About Us: Bellydance and Zumba Instructors
Inspire Bellydance was established in 2009 with the aim of sharing the joy and empowerment of dance. The school's guiding motto is "to inspire through dance", aiming to promote a welcoming, nurturing and non-judgmental atmosphere and encourage personal growth through dance. In 2010, Zumba Fitness was added to the classes on offer, as well as more advanced levels of bellydance.
Meet our teaching team
Our Belly Dancing and Zumba Fitness teachers are women whose lives have been changed for the better by dance, making them passionate about sharing the joy of dance with you.
Our current team consists of Rachel, Laura, Andrea M and Andrea (Andy) A; with Sophie Alize, Angelina, Magda, Johara andalso helping out from time to time. All are dedicated to constantly improving their own dancing, while embracing the open and encouraging philosophy of Inspire Bellydance. Our goal is to help you discover the joy of dancing!
Rachel Bond began her Bellydance journey in 1995. Captivated by the music and movement, she went on to study with many local teachers and international masters, and has received several awards. Today, Rachel continues to train at an advanced level, including travelling to Egypt regularly to learn from the world's top dancers; as well as performing at restaurants and function centres throughout Sydney. She loves sharing her joy of dance with both students and audiences.
Watch Rachel's award-winning performance here!
Prior to starting her own school, Rachel taught Bellydance courses at the University of NSW for several years, at Amera's Palace and with Egyptian dance troupe Farrah, as well as at public and private high schools. She has been invited to present specialised workshops, including at the prestigious Sydney Middle Eastern Dance Festival, and is a frequent guest teacher at numerous Sydney belly dance schools. Her classes are a fun experience at hens' parties and children's birthdays.
As a teacher, Rachel is encouraging, approachable and articulate, as well as technically precise. Her friendly nature creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere where students are inspired to learn and grow. She uses her wealth of experience in a variety of techniques to make dancing accessible and develop understanding, confidence and creativity. Rachel's training in psychology and improvisational theatre contribute to her interactive approach to teaching, combining clear structure with the flexibility to adapt to individual students' needs.
She believes that dance is for everyone, regardless of age and background, and is a signatory to the Bellydance At Any Size Manifesto. "Everyone has a right to move their bodies in a safe and comfortable environment regardless of their age, weight, shape, ability or activity-level. Belly dance activity should not be an exception."
Rachel holds a Group Exercise Leader certificate from the Australian Institute of Fitness. She is an accredited Zumba® instructor and member of the Zumba Instructor Network, with qualifications in Zumba® Basics 1, Zumba Toning, Zumba Gold, Aqua Zumba, Zumba Sentao, Zumba Kids and Zumba Kids Jnr. Check out Rachel's official profile at http://67021.zumba.com/.
With over 12 years of professional performance experience, Rachel is well known and respected in Australia's Bellydance community. She is recognised as a polished, dynamic dancer with a diverse repertoire and a passion for engaging her audience. Performances are available for parties and events; view Rachel's performance website here or check out her YouTube videos.
The 2006 Amera's Palace Award was given to Rachel in appreciation of the consistently positive feedback given by customers, who commented on her performance skill, professional manner, polished appearance and quality Egyptian costumes, happy and bubbly personality, and ability to make every party a success. The award also acknowledged Rachel's commitment to the dance and respect for the culture, and her efforts in continually developing her dance skill. More recently, she won the People's Choice Award at the Bellydance Star Awards.
Rachel began her performance career by entering the 2003 Australian Bellydance Competition, where she was the winner of third prize in the solo category, as well as a member of a prize-winning trio. Since then, she has performed at numerous Lebanese, Turkish, Persian and other venues throughout Sydney, as well as at concerts, functions and festivals. She has appeared on Mornings on Channel Nine, as well as on local Turkish and Lebanese television. For several years she was an integral member of two respected dance troupes, Hathor Dance Theatre and Farrah: The Egyptian Dance Artists. She continues to perform regularly both solo and with other dancers.
Egyptian style dance is closest to Rachel's heart: from the folklore of the villages, to slick stage shows. She has traveled in both Egypt and Turkey, and taken lessons with master teachers including Raqia Hassan, Mahmoud Reda, Aida Nour and Nagwa Sultan. She encourages her students to follow suit, and take every opportunity to attend workshops and classes with other teachers. She believes firmly in the importance of understanding the history and culture of the dance, so has spent many years learning folklore and continues to add to her knowledge while sharing it with students.
Aside from Middle Eastern Dance, Rachel has been an avid student and occasional performer of Argentine Tango, and former President of Sydney's community tango association, Tango Synergy. She has a PhD in Psychology from the University of New South Wales along with Bachelor degrees in both Science and Arts, and loves travelling and learning languages.
Introducing our warm-hearted, dedicated and talented ladies who love Oriental Dance. All of themare experienced and popular professional performers as well! They are now teaching Bellydance Fundamentals and Beyond Beginners classes at Roselands, and Ashfield.
A fun-loving, warm-hearted woman, Laura has been dancing since she was four, first in classical ballet, tap and then contemporary dance. But once she encountered bellydance, she never looked back! She continues to learn with both Daria and Paivi as well as visiting international teachers, focussing on cabaret style bellydance but also learning folkloric and gypsy styles. In her own words:
"What I love about this dance is just that it feels good! Physically and emotionally. It helped and helps me develop and express self-confidence and creativity, and I can also see that in others when I teach. My aim is to share the joy of the dance with others; no matter their age, shape or background."
Laura is an experienced solo performer, who has been featured at many of Sydney's best-known Middle Eastern restaurants as well as private functions. She's also a member of a professional duet (Desert Dreams), student troupe (The Desert Gypsies with Daria) and Egyptian Folkloric troupe Farrah. She performed alongside fellow Farrah members in Farrah's big 2013 show Letters from Egypt, with a starring role as one of the three sisters. She now teaches Fundamentals and Beyond Beginners classes at our Roselands studio.
Andrea is best known as Director of Melbourne’s iconic bellydance dance company, Underbelly Dance since 2001. Having recently moved back to her hometown of Sydney, Andrea brings with her a culmination of 16 years spent in Melbourne, performing, teaching and producing events that enriched the Victorian dance community.
Drawing on her Mediterranean heritage, Andrea is a popular performer with a joyous, natural, yet polished dance style. She has trained and performed across the globe, from the USA & Canada, to England & Ireland, to Egypt & Turkey and she has performed in major international arts festivals across Australia.
Since 2016, Andrea has been teaching at our Ashfield studio. We are thrilled that she has chosen to join Inspire Bellydance, to share her many years of experience.
"The two wonderful terms I completed at Ashfield gave me incredible confidence and I will still pursue it once I return home. I hope you can pass on my sentiments to Andrea at Ashfield. She is nothing short of a brilliant teacher and is great with students. Every single class I had with her never failed to make me smile and laugh and she was immensely passionate about what she taught which showed in her teaching." - Ash
I met Mexican-born Andrea A (aka Andy) early in 2016, when we both participated in the international dance theatre project "Journey along the Silk Road". I was struck by her graceful dancing, her humility, and her desire to keep learning, and I knew I wanted to work with her more!
Andy confesses to having been a big Shakira fan, which inspired her to try belly dancing in her home country of Mexico. Now living in Sydney, she has already become a popular performer at restaurants and events throughout the city. Despite this success, she is dedicated to continuing to grow as a dancer: "Watching all the beautiful international dancers inspires me to continue and makes me want to learn more. Every single one of them has something, like a personal seal, and I'm looking for mine."
Her dance philosophy is very much aligned with the values of Inspire Bellydance. Andy says that she enjoys being able to express herself through dance; and in particular, the amazing feeling of being able to transmit happiness to an audience. As a teacher, she loves giving students the opportunity to forget their worries while learning something that's good for their bodies and minds. She is now teaching at our Sydney CBD studio.
Sophie Alize is one of Sydney's most popular bellydancers, who performs in restaurants and functions everywhere. She is skilled and experienced, and just glows with love and joy when she dances. Her beaming smile is infectious!
Sophie also has a strong belief in the power of bellydance to help women love themselves and their bodies. Her classes are fun and energetic, sure to keep you warm over the coming Autumn months. Those who came to our last class of the term got to meet her, and even in that brief time I'm sure you got a sense of how fantastic she'll be to dance with. She taught in Term 2 of 2016 at our UNSW studio and now returns as guest teacher at Ashfield.
"I loved having Sophie as my teacher last year. She is a vibrant and vivacious person, who not only supports your learning but builds a warm, fun atmosphere in class. Her personal dance style is contagiously energetic and her enthusiasm made me look forward to every lesson!" - Siobhan
An exotic and passionate dancer, Johara's style draws from her diverse knowledge of Folkloric genres to Classical and Modern Egyptian cabaret. She integrates fluid footwork, graceful turns and spins with dynamic Egyptian hip and belly movements... in a fun, informative class setting that can accommodate any level of dancer.
Always in search of new knowledge to better her performance and teaching, she keeps up to date with the latest trends in Egypt, travelling regularly to Cairo to immerse herself in Arabic culture. In Egypt Johara has enjoyed intensive workshops with such Master Teachers as Raqia Hassan, Aida Nour and Mahmoud Reda. She is a also a regular student of Yasmina of Cairo, Caroline Evanoff, Outi, Sahra Saeeda and other experts. She has studied Oriental Bellydance, folkloric dance and also explored tribal and fusion styles.
Johara is an occasional guest teacher with Inspire Bellydance as well as Amera's Palace. Students enjoy her detailed knowledge, technical skill and precision, as well as her deep understanding of body mechanics.
A busy professional bellydancer on the Sydney restaurant circuit, Angelina has a warm and caring personality and a firm belief in the value of bellydance as a tool to empower women. She comes to us with many years of experience as a group fitness instructor and has recently completed a degree in primary education. Angela's focus within bellydance has been on modern cabaret style performance. She studied extensively with Georgette, who for years was one of Sydney's most popular performers. Other teachers have included Cynthia and Modi, with whom she continues to train regularly.
Angelina was the guest teacher at at our Ashfield studio in first term this year. She will continue to be a part-time member of the team while she completes her degree as well as further Bellydance teacher training. At Ashfield she has loved getting to know the students, as well as bringing together her "day job" (school teaching) with her passion for dance.
Felicia has danced most of her life: 15 years of ballet, jazz, modern ballet, tap, 2 years of Bollywood and a bit of flamenco thrown in for good measure. She feels privileged to have learnt young, but urges students that it’s never too late to start!
In 2009 she met Rachel and tried Bellydance for something different. The friendly people and sense of community are part of the reason she’s found it so fulfilling; and the gorgeous costumes of course! She loves that there is always more to learn, more to work on, and so many ways to approach the moves; and so many unique styles of music and movement. The buzz of performing is a big draw card for her, and her favourite style is Saidi with its grounded, deep drum beats and movements: “it gets under your skin!”
As well as becoming a prominent performer within Inspire Bellydance, Felicia has developed her dancing through Farrah: The Egyptian Dance Artists. She admires the teacher, Paivi, as not only a beautiful dancer and performer, but also as one so in tune with the way our bodies feel the movements. “Paivi captures that and explains how we can use it to work on our technique and in doing so, we become more wholesome and happy dancers. She is also very welcoming and exudes a confidence in all around her.”
Felicia shares that nurturing and friendly approach, aiming to be aware of people's feelings and make all her students feel comfortable and welcome in class. She enjoys sharing her experiences and passing on the much appreciated knowledge that her teachers have given her.
Michelle is an experienced and accomplished dancer in several styles of bellydance, both as a soloist and troupe member. She was a key member of fusion trio The Body Serpentine as well as dancing in restaurants and at functions. Her warm and caring nature that made her an instant hit with students at our Burwood studio in 2015. She says:
"Ever since I can remember dancing has been a source of joy and creative expression. Whether I was 5 years old dancing around my room to Janet Jackson or as an adult performing to a large audience, I experienced the same level of elation. To me dancing is a way to express myself through movement and mpowers me in a world where at times I feel powerless. By being completely in control of my body’s ability to move and express I feel truly connected. Over the years I have trained in many different forms of dance including Bellydance from the traditional through to the alternative fusion style. In my very early years I trained in jazz and tap, and throughout my adult years I have also trained in hip hop and salsa. Bottom line is I love to dance and I adore sharing my passion with people around me."
Michelle's other passion is baking delicious but healthy treats: if you're lucky enough to try any, you'll be in love instantly!
Jessica’s journey with Middle Eastern dance began in March 2008. Intending it as a "trial of something different to do after work", she enrolled in a six-week beginner course and rapidly became enthralled by this timeless art form. Having found a means of self empowerment and creative expression through the dance, Jessica was drawn by the heartfelt music, the celebration of the feminine, and the sense of sisterhood amongst dancers. Jessica's technical skill and graceful, grounded style are now making her a popular soloist at restaurants and functions around Sydney.
Jessica continues to learn and perform with several schools, in the firm belief that a diversity of teachers is important in refining and developing her own style - an attitude she encourages in her fellow dancers as well as her students. She also has a keen interest in yoga and pilates.She has attained her Teacher Certification in Shemiran Ibrahim’s "Belly Dancing from the Heart Method" which adds to her warm and friendly nature to make her a popular and effective teacher for bellydancers of all levels. Jessica taught regularly with Inspire Bellydance until 2014, and continues to be an occasional guest teacher.
Natalie was our guest teacher at Epping during part of 2015.
She has been dancing for 10 years and trained with some of the top Tribal Style Bellydance teachers. I met Natalie last year when we were both winners of a casting competition for the Bellydance Evolution show - a big international production, where we had the chance to train and perform alongside some of the world’s best dancers. Since then, she’s also been a member of Oreades tribal bellydance troupe at Amera’s Palace, so those of you who’ve come to our Haflas may well have seen her perform and marvelled at her precise technique. If you missed it, check out one of their performances here.
Natalie says “I love Bellydance because the movement and the music can't help but uplift your spirit. I find that it attracts the loveliest people and no matter where you go (in Australia or around the globe) if you are with belly dancers you will have a great time. It's also a great excuse to dress up in beautiful costumes and wear amazing jewellery!”
Originally from Melbourne, Beatrice learned bellydance with the renowned Hip to Hip and Underbelly studios for several years before moving to Sydney.
Since joining us at Inspire Bellydance in 2012, Beatrice has continued to develop her skills and knowledge through regular classes and workshops. She takes every opportunity to perform, both as a core member of our performance group as well as doing a number of solo performances, including for film and theatre. Meanwhile, she is studying for a PhD in Psychology at Macquarie University and is experienced at teaching and tutoring students there.
Beatrice was on our teaching team during 2014 before returning to Melbourne to complete her doctorate in psychology.
Julz is an established and respected belly dancer within the Arabic, Turkish and Indian community, and is currently the resident dancer at many of Sydney’s top Arabic restaurants. She has been studying, performing and teaching Middle Eastern Dance for the past 12 years. Her elegant and sensual belly dance style ranges from Classic Egyptian, Turkish, to Cabaret, Greek fusion and Bollywood fusion. She has a wealth of knowledge, having undertaken extensive training locally and internationally with numerous master teachers.
From a young age Julz showed a passion for dance, through classical ballet, jazz, tap and contemporary, however it wasn’t until she discovered belly dancing at the young age of 13 that her true passion for dance took flight. She is a member of Farrah: the Egyptian Dance Artists, an association dedicated to presenting a range of traditional and modern Egyptian Dance forms.
Her teaching style places emphasis on the enjoyment of dancing, raising individuals' self esteem and building confidence, whilst adding a new zest for life.
Kayla is a former figure skater who was attracted to bellydance in 2007 because it is a gentle form of exercise that doesn’t put excess strain on joints. She loves learning new moves and styles – a favourite being the power and strength of sword – and the challenge of creating personas to portray on stage.
She is passionate about showing people that no matter who you are, you can bellydance regardless of age, size, shape or anything! Kayla aims to encourage others who do not dare to try. Nothing thrills her more than seeing her students tackle and embrace new moves and conquer challenges: “You can see how happy they are when a move that has eluded them finally falls into place.” Her off-the-wall, quirky sense of humour comes through in her teaching and performance.
Kayla has studied with Rachel at Inspire Bellydance and Paivi Mielikainen from Farrah (as a performing member of the troupe), as well as workshops with other teachers. She is also training with Ma'isah of Melbourne in the Elysium dark fusion format, which she hopes to introduce into her Sydney classes once certified.
Kayla says “Bellydancing has drawn me out of my shell and for once in my life, I am proud of what I have accomplished and who I have become over the last 5 years.”
She taught in our Eastwood / Epping studio, and is now focussing on learning and perforning in tribal fusion styles.
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