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 women 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.
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? "I love to share the passion and excitement that bellydance brings me. I feel that my passion can’t be contained, and it exudes naturally, infecting those around me when I teach."
She continues: 'Watching my dancers learn is a joy. When someone finally 'gets' something for the first time, their eyes and their smile beam with excitement, filling the room with energy. It truly is a very fulfilling feeling that I would not change."
Candace loves when women 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 Dramati 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 has also furthered her own training with renowned dancers such as Rachel Brice - Certified in the 8 Elements program Level 1 Initiation, Suhaila Salimpour and Level 1 Certification, Carolena Nerricio of Fat Chance BellyDance and has received Certification in American Tribal Style General Skills twice and completed Teacher Training, Mira Betz, Samantha Emanuel , Mardi Love, Bozenka, Coleena Shakti, Jill Parker, Heather Stants of Urban Tribal, Zoe Jakes, April Rose and Ansuya.
Candace spends much of her time yearly hosting renowned dancers Mira Betz, Kami Little and Martina Crowe-Hewett.
She is always working on something new, creative and innovative, so make sure to check her out the next time you have the chance!
"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 often asked who does her make-up. Her sister, Rayna Aldridge, is not only a talented dancer with experience in jazz, funk, hip hop and bellydance, but is a make-up artist as well.
Graduating with her Certificate of Make-Up Artistry in 2005 from the Martier School of Hair Design, Esthetics and Make-up Artistry, she's been busy working for many different photographers in and around Vancouver Island. Rayna recently accepted an offer as the make-up artist for a fitness video that will be filmed throughout lower British Columbia to be released in 2007. Read more about Rayna and see her favourite make-up creations.