“There are all kinds of wonderful women in this huge city that don’t have a creative voice but would want one. I hope that’s part of what I’m giving my students.”
That statement sums up the aspirations of Eshe, who is now at the forefront of South Korea’s belly dancing movement as the director of Dream Dance Studio in Seoul.
Although the art of belly dancing hails from the Middle East and Northern Africa, Eshe had discovered while she was living in Tokyo. She was reading a magazine when she stumbled upon an ad for free belly dancing lessons, and that was enough to convince her.
“My teacher was a real character. She used to get on the floor and hiss like a snake. Her class was intense and it often put me outside of my comfort zone yet her moves were so full of grace and energy, like yoga but in undulating movements,” she recalls. ”Even though it was difficult to learn, the movements were simply beautiful… I wanted to improve and dance like my teacher.”
After three months of taking the class, Eshe got serious about pursuing a career in belly dancing. So she traveled to Egypt and Turkey to study with renowned masters of the art.
A Canadian originally from the blue-collar town of Hamilton, Eshe teaches the Orientale, American Tribal Style, and Tribal Fusion forms of belly dance. Her wide range of international experience has helped strengthened her belief that belly dance is for women of all nationalities, regardless of age or body type. Along with the joy of discovering a new art form and enhancing her own sense of cultural awareness, she is glad that her lessons have helped many women boost their confidence as they interact with an interesting group of ladies from Korea and abroad.
According to Eshe, belly dancing is about telling a story, sharing a moment, reliving a memory or generating thoughts. “Belly dance has been such a positive influence in my life,” says one of Eshe’s students. “It helped me appreciate and respect my body… It never fails to lift my mood,” she adds.
Eshe is making a living doing what she loves. Apart from running Dream Dance Studio, she is also busy serving as the director for two performance groups and showcasing her belly dancing talent across Japan, Turkey, Australia, Canada and Indonesia.
“I believe we all have art inside of us,” Eshe says. “Sometimes, we need a little help to coax it out, though.” These days, this belly dancing aficionado performs with a lot of underground indie bands. ”Music breathes life into dance and I’ve been lucky to work with so many amazing artists across different genres– I’ll dance to anything with a beat!”