Utopian Dream – What does dance look like when genres combine?

Regular readers know that I have been involved in the wonderful Utopian Dream dance festival again this year. The 2014 one was spectacular.

I am trying to compile some video footage from the week – here is my first offering – the opening night.

Open workshops were held just before the performance and participants went off in male and female groups to create a piece.

The choreographers piece was created the day before, where we gathered at the Julie Ross Dance School in sweltering conditions and co -created a dance piece based on the music mix and concept of Travers Ross. The dancers are from many genres including belly dance (’cause I was in it!), aboriginal, contemporary, hip hop, ballroom, african fusion, cuban salsa and pole dancing.

featuring choreographers – Travers Ross, Jason Winters (& Stephen), Pendu, Jade, Nadiah Idris, Matt Gode, Patric Kuo, Stephen Tannos, Sassy, Christina Monnoron, Steven Donovan, Kathleen Lugnan, Lukas Enciso, Thomas Egan, Craig Monley & Sriani Argaet. (hopefully I didn’t miss anyone).

Dancers and those who dream of dancing, please come and join us in the next Dream…….

For more info on Utopian Dream go to

Don’t miss this! The best dance festival in the world!

Utopian Dream is BACK!

Dance Festival

…….and Jade Belly Dance is happy to be involved again. Actually even if I hadn’t been invited to teach and perform I would go along (although I  am totally thrilled that I am invited to!). In fact the first year I knew about it, that is exactly what I did. I went to the back of each open level class and did the best I could to keep up with Jazz, Argentinean tango, Samba, Contemporary and whatever was going on because the classes were being run by some of the best choreographers and dancers in the world and it was just too good an opportunity to miss. Since then Travers has also introduced some beginners level classes that are open to anyone that always wanted to dance but just hasn’t given it a go til now. There is also the professional level classes and nights loaded with incredible dance performances in many and varied genres.

Ok so may be I am a tiny bit biased about it being the best dance festival in the world. But it is a fantastic dance festival and definitely one of the most friendly and inclusive dance events I have been too.

The festival is run by Travers Ross, his family and friends. Travers is a Coffs boy that has made good on the dance scene. Among many other achievements he was a former choreographer for the Australian version of So you think you can dance? . What I appreciate most about him though is the incredibly supportive and friendly environment he creates and that he chooses to create it back in his home town giving those in regional Australia a unique opportunity. Yep this is one of the few dance festivals that includes things like Belly dance, Bollywood, Pole and Swing along side the usual suspects of Hip Hop, Contemporary, Tap and Ballet.

I aim to write more about this festival in the coming weeks but suffice to say that now is the time to book your holiday to Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, Australia because this is a not to be missed event.

12 Choreographies in 12 months belly dance challenge

First ever performance of our Bellingen River inspired belly dance piece we quickly put together for the Bellingen River Festival. I’m not much at video editing but I did my best and its a pretty clear HD picture. After waiting nearly 12 hours for the silly thing to upload I realised the bit at the start I thought I had cut out was included – opps! Thank you to Tess my gorgeous friend and student- she has only performed a few times before and does a great job. Thanks to Helen for videoing us even though she had never used the camera before – I handed her the camera just before we went on.

Belly Dancers at 2012 Bellinger River Festival

Final pose

I am uploaded this because I said I would be a part of ’12 choreographies in 12 months dance challenge’ started by Kelly Lorraine Garland on facebook. I had had a similar thought to Kelly about a choreography challenge so when I heard about hers , I thought I would join in. I wanted to try and give myself a reason to finish off those half done choreographies, and to have a deadline to make a few new pieces for myself to perform – not just always doing group pieces for students. If you are inspired by the idea, please join us!

The dance is not perfect but I am very happy with it as an ‘outdoors, silk props, new piece’. Hope you enjoy it.

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