E Komo Mai! Welcome to my blog.

I'm delighted that you dropped in! E Komo Mai: WELCOME! This blog is basically an online visual journal is modeled after a concept I learned of in psychology 101... waaaaaaay back in college. That concept was somewhere in the chapter on The Significance of Dreams, where it mentioned someone's theory on dreaming about a house usually means that the house represents you. So I have used my actual house (Mauna Lea Manor) to structure my blog. In different rooms you will find different aspects of my life; different interests I like to blog about. This is a way to bring a little organization into my life and thoughts for myself... (dreams are in The Bedroom, Family updates are in The Living room, etc.)
This also, I would imagine, make reading this blog more convenient for you as well. If you are a grandparent interested in seeing photos and hearing stories about my boys, but maybe not so interested in my bellydancing obsession: you can just read what goes on in The Playground. But if you are an Art Collector more interested in my latest work and information on collecting, but not especially interested in my personal life: you'd enjoy The Office. Mauna Lea Manor is sort of the foyer to all the other rooms. If you would like to tour my online portfolio, please visit: www.stephaniebolton.com.
I hope you enjoy your time here ;) & continue to stop by!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Interview with Khadijah...

How do you define “Belly Dance”?

Is a dance that holds a strong cultural background that has been passed down for
generations. This danced has been preserved to tell “stories” about out ancestors.
The dance has a strong focus on an internalization and reflection of the music and the
emotion therein. The music is as important as a vocabulary of movements from which
to draw, and therefore the most revered of dancers will generally be those who are
either the most charismatic or the most emotionally projective (even if their movement
vocabulary is limited). The dancer becomes the vehicle of communication to make
sound and emotion visible to the audience

How & when did you first encounter belly dancing?

First encountered this dance as a child (I was 6 years old) in an “after school/day
care” program. There were many choices to choose from; basketball, kickball (VERY
popular overseas) or dance… of course chose dance.

How long have you been dancing (professionally/teaching)?

I have been training hard (yes, we are athletes too) for 12 years and professionally
teaching and performing for 8 years.

Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

I grew up in Saudi Arabia and I currently reside in Denver, CO

Where is the most interesting place that belly dance has taken you?

This dance has taken me as far as Egypt. Back to where it ALL began, Egypt is like
my home… opps correction, Egypt IS my home!

Who were some of your mentors/teachers/inspirations along the way?

My biggest inspirations in this dance of course are the pioneers of this dance; the
legendary Mahmoud Reda and Farida Famy. I LOVE Randa Kamel, and she is a great
representation of a strong Egyptian/Raqs sharqi dancer should be. Last but not
least, My grandmother is my biggest inspiration. She has supported me in more
ways than one. I have been told to just quit to get married and have children…. My
Grandmother always have told me to continue to do what I love and don’t listen to
the negativity of this world. She believed in me when no one else did. I love her so
much and I do this because of her.

What valuable advice would you like to pass on to novice dancers? 

Practice, practice and PRACTICE some more, we ARE athletes too, just like a football
player drills his drills everyday … we MUST do the same! Make sure that you are
getting into this dance for all of the right reasons. When performing this dance, do
NOT forget that you are representing a strong nation/culture of people. Of course
know the music and instrumentation, if you don’t know Arabic please have it
translated for you. Also know the appropriate costuming that goes with your music.
It also helps to educated you on the history and religion of the Middle- East and
beyond. The MORE knowledgeable you are the stronger the foundation you have in
this dance.

What is the most unusual experience you have had belly dancing?

I have only experienced this in America (and NO other part of the world), but
many people seem to “approach” belly dance artists as if they were approaching
a stripper? I think many Americans that are uneducated about movement/
dance that contains undulating movement will resort their thinking to whatever
seems “familiar” to them, and that’s to exotic dancers or sex? I do my best to educate
everywhere I perform, but as they say, you cannot educate the ignorant and it’s so

What is the topic of the article you are contributing to Zanbaka’z Belly dance for
the Versatile Dancer Vol.4?

The proper representation and approach to Arabic dance and music.

Do you have any other special talents/skills/occupations besides (or that
compliment) your belly dancing?

I am a scientist and a performer. I hold a degree in Veterinary medicine and I have a
deep compassion for animals. This has always have been a life dream of mine right
along with performing Middle-Eastern dance. Science and movement for me is a
perfect balance in my life.

What is your favorite or signature style of belly dance that you teach or perform?
Do you have a specialty that people recognize you for?

I am known for my upbeat energetic Egyptian style (raq sharqi) and folklore. I am

mainly and widely known for my expertise in performing Khaleej style dance and

Do you have any special projects you are working on personally that you would like
to share about? 

Currently my best dance friends we have formed a trio by the name of “A’dawiya” it
means “wild roses”. The trio consists of: I (Khadijah), Taka and Sonia of Denver.
Here is a clip of us performing at a Denver community event:

Why do you love belly dancing?

This dance helps me to tell “my story” without saying a word. The stage is where my true
personality comes out. When sound of the music fills my ear, the feeling that comes over
me is completely unexplainable. This feeling is a spiritual feeling almost next to God. The
benefits of belly dance are both mental and physical. Dancing is a good cardio-vascular
work out and helps increase flexibility. It is suitable for all ages and body types and can be
as physical as the dancer chooses to make it. Mental health benefits, for many bellydancers,
include an improved sense of wellbeing, elevated body image and self-esteem as well as a
generally positive outlook that comes with regular, enjoyable exercise.

What is your favorite music to dance to? Why? Any favorite bands/groups/artists?

I LOVE Khaleej music especially from Iraq and Kuwait (VERY African influenced).
I love sha’abi. My music collection is very extensive I have over 7,000 songs on my
Ipod anything from classic rock, classical to hip hop.

Favorite costume elements? 

ANYTHING bright! I love bright colors; they go best with my dark skin tone. I get
my costumes designed in Egypt; I buy Egyptian only, for Khaleej style I purchase
straight from the Gulf. I love big heavy jewelry. I love anything silver or turquoise.
I tend to mix silver and gold together, the more the better. I do my own stage make
up. I love creating the “Arabic make up style” w/ heavy Kohl around the eyes and
for the brows. I love deep purple, orange, silver, cranberry, fuchsia, shimmery
browns and gold. My favorite props to use are assaya (cane) or my 48” Indonesian
swords (2). Shoes I tend to dance barefoot, if I am dancing on a surface that looks
dangerous, I will wear ballet slippers.

Favorite Colors?

I love blue, burnt orange, black, gold and maroon.

Favorite Quotes (regarding dance or life):

Never give up what you want in a lifetime ... for just one moment (life)
It Takes an Athlete to Dance, but an Artist to be a Dancer (Dance)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

And the next dancer I am painting is...


Khadijah is a dancer who actually grew up in the Middle East.  
She shares her dance knowledge with first hand cultural experience that will enrich your understanding of Middle Eastern Dance.  Come back tomorrow to read her interview!

I was thrilled to discover that you can find a great article about her in this month's issue of 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The moment you've all been waiting for...

Not that there is such a thing, but if there were...
Masha would be the textbook belly dancer.
Tall and beautiful, skillful dancer, sweet disposition, musical, with a classic aesthetic.
The heavy dark outline comes from the somewhat cliche Nouveau influence that afflicts all bellydancers- belly dancing artists in particular.
I gave her a gift... added an anklet to the costume that wasn't there but I thought she could use one.
Persian flower motif decorates the left side in metallic gold.
Background scene is a Ukrainian landscape in California Impressionist style to reflect her "background" (pun intended).

Do you want to recommend a title for this painting?
(not yet sure what I'd like to call it)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Learn about Masha

How do you define “Belly Dance”?
              I define “belly” dance as a celebration of life in the present, past, or future; It is a very personal expression of existence. Also, a celebration of femininity. Although “belly” dance is most often revered as a dance of Middle Eastern origin, I also believe it cultivated from nomadic Gypsy culture as well. Belly dance is about being in total unity with the music and your own emotions... no fear or insecurity.. ideally, total self confidence and acceptance.

How & when did you first encounter belly dancing?
              I first encountered belly dancing in Pacific Grove, California. I was about 13 yrs. old and noticed there was a belly dance class being offered in a small yoga studio, downstairs from the restaurant I worked at. I was intrigued, so I tried a class then suggested to my mom that she try the class as well ( her boyfriend at that time was Jordanian.) My mama and I began learning belly dance together.

How long have you been dancing (professionally/teaching)?
              I have been belly dancing professionally and teaching for about 4 years now. However               I’ve been dancing in other forms since I was 4 yrs. old (starting with ballet.)

Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
              I was born in Odessa, Ukraine (along the Black Sea) and raised there until age 5. Both of my parents were/ are artists ( they divorced when I was 3 yrs. old.) When I was 5 yrs. old, my mother got the opportunity to go to America and took me with her, right before the impending collapse of the Soviet Union. She had a 1 yr. student visa but we ended up staying and living in the US for the past 19 yrs. Since that point, I’ve grown up in central California, specifically Monterey Bay. I currently live in the Monterey area. I feel we were very fortunate to end up in such a naturally beautiful, scenic part of the US. I became an American citizen last month... July 2010. As soon as I applied for my expedited passport, I bought a ticket to Ukraine.

Where is the most interesting place that belly dance has taken you?
              The most interesting place that belly dance has taken me is into the depths of my hidden/ subconscious emotions. I’ve grown to love classical Arabic music...  the compositions are so rich that they bring me to tears sometimes... for reasons I am not even fully aware of.

Who were some of your mentors/teachers/inspirations along the way?
              All of my teachers in various dance forms have been my mentors and inspirations: Various ballet instructors throughout my childhood ( most recently in my adulthood,  Deanna Ross.)
Valeria Batista-Mason: my first belly dance instructor ever.
Alicia Morena Di Palma: my Flamenco teacher during my teenage years.
* Janelle Rodriguez and Crystal Silmi of Santa Cruz: the teachers who’s belly dance class isolation and layering techniques challenged and excited me to get back into belly dancing.
* A primary reason I decided to commit to learning belly dance again, in addition to the challenging technique format I was exposed to, was that my grandfather in Ukraine passed away during the same time I began trying the classes in Santa Cruz.  I had never got to meet him since leaving Ukraine at age 5, and was distraught at his passing.  At that point in life, I wasn’t doing much for my self other than working double shifts to pay the rent to live with a boyfriend I wasn’t compatible with. I decided in my grandfather’s memory, to commit to doing something beneficial for myself... and that’s how i got back into dance ( after a number of years hiatus from dance of all kinds): my mom told me about some interesting instructors in Santa Cruz and we began to drive up, every week, to take their belly dance classes there together (sometimes 2-3 times week.)
Authentic Middle eastern Dancers inspire me, particularly Egyptian style dancers.... Most recently,  Mohamed El Hosseny ( he is an excellent Egyptian dance instructor currently based in Finland. His passion for the art form is very inspiring.) Yousry Sharif has also been an Egyptian Dance inspiration ( It’s funny how these men can sometimes belly dance better than women... but it is their culture after all.). I also admire Dina, Fifi Abdo, Randa Kamel, Maria Shashkova (Russian) and the list goes on of international belly dancers I admire.
I am inspired by ALL talented dancers I see... of any genre. Flamenco dance, Gypsy dance, Persian, Ballet..  everything that catches my eye.
My mother has always been an inspiration as well... she is the most creative, productive, multi-talented woman I have ever known.

What valuable advice would you like to pass on to novice dancers? 
First and foremost believe in yourself, follow your passions/ interests, be disciplined in your training and practice, educate yourself about the art form culturally and historically, study from as many instructors as possible and with the best instructors available, challenge yourself, and never NEVER stop learning... you will never know it all, but strive to learn as much as available to you. Also, don’t let the critics get to you.

What is the most unusual experience you have had belly dancing?
              The way my solo performing “career” began is rather unusual, I think.
In 2007,  my mom decided to set up a weekly variety show in the middle of a shopping mall in downtown Monterey. She hung a roll of fabric off a stairway balcony as our “stage” backdrop, and she and I and as many other dancers/ performing artists as we could round up would perform every week for the public, free of charge/ by donation. We had belly dancers, musicians, and even a magician. It was called the “BellySema Mystique Show” named after our dance troupe’s name “BellySema”. Our show became rather popular, we had our regular audience members showing up every week. This went on for over a year, and then the show had to end due to the owner of the building citing ‘insurance liability” issues.
There, an admirer ( our dance student/ show videographer/ now friend) consistently tipped me one hundred dollar bills, every week, for a couple of months.. until he ran out of money I guess.. haha.. or realized he could not buy my love ( also, there he met his girlfriend in the audience.. now ex, but good friend.)

Do you have any other special talents/skills/occupations besides (or that compliment) your belly dancing?
              I feel that my background in ballet and Flamenco dance has enriched my belly dance style/ vocabulary greatly.
I also played cello for three years in middle school, so I believe that my musical experiences have also helped me in understanding/ translating music into movement. I have a natural sense of timing. For a period of time I was instructing basic Middle Eastern Rhythms for the Doumbek classes in Monterey.

What is your favorite or signature style of belly dance that you teach or perform?  Do you have a specialty that people recognize you for?
I admire classical Egyptian style belly dance... but I like to fuse that inspiration with other dance experiences... I don’t want to copy anyone.. we all take and borrow from our inspirations, but i strive to find my own presentation.  I’ve been told  my dance style is very fluid.

Do you have any special projects you are working on personally that you would like to share about?
I hope to soon make a website for my mother’s belly dance costume designs. It will most likely be titled “BellySema Couture”. My mother is an artist but her creativity extends to many directions, fortunately or me: costume design. She hesitates to advertise her costumes to the public because they are very time consuming, one a a kind, hand sewn creations. She prefers to focus on her art work as that is her profession. However,  I get so many compliments on her designs that I feel if someone fully understands the value of her rare creations they should be able to inquire about owning or commissioning one of her costume designs.

Why do you love belly dancing?
I love belly dancing because anyone can learn it with enough focus and training... and it is especially complimentary for female overall well-being. The dance form  itself does not discriminate based on age, body shape, weight, height, sex.. etc. Any one can be a belly dancer with enough dedication.
              I also like belly dance because it partially stems from Middle eastern social dancing. I’ve noticed many people are afraid to dance in public, and I like to set an example for them/ inspire them to get out of their shells and live a little more. Seize the moment..  we are our own worst critics, so it’s only our own judgements we have to conquer.
When I studied ballet as a child, I never felt I would become a ballerina because i didn’t fit the standard ballet body type: I was tall and later curvy, and that wasn’t ideal for ballet. In studying Flamenco dance, my feet began to hurt having to wear the traditional heeled Flamenco shoes, and I have have bunions which made performing Flamenco even harder on my feet. I liked that belly dance can be performed with out shoes.
I love the fluidity of belly dance, the richness of it’s cultural origins, the variety of styles in the dance form, the complexity of it’s music,  and the overall health benefits of the dance.

What is your favorite music to dance to?  Why?  Any favorite bands/groups/artists?
              I LOVE the accordion... it’s nostalgic to me, i think because it reminds me of Russian music from my childhood. I also love Baladi songs... something about the music suddenly dropping into that heavy rhythm grabs at my soul. In general, since I admire the Egyptian style of belly dance, I listen to a lot of Classical Egyptian/ Arabic songs. The music is very complex and it takes me a few days of listening to the same song to fully grasp all of the subtle accents in the classical songs I am captivated by. I also like the “classical’ songs because of the way Middle Eastern audiences react so emotionally to them. I try to research the translations and emote the corresponding sentiment into my dances because i know that Middle Eastern audiences appreciate that... and it’s an homage of my respect/ admiration for the music and artists of their cultures. Some favorite composers include Mohamed Abdel Wahab and Abdul Halim Hafez (singer.) Recently, I’ve fallen in love with Om Kalsoum.... her song “Ba’eed Anak” ( Far From You) is on repeat in my play-list right now. I’ve also taken notice of her song “Ana Fi Intizarak” ( I’m Waiting For You).. the composition is by Mohamed Abdel Wahab and the intro that song is striking. Another musician I enjoy is Hossam Ramzy...  he’s an excellent drummer. When I feel like dancing a fusion style, I am inclined towards gypsy/ flamenco-esque music. I feel that my mom and I are gypsies... but sometimes I like random funk, pop, rock, or rap songs too ;p
In terms of “local” musicians, I love the music of George and Elias Lammam ( Lebanese musicians/ brothers) based in San Francisco.. the are excellent musicians and I’ve had the opportunity to dance to their live musical accompaniment a number of times.

Favorite costume elements?
              Very fortunately for me, my mama is my personal costume designer and 99% of my costumes have been created by her. I like floral designs.. roses... Russian shawls. I only shop for jewelry.... earrings, bangles, anklets. Also, I like mysterious head pieces ( which may only reveal the eyes) and Afghani tribal style mirrored or Bangara style accessories. I also like cymbals and drums.. musical instruments as props.

Favorite Colors?
              I like bright colors: Red, purple, blue, hot pink, piercing tropical blue.. also, I like metallics: gold, bronze, silver. I am generally fair skinned so pastel or light colors don’t complement my complexion as much (sometimes not enough contrast.)

Favorite Quotes (regarding dance or life):
              We ought to dance with rapture that we might be alive... and part of the living, incarnate cosmos. “        - H.D Lawrence

“ Dancing is my religion. Movement is my practice. When everything is in sync, music and movement are my direct links to the divine.”  - unknown

You are originally from Odessa but have grown up in the US.  You have recently returned to Odessa after 20 years- this must be very exciting for you.   Is the place how you remember it?  You were quite young when you left, did you even remember much?
              (I am right now responding to these questions from Odessa.)
I have a few childhood memories of Odessa... mostly of the city.
I have a memory of learning to swim.. my mom (and/ or her boyfriend at that time) took me took the beach, and later to my surprise, threw me into the Black Sea, simply telling me to swim back to them.. and that’s how i learned to swim; survival instinct.
I remember the apartment I lived in with my mom in downtown Odessa, and the grapevines in the center of the apartment courtyard. I remember our neighbor and her grandchildren who I would play with when they came to visit. Our apartment itself was one large room, and we had to go out into the communal hallway and enter another door to get to our kitchen. I remember for having a box of yellow baby chicks in our kitchen for some time. In that apartment complex, we had to share one bathroom among several families living on the same floor ( again, had to go out into the communal hallway to access it.).  I have a strange memory of levitating... hovering a few inches above the floor in the living room as my mom stepped outside onto our porch, and when I called her name to come back inside and see what was happening, my feet had lowered to the floor by the time she returned ( I realize now that, logically, it was most likely a dream.) I vaguely remember my mom having a female friend/ model over, posing nude, but tastefully draped in fabric ( in our living room )  for her painting.
I remember walking by the bakery downtown and seeing “bubliki” ( similar to thin, dried bagels) threaded in a row, hanging in the bakery window.
I remember the in-comparable delicious taste of home-made apricot ice cream being sold at the beach/ boardwalk/ port area  where my mom would sketch portraits outside for people.
I remember walking down the sides of the Potemkin Steps ( at the sides were larger block shaped steps, which seemed very large to me at that time.)

Did you keep in contact with your relatives there or do you feel like you are meeting many of them for the first time?
              Ever since we left, my father’s parents have called me every year for my birthday to congratulate me and give me their blessings. My father’s father, Grisha (short for Gregory) passed away about four yrs. ago, and sadly I never got to meet him again. I remember the last time I spoke to him, he and my grandmother had called me on my 18th? birthday and he was wishing me a happy birthday yet crying at the same time... telling me he loved me.. it was always very emotional getting phone calls from them. It was frustrating knowing I had family in Ukraine who loved me but not being able to go visit them due to legal issues and my mom’s fear that we would not be able to return to the US if we went to Ukraine before becoming American citizens. My grandmother was the one who consistently called me ever year after that.. my father was always shy for some reason... it was also frustrating because I couldn't communicate with them very well.. I stopped learning Russian once I came to the US, so my understanding was very basic.. and they didn’t know any English.
Last year, I saw my father of skype video chat for the first time. Last week I met him in person for the first time as an adult.. it’s all still very emotional for me but i try to focus on the positive and be happy and enjoy the somewhat sureal present moments rather than allow myself an emotional breakdown.
My mom didn’t keep much contact with her family throughout the years (or vice versa) so it was definitely like I was meeting them for the first time.
Actually, it feels like I have met all of my relatives for the first time.

Do you think you will be doing any performing or teaching dance while you are there?  What is the belly dance “scene” like in Odessa?
I definitely intend to find a few “gigs” while I am here.. we shall see how that goes. I would also like to take some dance classes while I am here.. but that is yet to be arranged. I have not seen any belly dance performers or venues yet.

You are going to be performing in a competition before returning home to Monterey, right?  Can you tell me a little bit about that?
I’ll be performing in the  Miami Belly Dance Convention competition in early September. Last year I entered that same competition at my mother’s urging.. it was my very first competing experience.. and last year I knew I wasn’t ready or prepared.. but my mother urged me to do it anyhow, so I did. There are many good dancers in Miami.. I look forward to the event again.. and I approach it as a learning experience... I am not a competitive person.. I do it more for the experience and exposure. And to see who my international contemporaries are. My mother is my biggest motivator.. without her support, I definitely would not be where I am now.

I got to take my family on more than one occasion to a restaurant in Pacific Grove called the Persian Grill to see you dance.  The food was excellent and you really put on a good show.  How long have you been dancing there?  You seemed very close with the restaurant owners- do you have a personal connection with them?
              I have been dancing at the Persian Grill ( in Monterey) for about 2 years now.. and that also began at my mother’s urging (she’s like my agent.. haha.) I definitely have a connection with the Homami family ( the owners of the restaurant.) It’s an intimate, family owned business and they are very sweet people. I’ve never had any problems with them in terms of business and getting paid (unlike other restaurant owners I’ve dealt with.) The Homami’s have always been very loyal and consistent with me in regards to my dance gig there, so I try my best to treat them them with the same respect.

When you return you will resume performing & teaching … how can readers find out where you will be performing or teaching so they can come see you?
              I update all recent info regarding my class and performance schedule onto my website: www.MashaRaqs.com
( “Masha” is my name.. “Raqs” means “dance” in Arabic, for those who may not know.)

Now it is YOUR turn to ask the question!

Masha wants to know:

“ Who is the biggest inspiration in your life and how have they altered the course of your existence?”

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The next dancer I am painting is...

I had the privilege of taking some classes with Masha this last summer in Monterey.
She teaches in the most beautiful studio on Lighthouse Ave called "Shall we Dance"
My family & I also saw her perform at The Persian Grill multiple times.
Her show was so exciting- she danced with her veil, played her ziller, balanced vessels & a sword on her head IN THE TINY restaurant - my kids loved it!  The food was also delicious!
She is so stunning I just knew I had to paint her.
So get to know a little more about her tomorrow and see if I am able to do her any justice.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Nouveau Gypsy Part II

see more photos at this blog post on a fellow gypsy's blog ;)

ccdoodle booth

E. Lily Art's debut showcase of her photography & paintings

Magharet Rahr of Rahr Bazaar

Wendy Rosen of Stir Crazy Hawaii

Mahelani vending Graffiti Bikinis & OrchinLan Handbags

Tori & her beautiful jewelry & up-cycled clothing

Lynn of Lynn's treasures & me!

Kathryn of Resoul'd Designs

Michelle making some sales ;)

Art on Plywood! 

Me & Danielle BOLTON (my sister- see the resemblance? Other people seem to)

Below are some extra super cool guests who came to our event in costume!!!

Sunrise over Honolulu

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tara Bowman on canvas!

Starts with the underpainting- I usually use green or blue depending on a person's skintone
The background is really thickly spread paint to imply a thick stage curtain behind her

Next comes in the flesh tones and blocking in major areas of color

Next comes all the fun little embellishments of coins, beads, sequins, and medallions

It is so fun to be able to show you a subject right beside her portrait!  
Here is Tara holding the painting of her.

Here is a photo of me with Shakti Dance Movement & the paintings of them.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Interview with Tara Bowman

How do you define “Belly Dance”?
 Ever evolving dance of the feminine devine

How & when did you first encounter belly dancing?
 I was at a hindu dicussion group and they were palying some indian music and I was daydreaming and moving my body in my mind, dancing fluidly and snake like. The next weekend I was taliking about the moment I had and that I wanted to get more in touch with my femininity and wanted to take belly dancing classes and two of the girls I was talking to invited me to their dance class which was a private class at thier friends house. Kalae was super surprised when I showed up at her house, the first one there and a total stranger.

How long have you been dancing (professionally/teaching)?
 6-7 years

Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
 I grew up in Massasachusetts, Oregan, California, Montana, and Colorado. I live on Oahu now in Kailua.

Where is the most interesting place that belly dance has taken you?
 Tribal Fest in Califonia, LOVE that event

Who were some of your mentors/teachers/inspirations along the way?
Well in belly dance Kalae who is my best friend has been my primary inspriation but I have also been inspired by Kami Liddle and Zoe Jakes whom I also have developed loving relationships with. I think I am most spired by those that I love. 

What valuable advice would you like to pass on to novice dancers?  
Stay motivated and explore new things to stay inovative and inspired 

What is the most unusual experience you have had belly dancing?
 We got hired to dance at a total strangers wedding in a hotel and we were kind of inapropriatly dressed for the event, I was super embarassed and there was some little old ladies that I think were as well, the audience was almost totally unresponsive. It was all around one of our most awkward moments as a troupe.

Do you have any other special talents/skills/occupations besides (or that compliment) your belly dancing? 
 I surf, I'm a nurse, and I give good masages and am a good listener.

What is your favorite or signature style of belly dance that you teach or perform?  Do you have a specialty that people recognize you for?
 I think fusion dance, but I think people recognise me most for my playful stage presence

Do you have any special projects you are working on personally that you would like to share about? 
 My life

Why do you love belly dancing?
 Love the relationships I have with the dancers, I love playing dress up, and I just love dancing

What is your favorite music to dance to?  Why?  Any favorite bands/groups/artists?
 electronic, balkan, hip hop,

Favorite costume elements? 
 Medina Maitreya is my favorite costume designer and I love flowers and feathers

Favorite Colors?

Favorite Quotes (regarding dance or life):
Move it or lose it

Tara's Question for yoU!
If you could have a super power what would it be and why?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Next Dancer I am Painting is...

Tara Bowman!

Tribal fusion dancer for Shakti Dance Movement.
Interview comes at ya tomorrow!
Stay tuned ;)

Monday, October 4, 2010



In that first photo you get to meet the ladder that I got to climb up and down at least 90 times.
The Chinatown Courtyard was transformed into a gypsy souk!
First Friday had the streets PACKED with strollers!
view from across the street
Full house of guests!
Julie Bonk and her Lala B. Koa earrings
Michelle Douglas setting up Meg By Design
Anneliese giving massages

blogger is taking a long time to load photos SO more pics to come later!

Portrait of a Phoenix

Here is the portrait of Natalie who performed at The Nouveau Gypsy Show 
this weekend.
Since she was performing in Chinatown, you can see the origami paper, chinese coins, red & gold to bring Chinatown to mind.  After meeting her, I realized I gave her a bit of a boob job however I think we all agreed that nobody will mind ;)

Here is Natalie with her painting

Here is Natalie dancing with Tara Bowman & Kalae Kaina at The Nouveau Gypsy

My apologies about the camera angle- just give your head a tilt & you'll be able to appreciate the dancing ;)