Dancing To a Different Tune
By John Kurucz, Coquitlam NOW November 19, 2010
Sometimes it's a case of a career finding the person, rather than the reverse.
That's how the cards were dealt to Port Coquitlam's Francesca Anastasi, who parlayed a career in dance into a successful studio that specializes in belly dancing.
Up and running since 2002, Confidance boasts a wide array of dance instruction ranging from salsa and tango to Bollywood and ballroom. But it was Anastasi's transition into belly dancing in 1997 that paved the way for the PoCo native to capitalize on the current upswing in popularity that belly dancing is experiencing.
"I ended up teaching out of demand. It was never my intention to teach belly dancing," said Anastasi, who goes by the stage name Sabeya. "I've always liked dancing in general, and I dance in a number of different styles. But with belly dancing, I really liked how exotic it was and I always really liked the feminine aspect of the dance. And of course, I love the costumes."
Born in Italy, Anastasi moved to California at the age of 17 and started her formal dance training a year later. She began dancing recreationally at first, dabbling in myriad dance styles including ballet, jazz and ballroom, before transitioning into belly dancing more than 10 years ago.
"It is different from other dance forms in that you really have to make the person understand which muscles are driving each move," she said. "The biggest difference is the extreme control of muscle isolation. For someone with the untrained eye, it looks very easy. But when you actually physically try it, you realize there's a lot more involved than meets the eye. It is very important to teach students which muscles to use and how to hold their postures."
The last two years in particular have seen Anastasi ratchet her career up a few notches, as she's taken part in a number of international events and instruction-based seminars.
In September, she was the only Canadian invited to teach at a four-day belly dancing conference in Las Vegas that drew participants and instructors from around the world.