Monique and I are especially excited about this event as we're flying international performer Colleena Shakti in from India for three workshops and the show. I have been a big fan of Colleena's ever since I heard of her from her Odissi Guru, Padma Cherun Dehury in India. In 2005, I studied Odissi with Padma for 6 weeks in Orissa, and when he heard I bellydanced, he showed me Colleena's business card. I was instantly enamored with this western woman who had been intensely studying Odissi and Rajasthani dance since 2001.
When I learned that Colleena lives for most of the year with the Khalbelia 'Gypsies" in Rajasthan, my respect only grew. Being accepted into this group was no easy feat, and Colleena had managed to become "one of them" through respect, dedication and passion for the dance. "Colleena was the first outsider to go so deeply into the Khalbelia culture to find the origins and symbolism in their dance and lifestyle."
I finally met Colleena in person in Pushkar, Rajasthan where she helped me put on a small show at the Raganath Temple, where she now operates the Shakti School of dance. Since then, Colleena's star has been on the rise around the world, her authentic and graceful presence hypnotizing audiences at Tribal Fest and many more events. In fact, after leaving Halifax, Colleena is teaching two sold-out workshops at the opening of Studio Datura, Tribal Fusion Pioneer Rachel Brice's new studio.
We will be blessed with Colleena's presence at the show, where she will be performing both Odissi, Rajasthani, and Indian-Arabic fusion bellydance. Besides Colleena, we have so many other amazing performers! Both Monique Ryan and I are debuting new-to-Halifax numbers, Rhonda Barrett and Nawal Doucette will be performing their delicious fusion bellydance, the ever-awesome Elinor Crosby is in attendance along with her troupe Uberwench Tribal, and I can personally attest to the fabulousness of Mahari's gorgeous new number! This is one show you don't want to miss. Buy your tickets here or at Pretty Things Boutique in Halifax.