Talented. Beautiful. Dynamic. Joyous. Adjectives that can all describe Leyla. But the word that fits her the most is balanced. In my brief time with her, and watching her dance, I am aware of watching a woman who knows who she is and is comfortable within herself. This balance is definitely revealed when she dances, and it is lovely, and wonderful to see. Although Leyla is, indeed, very talented, beautiful, and almost bewitching when performing, it is her wholeness and her apparent happiness that reaches out to her audience and invites us to love her. She brings such positive energy and joy to her performances. Leyla may mean “night” in Arabic, but on stage, Leyla becomes a vision of light.
“I was a tomboy growing up,” Leyla said. I don’t really have a background in dance. I first saw belly dancing at a Halloween party. A dancer came in a full cabaret costume. She put on her music, started mvoing, and I was totally mesmerized. I just knew I wanted to wear all those sparkles and dance like that.”
“I started belly dancing in 2004, first taking lessons from Sidney of Veiled Intrigue,” Leyla continued. “and then I studied with Jamileh of Midnight Mirage. Jamileh invited me to join Troupe Amara, of which I am still a member, but I am presently taking some time out. I was also asked to join Perizada, a professional performing dance company, and I am still a member.”
“Perizada, which means “of the fairies,” is a collaborative effort, “said Leyla, “with each member having input to choreography, style, and costumes. All of us love fairies and each member wears an Amy Brown fairy pendant.”
When asked about her favorite style of Middle Eastern dance, Leyla said she loves them all. “I consider myself more of a fusion style dancer. I just take all the belly dance elements and fuse them together. When I dance at restaurants, it is always fusion with cabaret. I love dancing at restaurants and improvisation. I love interacting with my audience.”
Somewhat of a fairy-girl herself, this beautiful dancer is a construction manager during the day, with hardhat, orange vest and all! Leyla and her husband are also part of a gypsy band called, Yom-al-had, which means Sunday in Arabic, and they have three hairless Chinese crested dogs that they adore.
“Yom-al-had meets every Sunday and jams,” Leyla explained. “We have a violinist, a cellist, guitarists, a variety of drums, and five dancers. We have performed at the Renaissance Fantasy Festival in Ogden and at some folk festivals.”
“Someday,” Leyla laughed, “I want to do a belly dance in my hard hat, boots, and orange vest. I think it would be so funny! Maybe at Thia’s Giggles contest.”
Leyla will be competing with Perizada at Wiggles of the West this summer in Las Vegas. Leyla also performs once a month at Cedars of Lebanon in Salt Lake City, and at the Athenian in Ogden. For more information, check out: www.myspace.com/leyla_lelacheur.