Vanessa Elizabeth

Director, Dancer, Choreographer (2010)
www.vanessa-elizabeth.ca
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Vanessa found belly dance during her studies at Memorial University in 2007. Though actively involved in music and theatre since a young age, nothing compares to the joy, creativity and passion that dance has brought into her life.

Vanessa has studied intensively with Andrea Kitta of the Neighbourhood Strays, joining the troupe officially from 2008-2010. In 2009 she co-founded Wild Lily Dance Centre where she managed studio operations and taught weekly classes until finishing her term as director in 2012. Since co-founding Seraka in 2010, Vanessa has been dancing regularly with Seraka and as a solo artist, and teaching weekly classes through Seraka Studios.

Taking inspirations from her instructors and dancers such as Heather Labonté, Samantha Emanuel, Haza Nadyka and Mira Betz, she builds on her background in music and theatre and strives to push her creative boundaries. She is identified by her stage presence, strong arm and hand movements, and subtle nuances. Outstanding musicality, grace, and strength give her performances a powerful and engaging quality, allowing her to connect with her audience.

Vanessa holds a Basic Black certification in The Dark Side Dance Program from Audra Simmons and The Dark Side Studio (2013), and is certified as an American Tribal Style instructor from Fat Chance Belly Dance (2014 General Skills Modern, General Skills Classic, Teacher Training, Business of ATS). She has completed Rachel Brice’s 8 Elements Phase 1: Initiation with Recognition (2015).

 

Ljósið, solo improvisation (2012)
Dusty Road, choreography (2014)
Get to Know Vanessa
Why Belly Dance?

I enjoy the little nitty gritty details of biomechanics, and belly dance is essentially a dance comprised of just that. All the precise muscular contractions (at least in tribal styles) is satisfying. Combining this movement base with my obscene love for music and found noises allows me to get out what I want to say and put my ideas out there.

Why Seraka Dance Co?

I adore working with these strong, powerful, intelligent, creative women. We have the same mindset and attention to detail – we appreciate quality. We do whatever it takes to make the best things that we can. I love that I can bring new things to the group, however weird they might be, and the girls are really eager to try it out. I think it’s the close friendship that we have that makes sure we look out for each other and our interests, both as individuals and as a group.

Caravanserai or Synthesis?

I really love Synthesis. We designed it to be an opportunity to let each individual dancer, regardless of affiliation, get on the stage and try new things. It’s a great time for dancers to work with other dancers outside of their own troupe or company and experiment with collaborations that they wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to do.

What’s one piece of advice you could give to a new dancer?

Try new things, all the things, everything. Get out there and take dance classes that are not in your style. Expand your vocabulary and your movement base so that you can create more authentically in your own style – there’s a ton of inspiration to be found in finding new ways to move, stand, and listen.

What’s your favourite choreography?

Of Seraka’s, Too Hot To Sleep – it’s slinky, it’s sharp, it’s fun to dance. Of anyone ever, Due Tramonti by Audra Simmons & Heather Labonté – it kills me every time, I can’t look away.

Of any style, genre or time period who would you love to work with?

Yanis Marshall. His choreography is so intricate and somehow he’s not repeating everything. He is crazy-fun to watch and I’d love to have his input on how to zazz up my work.

Describe yourself in 3 words?

Meticulous. Introspective. Musical.

What’s your favourite decade?

I really love the style of the 20s, 30s, and partway into the 40s.

Books or Movies; what’s better?

I love curling up with a good book and getting lost in the story, for hours if not days.