Ishra

ISHRA BLANCO
Creative Director, Founder, Instructor

Ishra is a North American-wide 578582_159967240794066_2126290837_nperformer, instructor and choreographer. Since beginning her Bellydance training in 1994 with Eddy Manneh and then under Yasmina Ramzy, she has been a member of several dance companies across Canada including being a troupe dancer and instructor at the internationally acclaimed Arabesque Dance Company (Toronto), Entrance Dance Collaborative (Victoria, B.C.) and is currently the Creative Director and Founder of Invoketress Dance (Guelph, Ontario). During her time in Victoria, she studied primarily under Farideh and also opened Arabesque West, a branch of Arabesque Dance Company.

Her professional approach and undying thirst for movement and knowledge makes her a sought after workshop leader and dance instructor as well as a traditional and pioneering performer. In 2014, she was awarded second runner-up in the Fusion category at the inaugural Star Bellydancer Canada, a nationwide competition. A 2013 recipient of Guelph’s Top 40 Under 40 award, she’s a well-respected dancer in the local arts community, teaching classes, directing her troupe, regularly performing across Ontario at corporate and private functions, and leading workshops in Canada and the United States. She was one of two dancers selected by Guelph Dance for the “Whole Shebang,” a multi-disciplinary collaboration of the five major festivals in Guelph, facilitated by Andrea Nann and is the first artist residency at the River Run Centre. She was also part of the distinguished jury panel for the 2010 International Bellydance Conference of Canada who selected dance artists to perform at the conference’s gala and open stages.

Ishra has performed on the main stage at the International Bellydance Conference of Canada (Toronto), the Great Lakes Bellydance Convention (Michigan), Sunfest (London), Millrace Festival (Cambridge), Nuit Blanche (Guelph), and the Guelph Jazz Festival’s Opera, Quebicité. She frequently performs with live musicians including twice Juno-nominated Eccodek, award-winning Light of East Ensemble, world-renowned Adrian Raso, nuevo-Flamenco guitarist Cuneyt Yetkiner, The Bhadra Collective, Fanfare Ciocarlia, critically-acclaimed Dr. George Sawa, the Kitchener/Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, and the Guelph Concert Band. She has appeared in music videos and as part of live concerts starring The Swollen Members , Sean Paul, and Akon. She’s been featured on the cover and profiled in “Mid-Bits” bellydance magazine. In 2010, she wrote her first belly dance children’s book, My Mom Has a Dancing Belly.

Ishra is a lover of dance and has studied many different styles of Middle Eastern dance and drum with world-renowned masters including Canadian Hadia, Yasmina Ramzy, Roula Said, Nada El Masryia, Joharah,Aziza, and Melissa Gamal; American Suhaila Salimpour, Cassandra Shore, Jillina, Rachel Brice, the late John Compton, and April Rose M.A.; Egyptian born Dr. George Sawa, Yousry Shariff, Tito and Mahmoud Reda; Tunisian Selma and Spanish Mytze. Her other passion is Flamenco which she has studied with Esmeralda Enrique, Carmen Romero and in Spain at Taller Flamenco. She is a well-versed dancer, concurrently taking private Ballet lessons, and has also studied Jazz, Latin, Kathak, Hip hop, Modern, Bollywood, Irish, Hula, Tahitian, Poi, Tai Chi, Yoga, Capoiera, and Kandyan Dance in Sri Lanka. In 2015, she received her CanFit Pro instructor certification in Kelani Dance. Her artistic background also includes two years of Theatre from York University. She is a proud mother of four.

I find Bellydance an empowering, passionate and sacred form of expression. I love guiding women back to their feminine roots, to feel confident and secure in their bodies as well as truly appreciating the strength and beauty in other women. This creates a very open, safe and joyful experience and allows us to feel the strength of Middle Eastern movement from deep within. I cherish the women I teach and celebrate their diversity. I encourage positive self-body image and nurture a supportive and caring environment. My dance troupe, Invoketress, truly embodies this philosophy.”  – Ishra

Ishra’s Signature Style, “Mezcla” Bellydance

Ishra’s solo at the 2016 Belly Blush:

Ishra Flamenco/Ballet/Bellydance Fusion

Ishra featured in music video:

Ishra Flamenco & Bellydance

Ishra Tribal Fusion

Ishra Traditional Bellydance

Ishra Freestyle

Ishra live Flamenco with Cuneyt

Ishra Improv

Ishra with Light of East Ensemble

Ishra Serpentine

Latin/Bellydance Duet with Nico

Freestyle Improv with Live Guitarist