We have many belly dancers from all over the world here but I wonder, is Aya the only French belly dancer in Australia? Aya danced in France, India, Morocco, Algeria and Vietnam before reaching our shores, and now teaches and performs in Melbourne.
She is also passionate about pre- and post-natal care and runs a special course for Mums, Bumps'nBubs Dance.
For information on other classes and performance, visit her main website.
Here are some of Aya's students in performance:
Interview with belly dancer Aya
How did you get started with belly dancing?
About 12 years ago, when I was studying Engineering, I was lacking something in my life and made big plans about trying out a lot of world dance styles as I had stopped dancing for a while and missed it. My first class was Bellydance: it was love at first sight and I haven't stopped since. I later realized I needed to connect more with my femininity at that time and Bellydance gave me this opportunity. Little did I know how big it would become in my life!
What is your favourite belly dancing style and/or prop?
My heart is deeply touched by Egyptian music and I have studied mainly with Egyptian style dancers. I particularly enjoy watching the more modern Cairo style.
Silk veils are my favourite prop: I love their fluidity, freedom of movement and just how they feel!
Who or what has had the greatest influence on your belly dance style?
I'll always be thankful for having studied with Randa Kamel form Egypt, Lulu Sabongi from Brazil and Gamal Seif from Egypt/Germany. As well as amazingly technical and expressive dancers, they are also very competent and caring teachers and deeply influenced my own dancing and teaching style. I wish they would come to Australia!
During my last years in Paris, I also had the chance to co-found the professional troupe Compagnie Es'Saada. We trained hard together and mutually influenced and inspired each other.
What advice would you offer an aspiring belly dancer?
Whatever your level, keep on learning! From technique to culture, there is so much to learn and the dance is always evolving.
I also think having more than one teacher is very important in finding your style and keeping an open mind.