Candace says: "Since my first bellydance class, I haven’t looked back. I’m so passionate about this dance form that I can’t imagine not having it as part of my life."
It may sound cliché, but bellydance is a dance form that truly invites people of all ages, sizes, shapes, culture, background, fitness level and personality. We come together not only to have fun and connect with others, but to appreciate ourselves for exactly who we are and in ways we didn’t know existed. Instead of wanting to change our 'buddhas' (denoted by Candace herself, to reference our beautiful bellies), we become one with them. We become one with ourselves, exactly as we are.
This form of dance is both challenging and fun. A beginner finds herself holding her body in ways she hadn’t before, using muscles she didn’t know existed, challenging her body in new, and often bizarre, ways. It doesn’t take long to feel as though you’ve been bellydancing your whole life.
Why does Candace teach? "To be able to share all that I have learned, to share with others the passion this dance form brings to me is truly the greatest gift. Being able to share with these brilliant beings everyday a form of movement that embraces such beauty, strength, diversity is absolutely empowering not only to myself but to those that choose me as one of their teachers"
She continues:"Watching the dancers work their way through the process, the passion igniting inside each of them, bellydance seeping into their souls makes every moment worth all the hard work, for us all. A room electric with energy, friendships being made and bonded for life, a safe place to fall into exactly yourself, exactly as you are meant to be. A place in time where movement fills your entire being, where nothing matters and you can leave everything that it is behind. A moment in time where you are exactly you, a free spirit being, your goddess self, whole!"
To say that she is grateful and blessed for the work that she does, to be a part of such an incredible community and be surrounded by so many amazing people just simply doesnt feel enough. Candace loves when people find the same passion in the dance that she has: when they develop the desire to dance more, learn more, experience more.
Candace started dancing Ballet at age 5 to 14, following up with Modern and Jazz between the ages of 13 and 19. In her early 20's she watched a bellydance documentary on how bellydance was a great aid in child birth and labour. Shortly there after a friend started taking lessons and pointed her in the right direction. In 1999 she started classes with Sidona, a local teacher, and danced with her troupe, Jewels of the Heart. When Sidona stopped teaching, Candace began training with another wonderful local dancer, Nila Allat. With her troupe, Sultana’s Circle, she danced throughout Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands for several years. When Nila left for Vancouver in 2003, Candace was approached by her personally to take over her classes, which is where her teaching of this dance form began.
Candace started teaching classes right away and formed Ruwaydah, her first performing troupe in late 2003, and started performing again the summer 2004. She created Harmony BellyDance Co. in 2006 and has continued to teach, perform, host famous dancers and open her own studio. Through out the years she has had many different performing troupes specializing in Fusion, Tribal Fusion and Dramatic fusion, However at this time she is travelling and performing as a Solist and with her performing troupe TangleWood - specializing in American Tribal Style since 2009.
She continues to further her own training and education with her two main mentors, Suhaila Salimpour - Level 2 and Jamila Format - Level 1 Certification and Mira Betz who pushes her to the depths of her soul to be exactly herself and no one else. She continues her training with Carolena Nerricio of Fat Chance BellyDance and has received Certification in American Tribal Style General Skills twice and completed Teacher Training. Candace holds her Level 1 Initiation certification in Rachel Brices 8 Elements Program and continues to study as much as possible with, Mardi Love, Kami Liddle and Zoe Jakes.
She is always working on something new, growing as an individual, being creative and innovative as possible. Ebbing and flowing with the constant changes in this life and her dance movement, there is no end to her possibilities.
Candace is the mumma to her two brilliant, divine, spirit beings, Blaise and Harley. They are her light, her peanut and her muse and the three of them are pretty much attached at the hip always :) First place to look for them, outside in their beautiful gardens, dirt up to their elbows, surely laughing away the time of day.
"I call it DNA," Candace states. Dancers can learn choreography and a piece of music so well that they don’t even have to think to perform: the dance is part of them, running through them. In these performances, they feel full of electrifying energy that shines from their eyes, their smile, their fingertips and their toes. They invite the audience into the dance, into their every move to allow the audience to feel the passion and excitement that the dancer is feeling.
Almost as much fun as the dance itself are the costumes, jewelry and make-up. Candace says she loves dressing up and feeling undeniably beautiful. Bellydancers offer so much of their souls; when they're dressed in gorgeous fabrics, jewels and gems, there’s only sheer beauty for the audience to see.
Candace says she loves to entertain: "I’m exhilarated by the simple fact that people have come out to see bellydance and to be entertained. It’s an honour to share dance with people who are excited and looking forward to a show. It is as important to me that an audience walk away feeling as much joy from my performance as I felt dancing for them."
Candace is the director of three performing troupes in Harmony BellyDance Co, Harmonys Allure, TangleWood and The Khamsa Collective. She finds great joy exploring the depths of her passion, knowledge and talents within these three groups. Always pushing the edge of her own boundaries, she challenges these woman to find their edge, to push themselves past what they know and step into the unknown. To allow themselves to also constantly shift and grow as dancers and find their fullest potential in dance, performance and study. Finding balance in these three groups, also brings the beauty of three different styles of dance, allowing full diversity, creativity and innovation in all their sets.