Audrea & Nageeb’s Wedding

We absolutely love performing at weddings. On April 5th, 2014, we were so proud and honoured to perform at one of our own at Invoketress Dance Apprentice Audrea and her now-husband, Nageeb’s wedding.

Audrea’s history with Ishra goes way back…back to 2003 when she decided to take up bellydance classes with now-Invoketress dancer Mary for “funsies.” Who knew that that was the beginning of a long-term love affair with the dance form for both girls. After a few years of Audrea and Mary taking classes together and progressing up the levels, Audrea ended up moving to Hamilton for work. Sad for the girls, but it did lead to the development of her relationship with Nageeb. Audrea continued taking bellydance classes with other teachers over the years, keeping up with her technique and expanding her horizons with new instructors, but ultimately, Ishra and the Guelph girls felt like dance-home. In 2013, she made the decision that driving to Guelph for lessons from Hamilton was worth it.  Now, she’s back with Mary and Ishra and some of her other former dance-mates and getting to know some of the newer girls in the Invoketress Apprentice program.

So, when Audrea wanted some bellydancers to perform at her wedding, the girls were quick to say, “Of course!!” Ishra and Invoketress have performed at a number of weddings, but nothing compared to the high energy and pumped up crowd as this one. After the wedding party was introduced, the dancers led the bride and groom in a Zaffe to a house on its feet, waving their napkins, full of cheering and zaghareets. The energy was electrifying. Soon, the dance floor was full of friends and family, dancing and cheering and lifting Audrea and Nageeb up in the air. This lasted for about 4 or 5 songs before dinner commenced and the official performances occurred.

The girls were in agreement that this was the most lively and dance-friendly wedding ever. Nothing is better than performing for an engaged and appreciative crowd, one where we are able to connect culturally and musically , sharing smiles and shimmies alike with guests. At one point, a boy came out carrying and playing a dombek! The dance floor was never empty and there was a great mix of Middle Eastern and Western music for all the guests.

We were thrilled to be part of such a joyous occasion for one of our very special dancers. The day was full of love and happiness and it was such a treat to serve one of the purposes of Bellydance: Celebration.

Minerva and Ishra at the wedding ceremony.

Invoketress’ Minerva and Ishra at the wedding ceremony.

Natalie enters during the Zeffe.
Natalie enters during the Zeffe.

These ladies know how to start a party!
Ishra, Mary and Minerva sure know how to start a party!
Photo by Livingface Photography.
Photo by Livingface Photography.
With the beautiful bride!
With the beautiful bride!

Ishra Places in “Star Bellydancer Canada” Competition!

Congratulations to Ishra who placed 2nd runner-up in the Fusion Solo category in the first ever Star Bellydancer Canada Competition! A tremendously talented group of dancers showcased the wide breadth and depth of Canadian bellydance. We are very proud of Ishra’s accomplishments and know she will always be number one to her students, friends, and family! Check out some photos of Ishra’s performances!

Some words from Ishra from the experience:

Processing the whole Star Bellydancer Canada Competition event, so much to take in, it was all really overwhelming at first!  Now reflecting, I so LOVED watching all of the inspiring dance that evening. So many incredible dancers that I had never seen perform before. Really opened up Canada’s Bellydance community. 

“Teaching my first class after the competition yesterday I realized how much I soaked in by watching and appreciating the earthiness, the artistry and innovation I saw at the show. Congratulations to all the dancers who participated. Whether you won a trophy or not, you have inspired and are keeping our dance intact to its roots and always growing. Much love.”  

~ M.W.

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Photos by Natalia Sokolovska


Happy 40th, Ishra!

On July 31st, Ishra celebrated her 40th birthday! The Invoketress ladies planned a surprise birthday party and performance in Cindy’s lush backyard garden. Blindfolded, Ishra was led to her special chair of honour as the ladies emerged one by one to deliver a special solo just for her. Last to perform with Ishra’s daughter, Sisi. The ladies also gifted Ishra with a beautiful hardcover book of dance memoirs from the the beginning of her dance journey. A lovely, summer evening filled with music, laughter, and food was had. View more photos from the magical evening here.

~ M.W.

Ishra and the Invoketress ladies (and some mini-ladies!).
Ishra and the Invoketress ladies (and some mini-ladies!).

Spring Fever

If you’ve been following our Blog or our Facebook Page, you’ll know that this spring has been chock full of performances! They all lead up to our highlight of the season – our Belly Blush Student Recital!  Do you have your ticket, yet? You can purchase them in advance from the Blue Ribbon in downtown Guelph or from any one of our lovely Invoketress ladies!

On Friday, June 7th, Natalie, Minerva, Mary and Ishra had the lovely opportunity to provide some entertainment to the Relay for Life, Cambridge walkers. Relays for Life are held all over to raise money for much needed cancer research.

On Saturday, June 8th, the ladies were blessed with a rain-free Guelph Multicultural Festival for the first time in years!  We were also honoured to be the Saturday night show-closers.  What a wonderful, receptive audience we had.  Be sure to catch some video highlights from our performance here.

The lovely ladies at the Guelph Multicultural Festival: Paula, Nicole, Cindy, Mary, Ishra, Minerva, Tova, Natalie.

This Saturday, June 15, catch some of the Invoketress ladies as they participate in a celebration of the Speed and Eramosa Rivers at Guelph’s 2 Rivers Festival celebration! They will be accompanying a drumming procession down the river so you don’t want to miss this! Catch them at The Boathouse, 5pm.

Also, this Friday and Saturday, Mary and Natalie will be attending some workshops from some of Ontario’s finest instructors at Rakfest, hosted by Guelph’s Hiba. They will also be performing at the Saturday night hafla. Check out the amazing offering of workshops! You can still register before noon, Friday, June 14th!

Lots still to come this summer….so stay tuned!

~ M.W. 

Busy Little Dancing (Queen!) Bees!

Springtime is always a busy time for bellydance. Not only are the girls being hired for more and more gigs, we’re also gearing up for our annual Belly Blush Student Recital! This year, Invoketress is working on a brand spanking new fun and cheeky tambourine piece as well as pulling out our exciting Tunisian piece that was unveiled at November’s MOSAIC show. There will also be new duets and smaller Invoketress group pieces choreographed by the ladies themselves. Such a talented bunch!

Despite being busy, the girls aren’t resting on their laurels. Always eager to learn more from the wealth of talent in the bellydance community and to broaden our horizons, we recently had Valizan come to teach the troupe some ATS basics. It was an awesome time – if you’ve never taken a class with Valizan, it is a must. Natalie took a workshop with Yasmina Ramzy, Mary took a workshop with Audra from The Dark Side Studio and Ishra took one with Cassandra Shore.

ATS workshop with Valizan!
ATS workshop with Valizan!

This Saturday, May 11, you can catch Invoketress at a Bracelets of Hope fundraiser in St. George’s Square, downtown Guelph.  That same day, Ishra is also one of the guest instructors at Flying Dance’s Company’s Women’s Dance Retreat.

As always, please check out our Performances section for all of our upcoming events!