In short, I have a wide list of accomplishments, but I am most proud of my drive to make my many passions a sustaining career. With years of hardwork and determination, I currently boast 2 dance troupes – Exotic Rhythms (started 2006) and Mosaic (in 2012), monthly sold-out “Bellydance Bootcamps”, teaching 8 classes per week (5 dance and 3 yoga), being a sought after performer, choreographer, workshop presenter and a successful bellydance show producer and event host. Not to mention, having my own jewelry line and now doing printmaking and painting under my brand, Amorticious.
I am a lifelong artist. Maybe it’s because I was an only child and a latch key kid left to spend hours entertaining myself. I would spend hours drawing whenever I could find the time, not to mention I would frequently get caught up in art projects at school for hours, getting so detailed and never having the time to finish them.
Fast forward to the mid 90’s, I was in college and took several drawing classes, photography classes and design classes. In 1999, I was doing photoshoots and in 2002, I even got to see some of my photos published. But alas, my Pentax K1000 couldn’t keep up with digital, so I scrapped that and continued on with my love of drawing.
In July 2001, I had managed to make enough artwork to have a solo art show at a small gallery in Clayton. It was a lot of hard work but I enjoyed it. There I had drawings and paintings on display. While I continued to draw and work on art projects over the years, I was more focused on my dancing and my day job.
In 2008, I started making my own jewelry out of animal bones. I was inspired by the natural beauty of a magical trip to visit my Aunt and Uncle in New Mexico. I was obsessed with collecting animal remains and curiosities. This is when Amorticious was born.
Over the last several years, my jewelry style continues to evolve and develop and it seems only right that at some point I would come back to my art which was my first love. In early 2015, I was inspired by a dear friend who would make simple paintings. It made me want to get back into my painting. So I did, I just started with some little paintings of skulls and third eyes and gave most of them away as gift to my friends.
In the years 2010 – 2014, I was involved in producing and co-producing many art shows. In 2010, I co-produced Alice at Koken Art Factory with Max Iver. I co produced several shows with the Skeleton Krewe as well. Carnival of Curiosities (2011), Through the Looking Glass (2012), Oz (2013). I also helped orchestrate several of the Koken Halloween Shows and in 2014, I was one of the main people behind Naughti Gras, which is no small undertaking. In 2013, I produced, curated, etc my first art show at Mad Art Gallery called Spirit of the Muse, it was an astounding success with over 300 people attending.
Then a bit later on the same year,I met an individual who would forever change my life. He taught me some basic printmaking (among many other things) and I began cutting my own linoleum blocks and making block prints. I find it to be very therapeutic. He also helped me immensely with my painting and encouraged me to start painting bigger things than the tiny canvases of skulls and third eyes. So I did. Each painting is a process and a step in the evolution of my art. I am currently working on collecting enough works both printmaking and paintings for an upcoming duet show called, Hand of Fate with JT Walls. In the meantime, I am still making jewelry and you can find me vending whenever I can.
Also in 1999, I discovered the joy of bellydancing. From my first class with Serena of Aalim, I was hooked and knew this was going to be a life long journey. I joined Aalim Dance Co. in 2002. Then, in 2006, formed Chuvani Bellydance with some like-minded individuals. I fell in love with tribal fusion in 2006 after seeing a Bellydance Superstars show in St. Louis. My style is ever-changing and always evolving. I have a wide array of dance styling from cabaret to more hip hop flavor to theatrical.
My original dance troupe, ERBD Gang was formed in 2008. I choreographed a skirt dance for my students to perform at a local hafla. I was addicted and it eventually evolved into my own dance troupe. Two of my original members are still with me. I love the creative freedom and outlet that choreography (especially group choreos) and movement give me. It’s making a painting but using music, movement and dancers to create the masterpiece.
Even though I have been teaching bellydance since 2006, I continue my education through workshops in all styles around the country, because I believe I have something to learn from everyone and one never should stop learning. Through thick and thin, I have come back to dance as one of my main forms of creative expression, it is my passion. No matter what is going on in life, dance is always there.
I currently teach 5 bellydance classes per week as well as private lessons, workshops, my sold out monthly “Bellydance Bootcamps”, produce sold out bellydance shows (such as Invocation at the Ivory theater), in addition to performing several times every month. I am available for private lessons, workshops, performances, choreography creation and performance review.
I took my first yoga class in college in 1996, it has become an integral part of my life ever since. I needed a PE credit to graduate, to lose a good 30 pounds and to rebuild my confidence and self-esteem after taking a 3 year hiatus from any kind of physical activity. I found yoga to help accomplish all those needs. Fast forward to almost 14 years later, I had probably a thousand yoga sessions under my belt in all different styles when I finally decided to get my 200 hr RYT.
In 2010, I successfully completed my yoga training from Jaime Sanchez of East West Yoga Healing through Urban Breath in Dogtown. I subbed at UB on and off for the next year when they needed me while I figured out what I wanted to do with my certification. In 2011, I started teaching a weekly yoga class at Lotus Arts on Cherokee. When my dear friend Lauren, left to travel the world in early 2012 the studio was to be shut down.
As luck would have it, in the exact same time period, I would be converting my loft into a dance studio and teaching my weekly classes and workshops out of it. Having to now pay all the bills because my roommate moved out, I began to think about teaching yoga classes here. I looked for a niche to be filled and decided to teach a clothing optional yoga class. It was a success and people seemed to really enjoy the freedom of not having to wear clothes during yoga. Not only that it was very therapeutic in that there is no judgement of each other’s bodies, nor is it in anyway sexual. I believe yoga and bellydance are both the union of spirit, mind and body and incorporates a love yourself and listen to your body approach to all her classes
I continue to teach two of those classes every week in addition to teaching private yoga lessons, as well as taking yoga classes weekly at other studios.