Meetings with remarkable women
Belly dance diva's: Ava Fleming: 2004 Bellydancer of the Universe
Introducing Ava Fleming - the shimmy-queen and a beautiful woman currently residing in Phoenix, Arizona - is probably not necessary.
She has a mysterious charisma which - together with her extraordinary technique - makes her truly an exceptional artist.
Winner in the category Egyptian style of the 14 th Annual Belly Dancer of the Universe Competitions in 2004, Ava Fleming is now one of the most respected belly dancers in the United States. No surprize that peoples' "Choice and Congeniality" awards went also to Ava Fleming. Anyone who keeps an eye on the contemporary belly dance DVD productions must have come across her name on the crème de la crème of instructional and performance videos.
Ava has an international solo career but also leads her own troupe: "the Black Opal Dance Company" or Black Opal Troupe as director, choreographer, and creative force.
She just did a cruise workshop on the Caribbean together with Kami Liddle of the "Bellydance Superstars"
Ava Fleming trained around 5 year with Sahra Kent, and about as long with Angelika Nemeth, with the coach of Mowenna Assaf.Ava was a member of Angelika's, Sahra's and for a brief time Mowenna's dance companies.
With her extensive knowledge and experience in international dance styles, Ava Fleming brings a truly unique and modern approach to the belly dance community with her amazing pelvic combinations and dramatic sword dance solos.
Ava's teaching and performances throughout the World have created quite a demand for her practice of Raks Sharqi. Loved by musicians with whom she has performed, her focus on isolations and music interpretation has captivated audiences in the U.S. and the rest of the world.
She left briefly the belly dance world after her mother died but soon her vocation called again and again and in the end she couldn't escape her destiny...
With her extensive knowledge and experience in international dance styles, she has had the opportunity to perform with: Boom Boom Bollywood under the direction of Samantha Riggs, Punjabi by Nature, and Domba.
The Arizona State University engaged Ava Fleming to teach belly dance classes that attracts and inspires many students into the fascinating world of belly dance. Besides all that, she's an extremely charming and intelligent personality. That's why she is featured as the first dancer in this series of "Meetings with remarkable women".
How did you get into belly dance?
"It was by accident that I discovered oriental dance. I was living in San Diego, California and watched a performance of an oriental dancer in a restaurant. Later on I stumbled on an advertisement of ethnic dance and decided to check it out. To my own sur prize I recognized the teacher as the oriental dancer that I just observed a few days earlier. Call it serendipity. One of the dances she taught was an "Egyptian dance". I was immediately hooked.
She was part of a troupe. One day they needed a dancer for a show and I just popped in.
Normally belly dancers start their career in restaurants and then eventually do bigger shows, I immediately started doing shows.
Do you consider yourself a belly dance fusion dancer?
I do Oriental cabaret style. Fusion belly dance came later, a natural evolution.
Developing my own style also came naturally. In fact belly dance found me. Fusion is the logical evolution of dance form that is always transforming in music and movement language. Fusion takes influences from everywhere and I do use tribal and cabaret elements in my costuming but oriental cabaret remains the dominant factor.
Don't people give you sometimes odd looks when you tell them your belly dancer? As former management executive, this isn't an obvious thing too do.
Yeah, that is inherent on the job I guess.
What was the most remarkable event in your career?
When I decided to quit my day job to teach. This came shortly after I had decided to give dancing up completely. Angelika Nemeth invited me to Japan with her, as she was teaching some workshops, once I was there I realized I couldn't live without the dance. Came back to the states and changed my life.
It would have to be either eating a full meal consisting of lasagna minutes before performing or being accosted by a patron (female) who came up and unannounced, kissed my belly, that was weird.
Yeah, that is inherent on the job I guess.
What do you remember most of your visit to Europe?.
I did enjoy my trip there - everyone was lovely and the food was great!
Is there a difference between the European and American belly dance scene?
Yes, I think there is a definite difference between the European and American belly dance scene. However that could be because my trips to Europe are limited to belly dancers that want to take classes and improve upon their dancing and art. Where as in the states I have been around all of the people that want to take classes for all sorts of reasons.
Also the performances I do when I travel are usually attended by those that appreciate the art, whereas in the states I have done many a gig at places where it is viewed through preconceived notions.
Interview with Ava Fleming on music choice
Interviewing Ava Fleming part.2 - dealing with challenges in life
Ava Fleming on professional skills of a dancer.