Virginia is the director and principal of Cinnamon Twist School of Belly Dance, Wollongong’s largest centre for the study of traditional Middle Eastern dance and contemporary belly dance. Virginia has a lifelong interest in dance but when she saw an amateur group of belly dancers in early 1997 she was immediately drawn to the earthy grace and mesmerising sensuality of the dance. She began taking belly dance classes right away and began performing professionally two years later. Virginia continues to study, teach and learn the art of belly dance in all it's forms both nationally and internationally. Some of Virginia's instructors include: Jrisi Jusakos (Sydney), Belyssa Radzivanas (Perth), Amera Eid (Sydney), Terezka Drnzik (Sydney), Elizabeth Strong (San Francisco), Morocco (New York), Dina (Egypt), Artemis Mourat (Maryland, US), Amel Tafsout (UK), just to name a few.
Research Virginia started her professional belly dance career while studying at University. After completing two Bachelor degrees at the University of Wollongong (Australia), she was awarded a prestigious scholarship to undertake her Doctorate of Philosophy which she completed in 2005. Virginia wrote her thesis on the history of belly dance in literature and culture and has since presented numerous papers and seminars on belly dance at both national and international conferences. Virginia has published a number of works on belly dancing (details below) and plans to publish her full thesis in the form of a printed book in the near future.
Teaching At the end of 2004 Virginia began her own belly dance business, Cinnamon Twist School of Belly Dance. Virginia's teaching philosophy is based on the notion that dance is a community endeavour as well as a personal journey. In all Virginia's classes she is strongly committed to providing quality instruction in a supportive, fun, and encouraging environment. Cinnamon Twist continues to be dedicated to the public presentation and preservation of the folk dance and contemporary dance culture of the Middle East.
Cinnamon Twist Belly Dance Cinnamon Twist Belly Dance Troupe represents an active and vital part of local community events and cultural festivals in the Illawarra such as Thirroul Seaside Festival, Corrimal Spring Fair, The Illawarra Folk Festival, just to name a few. The troupe comprises of women of varying ages, backgrounds, and experiences – women who share a love and dedication for the art of Middle Eastern dance. Cinnamon Twist Belly Dancers are available for hire at your next function.
Virginia is available on request for lectures, seminars, and/or belly dance demonstrations. Publications
"Belly Dance through Pregnancy: An Ancient Dance for a Modern Mama!" Early Years Magazine, Issue 3 (2010)
"Belly Dance for Kids" Coast Kids Magazine, July (2009).
Conference Papers Presented
Good Vibrations: Sex, Race and the Body in 19th Century Constructions of Belly Dance. Nineteenth Century Sex: Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Association Conference (INCS). University of California, Santa Cruz (March 2003).
"Sequins are a Girls Best Friend: Belly Dance and Feminism" Making an Appearance: International Conference on Fashion, Dress and Consumption. University of Brisbane, Australia (July 2003).
“‘How does she do that?’: Belly Dancing and the Horror of a Flexible Woman” Body Modification: Changing Bodies, Changing Selves. Macquarie University, Sydney Australia (April 2003).
“Stereotype and the Construction of Cultural Difference in Loubna Haikal’s Seducing Mr Maclean” Knowledge and Nation: Australasian Universities Language and Literature Association (AULLA Congress XXXII) University of Wellington, New Zealand (2003).
"Controlling the Unruly (Soft) Body: Belly Dance, the Grotesque, and the Politics of Appearance" Body Modification Conference: Mark II. Macquarie University, Sydney Australia (April 2005).