MARY SNOW WYGA
Mary is the most senior dancer in the Invoketress Dance troupe and is proficient in the styles of Raqs Sharqi (classical Egyptian), American Tribal Style (ATS), Tribal Fusion, Folkloric Bellydance, Bollywood, and other fusion styles.
Mary discovered bellydance in 2003 in one of Ishra Blanco’s classes and instantly fell in love with the movement and the music. 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, a principal dancer, instructor, and choreographer.
She is the founder, instructor, and director of InvokeTribe, a group under the Invoketress umbrella which focuses on ATS. She has studied ATS under Valizan, Orkideh, Susan Warner, and Les Tribelles and was a founding member of Improvisational Tribal Style/Tribal Fusion troupe Tribe Aurealis.
She is currently taking Advanced Bellydance classes with Ishra in Classical Egyptian, American Cabaret, Tribal Fusion, and Folkloric styles. For many years, she concurrently studied American Tribal Style (ATS) classes with Valizan, most recently at the Advanced level. She regularly takes workshops with specialty instructors as much as she can in a variety of topics and genres. Notable teachers include Rachel Brice; Sahar Samara (weekend intensive); Zoe Jakes, Yasmina Ramzy; Michelle Sorensen (weekend intensive); Henna; Nada El Masriya; Badia Star; Hiba; Melissa Gamal, Nawal Doucette, Audra Simmons; Mayada, Joharah, Heather Marie, Andrea Fryett, Esmeralda Enrique (Flamenco), and Neefa from Khafif (Romany). Other styles she has studied are modern Bellydance, Bollywood, Irish, Flamenco, breakdance, Romany, hula, steampunk, 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 Bellydance Studio.
Mary is a frequent performer and derives great pleasure from connecting with an audience through performing and has extensive experience doing so. She has performed at many weddings, parties, corporate events, community and cultural festivals, charity events and fundraisers. She is the resident bellydancer at Retour Bistro, a Guelph Lebanese restaurant who she partnered with to offer regular Bellydance and hookah nights that have always sold out. She has performed at many Bellydance shows and a number of large-scale Bellydance events including at the International Bellydance Conference of Canada (Toronto), Tribal Momentum Festival (Montreal), Detroit Raqs, and the Great Lakes Bellydance Convention (Michigan). In 2017, she was part of the Invoketress ensemble who won 1st place in the Hamilton International Bellydance Competition.
Performing to Live Music:
One of her favourite types of performances is improvisation and collaboration with live music and 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.
Bellydance Instruction & Choreography:
Mary is a regular workshop instructor at parties, events, at 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 students who formed the ATS group “Invoketribe.” She provides private instruction as well as coaching and mentoring services 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, Bellydance is not solely a hobby or a form of exercise. It has become an intrinsic part of her life: artistic discovery and expression, an emotional outlet, entertaining audiences, connecting with other artists, a means of bonding with fellow dance colleagues through a shared love of the art form, a celebration of life, a continual exploration of cultures, and deep and meaningful relationships with her beloved Invoketress troupe sisters.
Bellydance and Fusion Dance Demo Reel
Bellydance with Veil – Chiftitelli
Urban Bellydance Fusion
Bellydance with Fan Veils
Isis Wings Duet with Ishra Blanco
High Priestess Bellydance Fusion
“My Favourite Things” Halloween Show
Latin-Bellydance Fusion (choreography by Mary)
Check out some more videos of her performing American Tribal Style (ATS) on the Invoketribe page.