’s what Lisa calls her
style….)

Do you travel? Teach or take at workshops? Perform?

I try to take at least 3 or 4 workshops a year.  I find at each
“tools” for my figurative “tool box” of dance (sorry, it’s a cop
expression, but applicable!).  I teach technique in my current
hometown of Bryson City, North Carolina and a cardio bellydance class
out of Studio Zahiya in Asheville, NC.  I perform any opportunity I
get and love every minute of it.  I feel that is where I can really
show my heart to family, friends and complete strangers.  I love
sharing that piece of myself and hope I can inspire others to do the
same.

Do you prefer dancing to live or recorded music?

I love the interaction and energy I get from dancing to live music.
It’s so amazing to create a beautiful piece of art together with a
musician or musicians for all to enjoy.

Why bellydance as opposed to another dance form?

Ha!  I wish I had a good answer to this!!  I just love it!

Bellydance means body awareness to me.  I own my body.  I can move my
body in ways other dance forms do not allow (isolation and layering).
I am not ashamed of my body and have found a new found love for her
through this dance form.

Bellydance means creativity and self expression to me.  I have a
beautiful blank canvas of a song to create something amazing and
unique on.  My voice is heard on the dance floor.  I am completely
myself.

From Dominique:

Who do/did you study with?

I am currently studying with Lisa Zahiya of Asheville NC.

How long have you been dancing?

Around four years now. I started with Jane “Zarifa” Copeland (Raks Sharqi and Folkloric), then Yasmine Magic-Hips (American Cabaret) of Charlotte NC.

What style of Oriental do you prefer, Turkish, Egyptian or Lebanese and why? Or are you a fusionista?

I love love love Fusion, but I’m rooted in that oh-so-fabulous Classic Egyptian style.

Do you travel? Teach or take at workshops? Perform?

I do travel! I will save my pennies and eat Ramen just to afford a bellydance workshop. I don’t teach (yet), but I will perform to anything, anywhere!

Do you prefer dancing to live or recorded music?

Live. I love interacting with a band/drummer. The “give and take” between a Dancer and a Musician is like nothing else in this world…

Why bellydance as opposed to another dance form?

I dunno. I was intrigued by Hollywood’s take on Bellydance (thank you Xena Warrior Princess). Years later I took a class on a whim, and here I am. Now it’s my passion and I really don’t know why, but isn’t that how love works?

And finally, what does bellydance mean to you?

Everything.  It has redefined the meaning of “blood sweat and tears.” It has made me stronger, more focused and more driven. I am not the same person I was four years ago (and I’ve never been happier).

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