About Sam

Hello there!

I’m excited to have you here, learning more about this beautiful dance art. I’ve been bellydancing for 18 years and I love it for its elegance, sensuality and creativity.

I teach and perform bellydance in Albury/Wodonga and Indigo Shire. I look forward to sharing my passion with you either in one of my classes or at your next event.

Smiles and shimmies
Sam

My background

I’ve been dancing since I was 3. I started with ballet and moved through jazz, contemporary, rock’n’roll, ballroom and Latin. While I enjoyed all of them, having a curvaceous body in the conventional dance world wasn’t easy. Keen to find my dance ‘home’, I started to explore more unusual dance arts including medieval, regency and a little bit of Bollywood. I’ve also dabbled in line dancing, burlesque and pole dancing.

I took my first bellydance class when I was 19 when my aunty, who was teaching bellydance at the time, convinced me to join her class. It was love at first shimmy and I was hooked on everything about it – the moves, the music, the costumes, the culture and the community.

I joined local bellydance network NEMEDA in 2003, a year after my first class. My motto ‘All ages, all sizes, all beautiful’ was developed by NEMEDA dancer Yvonne. It’s the perfect description of how diverse and inclusive I’ve found this gorgeous dance art to be.

Performer

Since my debut with NEMEDA in 2003, I’ve performed at dozens of community events across the region and helped promote bellydance as a fun activity suitable for everyone.

I performed my first solo on a cruise boat on the Nile in 2009. Dancing in Egypt ignited my passion for performances where I can get close to the audience to share the emotion and intricacies of the music through my dancing. Since then, I’ve been performing as a soloist in restaurants and at parties and weddings. I also direct a performance troupe ‘Shimmified’ for corporate and stage events.

Teacher

I opened Border Bellydance, Albury/Wodonga’s only bellydance school, in 2012. During the five years I ran the school I taught more than 200 women across the region to bellydance! My students joined NEMEDA to perform at community events, and some even went through a professional development program to perform in restaurants. I closed the school in 2016 to move to Melbourne, where I taught at Happy Hips Bellydance and furthered my own study at Bellydance Kizmet and Navel Gazers Belly Dance.

I started teaching nationally in 2012 and have delivered lectures and workshops at bellydance events such as the WAMED (Perth) and OMEDA (Melbourne) festivals. I also teach and perform at local events like Everybody Dance Now (Wodonga) and Motion Dance Festival (Wodonga).

I returned to Albury/Wodonga in 2018 and now teach at ConfiDANCE Academy. I’m very proud to be connected to a studio where the focus is on building confidence through dance.

Study

Since 2002, I’ve studied extensively with Australian and international artists both online and in person at workshops and private classes. I have been most influenced by the following teachers:

Having completed the inaugural Balanced Bellydance program in 2016, I am more deeply connected with my dance than ever before. I completed my Somatics for Bellydance certificate in 2018 and am enjoying the new energy it brings to my classes as I apply my deeper understanding of movement and musicality.

I’m currently working towards completing my Belly Dancing from the Heart teacher training program. It not only provides a practical technical structure but also explores and nurtures the emotional aspects of learning this dance.

Networks

I am currently the very, very, VERY proud president of NEMEDA Inc Bellydance. NEMEDA has operated in Albury/Wodonga since the late 90s and I joined in 2003. Our mission, to connect bellydancers across Albury/Wodonga and North East Victoria, is flourishing as we undergo a refresh to celebrate our 20 year anniversary! We are developing more classes and more events so we can share our love of bellydance more often and more widely.

I’m also a member of OMEDA Inc, a not-for-profit group for professional and amateur dancers, musicians, students and anyone with an interest in the music and dance of the Middle East.

I’m part of the Balanced Bellydance network, lead by the program founders Shemiran Ibrahim & Keti Sharif. Having done the inaugural program in 2016, I am now helping spread the joy and passion of this program through my classes with the approval of Keti & Shemi themselves.

I write for Bellydance Oasis, Australia’s only magazine dedicated to the art of Middle Eastern dance. I’m a regular contributor and concentrate on the emotional aspects of the bellydancing journey.

Interests

As well as bellydancing, I also like to sing Celtic music, cook desserts and scrapbook my travels. My husband and I live in Indigo Shire in a stone and mudbrick cottage with a beautiful, but neglected, garden which we’re currently restoring to its former glory. We’re keenly pursuing a sustainable lifestyle and also practice minimalism (except in relation to our cats – we have five!).

Thank you for all your support and encouragement. Your enthusiasm and passion are infectious.Bec, Albury