Photo: Mr. Breeze
In the world of Middle Eastern dance, Meada is definitely one of a kind. She has been involved in the Salt Lake dance community for almost 20 years, and in that time, she has managed to not only stay with the same teacher for 17 years, but has danced with the same troupe for 16 years. Meada is dedicated to the dance and loyal to those with whom she performs—admirable qualities to have in an often fickle and changing environment such as belly dancing.
A Salt Lake native, Meada tried jazz for a while, but at age 15, she decided that it wasn’t for her. Her mother, an avid fan of belly dancing, suggested she start taking lessons. Meada signed up for belly dance classes taught by Thia at Evergreen Junior High and she has been with Thia ever since. Meada has also been a member of Wysteria, one of Thia’s performing troupes, since it was created 16 years ago. For the past five years, she has been an instructor at the Egyptian Dance Studio, teaching beginning classes in belly dancing. Meada also has her own dance troupe, Electra.
“Wysteria and Electra are my pride and joy. With Electra, I get to dance with my two sisters. My cousin, Nathan, and his wife also used to be a part of Electra, but they have moved away.” Meada says, “My entire family attends all of our shows. They totally support my dancing—my mother has sewn costumes for us, and my father and grandmother even drummed for one of my performances when I was dancing with Neneptha. At Thia’s Halloween Bash, my family always has the biggest table, because everyone in my family shows up!”
Besides Thia, Meada’s favorite teachers and performers are Suzanna Del Vecchio, Ansuya, Princess Farhana and Nalini. “I really like Ansuya because she has managed to combine cabaret and tribal not only in her dancing, but in her costuming. I love to watch her dance!” Meada says, “Nalini’s Bollywood workshop was amazing, and Princess Farhana was so much fun. But I don’t categorize my dancing or myself. It’s all belly dancing to me!” Meada says, “When people ask me what my style of dance is, I say, ‘What style? I do belly dancing. I am a belly dancer.’ I don’t like putting labels or limits on what I do. That way, I get to do it all!”
Meada says, “Belly dancing in Utah is huge—people in other states don’t realize how big it truly is. But what I love most is the people. I am always meeting new people through dance. And we are all willing to help each other—to join in and be involved. When people are in need, we rise to the occasion. I love that about our community.”
Electra will be performing at Thia’s Halloween Bash on October 16, and Dancing in the Snow, January 15, 2011. Wysteria will be performing at the Shazadi Soiree, November 5. Electra and Wysteria will perform at the Belly Dance Spring Fest, March 5, 2011. For more information, go to: bellydancingbythia.com/events.htm