Posted on 14/09/2019 by siteadmin

Getting to know: Samantha Neal

Samantha Neal is one of those people who just has a really good energy.  She inspires her students and is a great role model in the bellydance community too.  I am delighted that she is teaching at Fantasia this year.

How did you get into belly dance?
I loved watching old films as a child and particularly loved the Arabian nights movies. I was mesmerised by the beautiful dancers and decided I wanted to be a bellydancer when I grew up. 

Tell us a bit about your dance journey?
I was stuck in traffic on they A40 and back then a chap would walk along the dual carriage way selling newspapers. The traffic was going no where so I bought a copy and flicking through I saw a tiny ad. It was an advert for a bellydance class so I called the number as I had always wanted to try it.  Galit Mersand answered the phone and soon I started classes with her and was quickly hooked, going from one class a week to three. Galit suggested I go along to her techers classes too. So I went to join the amazing Josephine Wise and beautiful Yvette Cowles. Very quickly my hobby turned into a passion. I attended workshops, signed up for Summer School and the Fantasia festival. Went to Cairo with Kay Taylor on a number of Farida Adventures. I trained as a Jwaad teacher and started teaching my own bellydance classes in North London.
How did you get into teaching?  What do you like most – and least about teaching?
It just happened really. I loved dancing so when Jo asked me if I had considered the Jwaad teaching training program, I decided to go for it. I wanted to share our beautiful amazing dance with others. Over the years I have seen ladies blossom and glow and beautiful friendships develop. The only downside of teaching is finding a good dance studio with decent flooring, mirrors and parking. They are like gold dust in london. 
You love performing – tell us about your performance work and your dance troupe.
As a new dancer. Galit suggested her class perform at an event. I thought it would be fun. I had only been dancing a few months.  So little did I know how huge the Fantasia was. This was when it was held at Great Portland St and I remember watching the performances and being in complete awe but terrified at the same time. I can still remeber seeing Jo Wises dance group Masriat for the first time. It gave me goose bumps. So a few years later when Jo asked me if I would like to join Johara I can not describe the amazing honour I felt. I was lucky enough to tour with Johara on 3 shows and one my particular highlights was when we performed at The Bellydance congress. I now have my own student dance troupe Badra Bellydance. I love dancing with this amazing group of girls. We are dance sisters and I am always so impressed by their commitment and camaraderie with teach other.
What do you like to do to relax?
I like to go to gym and I do yoga. I particularly like hot yoga and dance flow yoga. I also love marvel movies and, like a lot of ladies I love a bit of retail therapy. 
What is your star sign?
I am a gemini
What is your favourite colour and why?
I don’t have a favourite as such I just love bright colour. I am really into hot pink and orange at the moment. 
At Fantasia you are teaching ’Shimmy Showcase’ – can you tell us a bit about what to expect:
We will be getting our shimmmy on. A journey from the small understated shimmy all the way to a big bouncy show stopper. How to create the power and energy adding layer along the way. 
Lastly, what would you like to be doing in 5 years time?
Still dancing – in my own purpose built studio I hope.

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