Dancer Receives Grant to Study Belly-Dancing


1 Dancer Receives Grant To Study Belly Dancing Pic
Accalia Robertson practicing her trade Irina Galeeva

Local dancer Accalia Robertson recently received a travel/professional development grant from the Manitoba Arts Council to study the art of belly-dancing in Portland, Oregon.

Robertson, who recently moved to Niverville, has been studying this style of dance for 11 years. She has a day job in Winnipeg, but dance is her passion. She performs belly-dancing for hire at events, weddings, and restaurants.

“I dance with Deep Roots, Strong Dance, a dance company that I founded in 2012,” Robertson says. “I have been invited to dance in several productions by The Prairie Dancers, Frostbite Circus, and The Canadian Palestinian Association of Manitoba.”

The Winnipeg-born dancer has studied dance outside of Canada multiple times. 

“The eight-elements approach to belly-dance is a four-phase training that was developed by world-renowned dancer and instructor Rachel Brice,” says Robertson. “I have self-funded phases one and two, and now with this grant I will undertake phase three: culmination.” 

Brice will be teaching this third phase out of Portland from August 31 until the end of September.

“There is an incredible and vibrant belly-dance community here,” Robertson says, “but you really have to travel outside of Manitoba to progress beyond an intermediate ability.”

Robertson and her partner moved to Niverville to get back to a more nature-filled life. She says they’ve had some pleasant surprises along the way. “Many people that we have met here are so friendly. The very first day we moved here, I met a stranger in line at Subway who offered to pay for our meal. He simply asked me to ‘pay it forward.’ We grew up on that same philosophy, so it felt very home-like to encounter that.”

Throughout the year, Robertson teaches weekly classes out of her dance studio, and she also offers private lessons. On top of this, she choreographs, directs, and performs for special events. 

“Giving back to the community is a big part of my work with my dance company, Deep Roots, Strong Dance,” she says. “I’ve co-produced The Manitoba Fusion Bellydance Showcase for two years, as well as choreographed and performed for The Arabic Heritage Celebration. We used these productions to raise funds for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and Mercy For Animals, a farm animal welfare organization. In my special event belly-dance classes, all proceeds are donated to these organizations.”

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