Elianae Stone is not a stranger to belly dance nor to the Northeast Ohio dance community. She has, though, recently relocated from Columbus to Cleveland and has immersed herself in the local dance community.
1. Who/What influenced you to become a belly dancer? 2.) What is your dance History?
I studied ballet, jazz, modern, lyrical, Afro-Carribean, and other styles of dance as a kid. I was in the pre-professional program at BalletMet Columbus, and studied as a dance major at Jacksonville University. In my early 20’s, I took a break from dance to pursue other things, and during that break, I came across belly dance.
My first belly dancer I ever saw was Laylia, a local belly dancer in Columbus. She was very fun and entertaining, and I enjoyed her social, earthy style of dance she employed at the Ohio Renaissance Fair. I later started taking classes from Habeeba’s Dance of the Arts in Columbus, and really fell in love with Classic Cabaret belly dance at that time. I studied there for about 8 years, becoming an Instructor for 4 years. I also studied briefly with Leyla Soleil, another great Instructor with her own unique style. I love American Cabaret artists, such as Jillina, Karen Barbee, and Sadie, but also Egyptian greats like Fifi Abdo, Samia Gamal and Tahiya Karioka. I value any dancer with commitment to their craft.
3. What is your style? Cabaret? Tribal? A mix?
I consider myself an American Cabaret Dancer, even though that term is ever-evolving. Many Cabaret dancers employ much more ballet/modern/fusion technique into their dancing than even 15 years ago, adding high kicks, arabesques, attitudes, and other more recent evolutions. I dabbed in Tribal and Egyptian, and still would like to broaden my horizons with folkloric.
4. Do you instruct? Where? What?
I taught at Habeeba’s dance of the Arts for 4 years, and now I am teaching children’s ballet/tumbling and adult belly dance at Martial Arts Ohio in Kent. I am currently working separate from a larger belly dance studio.
5. Do you perform? Where? When?
I perform regularly at restaurants, hookah bars, private events, and at local dance community haflas. I had the pleasure since moving to the Cleveland area from Columbus to perform at Cleveland’s Kan Zaman Club, thanks to a talented Cleveland dancer, Cassandra Al Warda. I have been welcomed by the Northeastern Ohio community, and I am awed by the hospitality and amount of talent we have here in Cleveland.
6. Do you have a dance troupe or are you a member of a dance troupe?
I currently am a solo artist, though I was a member of Habeeba’s Troupe in Columbus.
7. Do you have a preferred prop like a sword, candles or the like?
I am a fan of the zills, though I love veil, and have branched out over the past few years to include occasionally candles, sword, Isis wings, and shamadan (candelabra), though I mainly would use them for a special occasion. I will never forget one of my favorite Instructors Karen Barbee saying how a great dancer dances on her skills alone. That a zill solo here and there, or some nice opening veil work is fine, but it was her opinion that too many props took away from the physical skill of the dancer.
8. What is your dance philosophy?
Dance is for life, and always be proud that you dance. Too often in life, women are shamed into feeling they don’t have a right to dance, whether it be age, weight, costuming, whatever. Belly dance is a cultural art form, and I plan to keep on dancing and expressing myself!
9. Do you have a web site?
10. Is there anything else that you’d like to add?
I am part of an exciting project right now taking place right here in Cleveland called “Raqs for Joy” (Raqs being Arabic for Dance) It is a global documentary focusing on dance, health, wealth and community for women. If you want to find out more or contribute to this exciting project, check out Cindy David at www.raqsforjoy.com!! Thank you for having me!! Hello Cleveland!