Vonika has been a member of both Brisbane’s Opalesque troupe and Melbourne’s Underbelly collective, and is now based in Sydney. Her training and experience extends beyond Tribal and Tribal Fusion bellydancing into bodymind modalities such as yoga, tantra and ritual dance, which she draws on to create her workshops on “Dancing the Chakras” and “The Body Sacred”
Be patient with this clip – the view is obscured by the audience at first, but it improves later!
This next clip is from Vonika’s Opalesque days, dancing with Shanne:
Interview with Tribal Belly Dancer Vonika
How did you get started with belly dancing?
I was always interested non-western music and dance. When I came across bellydancing it was an aha moment. I started with a course at a local high school with Sharon (Shahara) from the Academy of Middle eastern dance in Brisbane in 1993. And never looked back.
What is your favourite belly dancing style and/or prop?
I would have to say sword, though as they are considered to be both a weapon and a sacred ceremonial tool in all cultures it is used I don’t consider it to be a mere prop.
Stylistically I am continuously captured and inspired by amazing dancers of all genres within and outside of the bellydance world. Hooray for you tube I say!
Who or what has had the greatest influence on your belly dance style?
The entire genre of tribal fusion. A lot of us were dancing 15 years ago, doing more stylistically experimental choreographies to all sorts of fusion music, in little underground nightclubs, gothic events etc, but there was no name for it back then. I find it more technically challenging and gives me more scope to indulge my creative tangents as it is much more broad than traditional bellydance forms.
What advice would you offer an aspiring belly dancer?
Just go for it! Be kind and patient with the self, it is not as easy as it looks, and don’t be afraid to shop around for the right teacher, or change teachers every couple of years.