Let me introduce myself, my name is Melanie Wallis and I have been dancing for about 11 years. I am a qualified health and fitness instructor as well as a dance instructor.
My first introduction to Belly Dance was an article in the Express Newspaper about my dearly departed Friend and Mentor – Janka. After a brief phone call, where I struggled to understand what she was saying due to her accent. Off I went to my first class and was hooked.
I love everything about the art form and immediately got stuck into looking up information on the internet. Articles (because back then blogs were few and far between), video’s (YouTube was my friend), I googled costumes and how to make and how to do.
My very first workshop was by Marina “Asja Samia” Rehbein in about 2007. Janka, Debbie, and I road tripped it to Knysna to attend. I enjoyed it so much, Janka invited Marina to our little city and I eventually did my teaching exam under Marina.
Marina also held a yearly festival in Cape Town, which I attended every year from 2008. Here I got the opportunity to learn from internationally acclaimed teachers.
Many of whom, I am now friends with. For a full list, you can read my bio on the performers’ page.
But just in case you missed it (it might not be obvious from the amount of time’s I have mentioned her name) Marina “Asja Samia” Rehbein, is an amazing mentor and inspiration to me, during her time here in South Africa. She always had time for even the silliest question and was always happy to “do it again”!
That is also not to say that there are not wonderful teachers here in South Africa! We have quite a few actually, I am pleased to be able to say that given the opportunity we learn from each other.
Do I have an all-time favourite local teacher? Nope, but I have been inspired by so many ladies. And if you watch closely, I occasionally channel my inner (Fariha / Thelma / Senta) Each of these ladies, I hold in high regard. They inspire me and motivate me to grow and attain new heights in the dance in my current space. But as I grow and learn, the list changes and evolves with me. If I had written this blog last year this time, those names would have looked very different!
Although, I am a teacher. I consider myself an eternal student, in this art form, we have so much to learn and so much space to grow into.
I have much to offer, and so much more to research and learn.
In our studio, we provide a safe space for you to grow and express yourself. We are happy if you join us for a season or even longer, we know that life is hectic and that your time is precious, but so are you as a woman, a mother, a breadwinner. You need to look after you too and dancing is a wonderful way to do just that!
Melanie started dancing and performing for Janka’s Oriental Dance Studio in 2006. Under the mentorship of Janka Kliment, Melanie began her training to become an Oriental Dance teacher in 2008 and completed it under Asja Samia in 2011. Melanie is also a certified health and fitness instructor. Following Janka’s return to Slovakia in 2013, Melanie and Jessica chose to carry forward the vision of their friend and mentor. They purchased the studio and continue to teach the art and beauty of the dance to all aspiring belly dancers.