When I started writing this article, my intention was and still is, to introduce the public to this community’s belly dancers. The Wasatch Front is home to some of the most talented dancers in America, and we have extremely good teachers, too. I love that I get to meet with a dancer, one on one, and get to know their story and their background. This belly dance community also has many kind-hearted, hard-working, generous people in it. So, I like giving a new dancer on the scene a little hand up. My dancer for May is an up and coming performer and soloist, Annie. Annie is a native Utahn, which is rare these days. Her dance background consists of a little jazz and some swing dancing. When she saw her first belly dance show at Liberty Park, she instantly knew it was what she wanted to do.
“It is such a flirty, sensual dance,” she explains, “I thought it would feel very liberating to move like that.”
Annie began her training with Aziz, seven years ago, and then studied with Raffa and Stephanie. She is a member of Raffa’s performing group, and one of the originators of the dance troupe, Blue Lotus. Her favorite dancers are Aziz (also her favorite teacher); Fat Chance, (“Their dancing is transcendent,” she says.), and Stephanie, who, she explains, has truly helped her achieve the technical and performing level she has attained at this time, and epitomizes the classic Egyptian Cabaret dancer.
“I feel that the same things that make you a good dancer are also those things that help you in life. In dance and life one needs balance, strength, endurance, focus, flexibility, and, of course, love. These attributes can make you a wonderful dancer and person.”
“I can always tell which dancers really love what they are doing. You can’t miss it. It just comes out for everyone to see, and it will make you or break you. You can’t hide who you really are when you are dancing. It just comes out.”
This winter, at the Aziz School of Danse Showcase, Annie performed her first solo. She was totally charming, technically perfect, and when the back of her top came undone, she continued to dance to the end without one faltering step or loss of connection to the audience. It was amazing. Many people in the audience didn’t even realize that she was having a “costume malfunction.” Annie, baptized by fire, was an instant professional.
Annie has an innocent sweetness when she dances, and, at the same time, a sensuality that is very alluring. She is flirty and sexy without being overt or contrived. Deep from within, Annie projects the truth of her being—sweet, flirty, and naturally sensual. I, personally, want to see her doing more solo work, and I am definitely looking forward to watching Blue Lotus, recently named “Best Shake What Your Mama Gave You” in the “Best of,” edition of The SL City Weekly.