We know her as the queen of dark fusion bellydance. One of the original members of the groundbreaking troupe The Indigo. And she continues to be a show headliner and sought after instructor all over the world. I first learned about Ariellah after buying a video called Gothic Bellydance after seeing my very first bellydance performance. I had no idea what the different styles were, but after feeling my soul stir to electronica music and tribal costumes, I knew it wasn’t the traditional style I was after. While I was disappointed that the DVD wasn’t all more of that tribal technique, it did show some great stuff by Ariellah and helped me make my way into the world of tribal fusion bellydance.
A bit later, I took a great workshop with her very early in my study (at TribalCon I think) and along with her great technical drills, she gave me something that really changed my whole life, not just dance. That was the recommendation to read Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit. I use this book constantly as a reference and a mind refresher and highly recommend it to anyone in the artistic field.
Here are some more things you probably don’t know about her…including more details about that awesome obsession:
- Ariellah studied classical ballet for 12 years at the Royal Academy of Dance of London.
- She spent 2 years in the Peace Corps in Africa’s Ivory Coast.
- She has Moroccan ancestry, which is what spurred her to start learning dance styles from that area.
- She started studying with Janine Ryle and later, after trying many styles, studios, and instructors, she found a home with Rachel Brice as a founding member of The Indigo in 2003.
- She’s a huge nature buff and loves to hike and garden.
- Her favorite color is forest green, and she has a kitchen that is top to bottom green.
- And…there’s that Mad Max business. She says, “I belong to a group called Deathguild Thunderdome and we have a 23 foot dome and we re-enact the thunderdome fights from Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome. I also have my very own Thunderdome Mad Max car that I help build…and YESSSS, I drive this car to the supermarket! Its wonderful! “
Uhhhhhhh talk about badass to the core!!
Ariellah’s advice to all dancers?
“In your practice and training and performance, I encourage you to elevate your dance and find that balance between technique and artistry and emotion and dance…I encourage you to bring a higher energy to all of your movements and an awareness of your posture and an awareness of your emotions and of your own style of belly dance and how that comes through; bring drama to your dance…bring YOURSELF to your dance…elevate it…and shine ever so brightly…”