Mary is currently the most senior dancer in the Invoketress Dance troupe. She is proficient in the styles of Raqs Sharqi (classical Egyptian), FatChanceBellyDance®Style (FCBD®Style or FatChance®Style, formerly known as American Tribal Style®), folkloric belly dance, Bollywood, and a number of fusion styles.
Mary discovered belly dance in 2003 in Ishra Blanco’s classes and instantly fell in love. She progressed through Ishra’s levels by taking multiple classes at a time and became a member of the Invoketress Dance Troupe where she is currently the Managing Director, the most senior dancer, instructor, and choreographer.
She is currently taking advanced belly dance classes with Ishra in Classical Egyptian, American Cabaret, Fusion, and Folkloric styles and advanced Raqs Sharqi with Melissa Gamal. For many years, she concurrently studied ATS® classes with Valizan, most recently at the Advanced level. She has also studied ATS under Orkideh, Susan Warner, and Les Tribelles and was a founding member of Improvisational Tribal Style/Tribal Fusion troupe Tribe Aurealis. She regularly takes workshops with specialty instructors as much as she can in a variety of topics and genres. Notable instructors include Rachel Brice, Sahar Samara, Kami Liddle, Zoe Jakes, Yasmina Ramzy, Michelle Sorensen, Silvia Salamanca, Sahira, Henna, Nada El Masriya, Badia Star, Nawal Doucette, Audra Simmons, Inga Petermann, Mayada, Joharah, Heather Marie, Andrea Fryett, Esmeralda Enrique (Flamenco), and Neefa from Khafif (Romany). Other styles she has studied are modern belly dance, Irish, Flamenco, breakdance, Turkish Romany, hula, steampunk, hip hop, and more.
She further informs her dance training with studies in Arabic music with training from Dr. George Sawa (Arabic music appreciation, Arabic drumming rhythms); Karim Nagi (finger cymbals, performing with live musicians); Roula Said (Arabic Musicology and singing); Khizmet (Arabic drumming), and Arabic percussion with Sheldon Valeda at Haft Vadi Belly Dance Studio.
Mary is a frequent performer, both as a soloist and with the Invoketress troupe. She loves connecting with an audience and has extensive experience performing at shows, weddings, parties, corporate events, community and cultural festivals, charity events and fundraisers. She is the resident belly dancer at Retour Bistro, a Guelph Lebanese restaurant who she has partnered with to offer regular belly dance and hookah nights that usually sell out. She has performed at many belly dance shows and large-scale belly dance events including at the International Belly Dance Conference of Canada (Toronto), Tribal Revolution (Illinois), Momentumfest MTL (Montreal), Detroit Raqs, Sparkle Motion (Kalamazoo), and the Great Lakes Belly Dance Convention (Ann Arbor, Michigan). In 2017, she was part of the Invoketress ensemble who won 1st place in the Hamilton International Belly Dance Competition.
PERFORMING TO LIVE MUSIC:
Mary loves to improvise and collaborate with musicians. She has had the pleasure to dance live with some amazing musical talent such as twice Juno-nominated Eccodek; world-renowned The Lemon Bucket Orkestra; internationally-acclaimed Adrian Raso; nuevo-Flamenco guitarist Cuneyt; award-winning The Light of East Ensemble; Roula Said, the Guelph Concert Band, respected and accomplished local musicians Gary Diggins, Brent Rowan, “The Naked Harpist” Leslie Shapiro, and the Bhadra Collective.
INSTRUCTION & CHOREOGRAPHY:
Mary is a regular workshop instructor at parties, dance studios, and events such as the Flying Dance Festival and Hillside Festival. She is the resident ATS® dancer with Invoketress and taught this style as a regular class to new and continuing ATS students. Through this, she formed and directed the ATS performance group “Invoketribe.” She provides private belly dance instruction as well as coaching and mentoring in choreography and performance. She has choreographed a number of Invoketress’ large troupe pieces in a variety of styles as well as works in collaboration with other dancers to create duets and her own solo work.
For Mary, belly dance is not solely a hobby or a form of exercise. It has become an intrinsic part of her life. During these days of quarantine, she can be seen dancing in online shows, collaborating with other artists on video projects, and being the resident belly dancer at Onyx Night Club’s Thrillz ‘n’ Skillz livestream show.
“Maria” – Freestyle Dance
“Seduction” – Free Flow Dance
“More Tea” Belly Dance Fusion Performance
“Doin’ Time” Belly Dance Fusion Performance
Belly Dance and Fusion Dance Demo Reel
Belly Dance with Veil – Chiftitelli
Belly Dance with Zills
Drum Solo – “Turbulence”
Urban Belly Dance Fusion
Belly Dance to live music by Light of East Ensemble
Belly Dance with Fan Veils
Drum Solo – “The Captivation”