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Photography by Iden Ford

KALEENA LAWLESS

Belly dance has given me the confidence to push my own boundaries and explore life to the fullest. My dance journey took off in Toronto, after receiving classes from my Mother as a birthday gift. I noticed immediately that it was changing my mind, body, heart, and spirit.  I have now been belly dancing for nearly 9 years and it has completely transformed my life!

I went from being a supportive and active member of the dance and arts communities to being a professional performer, and I assisted with hosting events, teaching, and troupes at Om Laila Studio. I have now danced hundreds of times in nightclubs, restaurants, theatre, festivals, with live bands, and at events such as Taste of Danforth, for JUNO Nominated Nomadica’s CD launch party at Lula Lounge, and with Sirens of Shanti for Desi Fest at Dundas Square. In addition to many appearances in numerous community belly dance and variety shows.

EDUCATION and TEACHING 

I studied the Arabic Arts including rhythm and dance, song, drum, theatre, and artistic development at Om Laila Studio with Roula Said. Including the Musical Dancer Choir (dance, singing Arabic songs and playing percussion). I also studied extensively under Nada El Masriya and Abigail (Raqs Sharqi, Reda Style, Egyptian Folklore at The Egyptian Dance Academy as an unlimited student and was in both the EAST troupe and folkloric troupe), and Habeeba (Classic Egyptian).

I have studied with many world-renowned Master Instructors in workshops including: the Reda Troupe (Mahmoud Reda, Nisrin Bahaa) Hossam and Serena Ramzy, Raqia Hassan, Aida Nour, Khaled Mahmoud, Luna of Cairo, Karim Nagi, Nath Keo, and George Sawa, in addition to a number of other teachers.

I teach ground up instruction for dance technique, finger cymbals (zills, sagat), cane (assaya), veil, folklore, and Middle Eastern rhythms and music. I’m also a hobby drummer (darbuka, doumbek, tabla). I took regular classes with Naghmeh Farahmand, Roula Said, and studied with Raquy

I also draw inspiration from additional training in holistic, spiritual, and somatic practices and modalities (Seven Waves, whirling and Zaar with Roula Said, Whirling with Paul Rockman, Zaar with Serena Oakley at Her Sacred Body, and  Somatics for Belly Dancers (online) with Keti Sharif. 

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Photography by Iden Ford

THEATRE

I was the Director of Marketing and Communications for Evolution Dance Theatre and danced with the company. At Evolution I worked with an international cast and gained theatre and production experience.

In June 2016 I was a collaborator and dancer with Suzanne Banay Santo and Roula Said in Combing Sedna’s Hair, a modern interpretation and retelling of Inuit mythology using storytelling, music, dance and theatre to tell the tale of the underwater sea goddess, Sedna.

I have also performed a number of theatrical presentations as a soloist or as part of collaboration with other artists. Some examples exclude: Dave Wilson’s Parahumans 16-Piece Orchestra under Danielle Davies and Monika Field, theatrical whirling (solo and self-choreographed) at Dragonfly Belly Dance and The Healing Market, Zaar Skit with Roula Said, and more.

AWARDS

I competed twice in competitions, winning 1st runner up in the troupe division (Star Bellydancer 2014 as a member of the Egyptian Dance Academy Folklore Troupe performing Saidi under the direction of Abigail).

RECENT WORK

Since I moved to  New Brunswick in 2016 I have performed a number of times in Saint John, Miramichi and Moncton for both private and public events including parties, social groups, retirement homes, and multicultural festivals. In May 2018 my intermediate dance class teamed up with Barb Aubie and dancers from Studio Sephira  to take part in a choreographed flash mob style belly dance routine, to raise funds for Crossroads for Women. I have also volunteered classes at Coverdale Centre for Women in Saint John.

My goal is to make you an amazing dancer, whether you never want to leave the beginner class, or have high ambitions! I see my success as a teacher in how well YOU can dance! 

My diverse experience supports students of all levels, and provides current and essential knowledge and what makes the dance an art in its own right, while evoking your inner artist! 

I teach classes at The Social Enterprise Hub at 139 Prince Edward Street on Tuesday and Thursday evening at 6pm.

I’m available to entertain at weddings, bachelorettes, bridal showers, birthday parties, and celebratory events where performing and/or teaching creates a fun and memorable experience. You can read more about that HERE. 

 

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