Despina’s “Dreaming of Jeannie Bellydancing Academy” was one of the biggest belly dance schools in Sydney and produced some of our top dancers.
In 2005 (much to the frustration of Sydneysiders!) she took time out from regular belly dance teaching to expand her dance repertoire, add to her fitness qualifications, and write. I’m pleased to report that she’s now back teaching! As well as her regular classes in Pagewood, she gives private lessons at her home studio in Brighton-Le-Sands.
Interview with Sydney bellydancer Despina
1. What is your favourite belly dancing style and/or prop?
My favourite type of music to dance to is traditional Arabic music. I can’t say I have one favourite style, but I love the subtlety and elegance of the Egyptian style, and the precision and theatricality of the American dancers. My favourite item to use while performing is zills. But as it’s an instrument rather than a prop, I’ll name stick as my favourite prop to use while dancing.
2. What advice would you give an aspiring belly dancer?
To aspiring performers, I’d advise them like this: as far as integrity goes: stay honest, maintain your self-respect, show gratitude to your teachers, mentors and those who helped you launch your career. Regarding the dancing itself: practice lots, keep learning, remember that your job is to make something that’s audible (i.e. the music) visible.
3. Your other passion besides bellydancing is animal welfare. Why is it so dear to your heart?
Animal welfare and animal rights are dear to my heart simply because I love animals. I feel that our cousins in fur, feathers and fins deserve to be treated with as much respect as fellow human beings. Sadly, this is not the reality of the world. I therefore strive to speak for the voiceless Earthlings that share the planet with us so that one day ALL beings can live happy and free.
And I am my brother’s keeper
And I will fight his fight,
And speak the word for beast and bird,
Till the world shall set things right.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox (author, poet).