dancer / teacher / event organizer
How did Amanda become all this? Her journey began in the small town of Virolahti in the southeastern reaches of Finland, where Amanda’s hobbies included everything from track and field and basketball to drama club, but dance was the only one that stuck. Amanda started dancing in a cheerleading and show dance group, and soon Oriental dance entered the picture. At first, Oriental dance was just another hobby, but after her move to Lappeenranta, Amanda started to perform more with the Niilin Helmet troupe. When she found tribal-style bellydance in 2007, she began to train more intensively.
Like so many others, Amanda was swept away by Tribal Fusion bellydance after seeing a YouTube clip of Rachel Brice. Around the same time, Hannele Aaltonen came to Imatra to teach an American Tribal Style® workshop, which launched Amanda’s never-ending desire to learn more about Tribal Fusion and American Tribal Style.
In 2008, Amanda moved to Turku to study and soon found herself forming Elysium, Finland’s first Tribal Fusion troupe, with three other tribally-inclined dancers. During Elysium’s five-and-a-half-year run, the troupe brought Tribal Fusion and American Tribal Style to a wide audience in various types of events around Finland, from private parties to dance showcases. Elysium had the honor of being a pioneer of Tribal Fusion in Finland.
Even though tribal-style bellydance was her number one passion, Amanda still continued studying and dancing the more traditional Oriental dances. She was actively involved in the Turku-based Mizmar association of Oriental and other ethnic dances through 2008-2013. After moving to Turku, Amanda also started learning other dance styles, including at various times contemporary, ballet, jazz, hip hop, pole dance, and show dance.
In addition to dance, her years in Mizmar taught Amanda about organizing dance shows, as this was something that Mizmar did actively. This experience gave Amanda the confidence to organize not only a show, but an entire weekend of dance. Her first event, What the Fu****?!, saw the light of day in September 2013, and her next event, Back to the Roots, already in May 2014. Amanda has plans brewing for new events all the time!
Already in the early stages of Elysium, many were asking whether Elysium would teach Tribal Fusion bellydance, as there were no teachers at the time in Finland. Being beginners themselves, none of the Elysium dancers were ready to teach others, but after several study trips to workshops and intensives abroad, Amanda taught her first intensive in 2011. A year later she started to teach a weekly Tribal Fusion class at the Barker theatre in Turku. She currently teaches Tribal Fusion bellydance (weekly classes and intensives) and American Tribal Style (intensives). Amanda has studied dance pedagogy in the Summer University of Tampere in 2014-2015.
Amanda’s special interest is dance technique and she has been specializing in the Salimpour technique, which is an oriental dance technique created by the American dancer Suhaila Salimpour. Many tribal dancers use this technique in their own dance. Amanda was first introduced to this technique in 2008 in a workshop held by the Dutch dancer Arya Jansen in Pori. Amanda completed the level 1 certification of the Suhaila Salimpour Format two years later in Milan, Italy. The certificate program has five levels and currently Amanda is training for level 3. Amanda has also completed the ATS® General Skills certificate in 2009 and the level 2 certificate of the Jamila Salimpour Format in 2016.
In addition to being a performer, teacher and event organizer, Amanda is a life-long dance student, whose passion for dance will never end. She actively seeks to develop her own dancer’s voice by learning other styles of dance and by studying tribal-style bellydance as much as possible both in Finland and abroad.
Amanda’s dance history can be found here.