Accalia Carmen is an accomplished bellydancer, performer and teacher based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. She is the Founder and Director of Deep Roots Strong Dance. She has choreographed, directed and performed at festivals across Canada, weddings, restaurants and the Arabic-Canadian Heritage Celebration. She is a Dance Manitoba Gold Award recipient and is currently studying to become a Certified Datura Style (bellydance) Practitioner. She writes the certification exam this March and we wish her the best on her exam!
🌿SimplyChrissy: When did you start dancing?
Accalia: I started bellydancing when I was 19, so 12 years as of fall, 2018.
🌿Simply Chrissy: Was belly dancing your first choice for a dance style, or did you dabble in other dance styles first?
Accalia: I was actually uninspired by bellydance until I saw Tribal Fusion style – it was like the badass sister of the bellydance I was used to seeing. Since then, I’ve seen incredible bellydancing from all styles and I’ve expanded my repertoire because of that. As a kid, I did ballet, tap, jazz, but as an adult, I pretty much went from free dancing straight into bellydance. From there, I dabbled in African and Latin styles. I started taking Contemporary dance classes 5 years ago, and I begin classical Indian bharatanatyam this winter. Bellydance gave me the confidence to try other styles of dance, and made me comfortable with looking a bit ridiculous while learning something new.
🌿SimplyChrissy: Can you describe the dance and music for anybody reading this having never heard of belly dancing and it’s music?
Accalia: Bellydance music, like the dance itself, is boundless, but much of the classical music can be characterized by drum rhythms (whether Turkish, Arabic, Romani… depends on where your dance lineage / musical preference comes from). A lot of my favourite classical bellydance music has earthy drumbeats from darbuka or tabla, and the lyrical flow of Oud (an Arabic stringed instrument). Lately I’ve been dancing to a lot of Blues, though – everything from Nina Simone to Kaleo, and in the past I’ve worked a lot with electronic music (ie: performing with Desert Dwellers).
🌿SimplyChrissy: You are a vegetarian. Have you noticed a positive impact on your health as a result of it?
Accalia: My vegetarian diet has definitely helped me maintain great energy levels, healthy digestion, skin and hair.
🌿SimplyChrissy: What made you transition your way of eating to vegetarian?
Accalia: I became vegetarian when I was 8 years old, when I saw the movie “Babe”. One of the ducks in the movie looked through a dining room window and lamented that the humans had killed his love, Rosemary. That was it! I was over meat. Since then, I’ve learned about the impacts of meat consumption on human health and of “conventional” livestock farming on the environment, and this has further solidified my position. It’s both a spiritual and political motivation.
🌿Simply Chrissy: How has dancing positively impacted your health and sense of well-being (mentally, physically, spiritually)?
Accalia: Oh man. Where to start… Dance has taught me that my body is a divine, yet earthly vessel for my soul and it is a journal of everything I do. In the same way that I can write in a journal to exercise and process feelings and events in my life, I dance. Dancing is an act of journalling, and in trying times, it is an act of exorcism (not of demons lol… well I suppose in a figurative sense, sure). There’s performance dance, and that’s partly for me and partly for presentation, and then there’s truth movement, and that’s just for me. This latter type of movement can be a site of incredible mental, physical and spiritual clearing. On the body-positivity front, bellydance is amazing because it normalizes all kinds of uncovered bellies. Instead of only seeing air-brushed magazine abs like most people are disproportionately exposed to, as a bellydancer, you see it all – and you see it all moving beautifully. All kinds of bodies come to life with the essence of a dance, and you can’t help but embrace beauty in a fuller, broader sense. Bodies and bellies tend to be objectified – and those that aren’t mainstream-beautiful are often criticized. Yet when bodies are moving with music, they’re dynamic and alive. The act of bare bellies moving beautifully is automatically an act of resistance to the objectification of our bodies. It’s a victory of the tangible spirit over the superficial. Bellydance isn’t the only dance style that has this quality to it, but it is the boldest.
🌿Simply Chrissy: Do you have any classes, workshops, or shows coming up?
Accalia: I’m currently teaching Intermediate Bellydance at 6pm on Sundays at Nafro Studios (located in Winnipeg, Canada). These classes run until mid-May and then I’ll be teaching Fundamental Bellydance Technique (Beginner friendly) in spring. There’s a form below for anyone (gender neutral) interested in coming to class:
Click here —->>>> Intermediate Bellydance Registration Form
🌿Simply Chrissy: How can people connect with you or ask any questions?
Leave a comment below letting me know if you enjoyed this interview! Have you ever tried bellydance or seen a show? Would you ever give it a try?
Health, Peace & Dance! ✌🏽😀 🌱