10 question quickie...Carrie Konyha!

When Carrie dances, she shares herself with you. She shares her beauty, her heart and her love of movement. It's no wonder she was a sweetheart and took some time to do an interview. And I'm thrilled to share it with you.

She's the 2010 Bellydance Queen Professional Solo 1st Runner up, she has a newly released World Dance New York DVD titled "Tribaret Bellydance" (which you can win a copy of if you comment here!). You'll can find her teaching classes, performing or sharing her knowledge and love of movement in her Goddess Groove workshops. Without further delay, I invite you to get to know her a little better, read on.  

1. What first attracted you to Middle Eastern/bellydancing?
Well I discovered bellydance in about 1994, 6 years into my already established professional dance career. I had been working full time (8 hrs a day, 6 days a week) in nightclubs doing dance jobs such as go-go dancing, pole dancing, burleque shows and such. Then one summer day I saw a bellydancer perform at a Renaissance festival. I fell absolutely in love with the feminine beauty and timeless mystique of the dance right away and the rest is history! I felt like I had discovered the ancient cultural roots of the dances I was doing already and was completely captivated by the exotic bellydance music & costuming. I started taking classes right away, taking as many as 5 classes week for my first many years of bellydance. Here we are 17 years later and I still take as many master classes as I can each year.

2. How long have you been studying/involved with this dance?
To date, I've been performing various styles of dance professionally for 25 years. My involvement with bellydance started in 1994. I've actually had a passion for dancing since I was a toddler. In fact, I come from a long line of musicians & dancers. My grandmother & her sister were both professional acrobatic dancers for Ringling Bros circus in the 1930s-40s and my grandfather was a Hungarian gypsy music violinist so music & dance is in my blood. There are many music & dance oriented professionals in my family. As a kid I was very involved with gymnastics for many years and also loved taking dance classes. I trained in western dance styles such as ballet, jazz, modern dance before discovering bellydance.

3. Why do you continue to study/refine it?
I love bellydance and I continue to study for my the sake of my own personal & professional development. Bellydance continues to beneficially influence every area of my life so I keep coming back for more. Aside from my involvement with professional performance & teaching, on personal levels, bellydance is like a feminine style of yoga for me.

4. What is most challenging about it?
Creating enough time in each day to do all the things I want to do with my dance ambitions

5. What is your next goal pertaining to Middle Eastern/bellydance?
I'm currently developing a multi-level Tribaret certification program that is based on my signature Tribaret combos, training regimen , and my philosophies regarding costuming & dance aesthetic principles, musicality, dance making & show production. Its a great program for dance artists who enjoy theatrical versatility. The scope of Levels 1 & 2 focus on topics ranging from technique and artistry and level 3 is the teacher training level which certifies dancers to teach my Tribaret format

6. What/who is your inspiration at the moment? 
Wow that's a tuffy! Being both a cabaret and tribal dancer, I'm inspired by so many dancers and varying styles! Right now I'm really loving Saida of Argentina but I would have to say that my all-time favorites are Tamalyn Dallal, Helena Vlahos, Ansuya & of course Carolina Nerriccio of Fat Chance Bellydance.

7. In the early years where you presented with challenges concerning family and friends or did you have their support? As a child my family in general had always been in support of my dancing as a recreation and hobby but becoming a professional dancer was my dads worst nightmare. He wanted more for me that what in his mind was a life of a vagabond with little hope of success. We were actually estranged for many years because of it but he eventaully came around and he is a big fan of my dancing now. I have many relatives that are involved with dance related professional careers so its become sort of the 'norm' for my families professional tendencies.

8. What did Middle Eastern/bellydancing change for you? 
Bellydance really has been of tremendous influence to my entire life's path. I cant imagine a life without bellydance at the core. In the very least, Its broadened my appreciation for cultural arts, It has inspired an interest in world music, world dance, the Arabic language and world travel. On personal levels, its brought much healing and enhanced personal empowerment into my life. 

9. What is next for you in this dance? 
I have several training certification weekend intensives booked for 2012 and in the planning stages for 2013 so a lot of my focus is going towards the development of my new certifications programs. I'm a huge advocate for excellence in bellydance education and have bellydance teacher training intensives in the development stages now that will raise the barre regarding teacher training standards here in the USA. Stay tuned for details!

10. What other hobbies or passions do you enjoy and do you have time for them? 
I'm actually a major nature lover and outdoors person. I love hiking, camping and hope to live sustainably 'off the grid' someday. Those that know me in person, know that I'm also a professional psychic reader and esoteric wisdom teacher. As such, I love metaphysical and esoteric studies and spend a great deal of time researching these topics as inspiration in the spiritual development workshops/retreats I facilitate.

Bonus Questions:

What (one) word would you use to sum up what Middle Eastern/bellydance means to you? Celebration

Briefly share something about yourself that we wouldn't know from a simple conversation/interview with you. 
Lets see, I'm left handed, I love organic dark chocolate, I'm a certified yoga instructor and clairvoyant psychic reader who lives a very spiritually centered lifestyle. I live in Sedona AZ because of the work I do with people along these lines. Sedona offers people many opportunities for spiritual experiences & development on many levels.

Can you describe what your Goddess Groove workshops are like? Goddess Groove TM blends the primordial movements of bellydance with Yogic philosophies to create a holistically therapeutic 'yogic' bellydance practice that cultivates energy awareness, personal development and holistic wellness. It teaches ancient esoteric aspects of our dance such as the metaphysical symbolism of the core bellydance moves, how they can be used to access and balance the 5 elements of earth, air, fire, water and space present within us (and all of nature) to enhance our overall healthfulness. I offer 3 levels of training that culminates into a teacher training certification for those who want to add holistic wellness oriented dance classes to their dance schools curriculum. People can find out more at www.goddessgroove.net

What was your favorite part of making your instructional DVD? What was the most difficult part of the process and what helped you get through it? 
Hanging out with Scott and Neon was a great time! They are both so professional, friendly and inspiring to work. I feel honored to be a part of the World Dance New York team of instructors. The most challenging part of filming the Tribatet DVD was the long hours of filming. Filming the 'practice/follow -along segments were particularly challenging due to the repetitions needed for the DVD for the 20 different combos I present on the DVD. My conditioning training and performance experience with pacing myself with yogic breathing is what got me through it. Win an autographed DVD here!

Thank you so much Carrie!

Feel free to post your hello's and questions to Carrie in the comment section below.


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