Mae the Bellydancer is a tribal fusion bellydancer, performance artist, producer and teacher in Chicago, IL. She is the producer of the tribal and tribal fusion bellydance event, the Glint and the director of the the troupes the Black Silk Road and Down Hips Down. Mae has incorporated her 23 years of training and performance to create a style uniquely her own, with effortless athleticism, a flair for storytelling, yet still faithful to her middle eastern dance roots.
Mae began her bellydance training in 1992, joining MEDO (Middle Eastern Dance Organization) in Midland, TX under the guidance of Karen Sharma, a long time Amaya devotee. After seeing MEDO perform in her city’s spring art festival, Mae found out where these lovely women practiced, and sat in the lobby of the dance studio where they practiced every week for almost 6 months, until they finally let the then 13 year old, into their fold. Mae cut her teeth in American Cabaret style bellydance performing at oil baron galas (Midland is headquarters to many oil companies) with Arabian nights themes, doing bellydance tricks for tips, while balancing the tip basket on her head. She apprenticed with seasoned “belly-gram” dancers, sewed sequins and coins to their well loved costuming for instruction, and perfected her hair-o-graphy skills by the age of 17. At 18 she moved to Dallas, TX and while in college, racked up more performance experience at various restaurants and at the Scarborough Faire. In 2004, she moved to Chicago where she was welcomed by the burlesque community with open arms, and soon started her own burlesque troupe, the Varietease Cabaret with her co-producer, Back Door Aly. In 2008, she created the Glint, a wildly successful bimonthly tribal and tribal fusion bellydance event where long form bellydance has been resurrected and creativity is always encouraged. In 2010, she moved on to create another burlesque and side show troupe called the Knock Knock Hot Spot, with a knack for the vaudeville razzle dazzle. Today, she continues to reek havoc all over the country teaching, producing and performing in halfas, burlesque shows, clubs, bars and festivals.
Mae has taken instruction all over the country in middle eastern dance as well as Polynesian dance, Flamenco, Sevillanas, North African Dances, tribal and tribal fusion dance, and most recently fire spinning classes with the great and wonderful Ellie Sorokin. In her mid twenties, after over 12 years performing, Mae decided to focus on teaching bellydance with an emphasis on intentional movement, influenced by the new tribal fusion bellydance styles coming out of California. Witnessing many, many great performers sidelined in their prime by unintentional damage done to their bodies by careless (though really impressive looking) moves, Mae began her shift in training to find ways to create striking intentional and balanced movement based on muscular vs. momentum driven dance. Mae’s current dance curriculum is based on drilling a handful of basic yet innovative movements, the lateral torso balancing technique called “discopasta”, creative traveling and building up musculature that can be stretched and clenched at will, at the same time. This, in combination with an emphasis on “performing out” towards your audience, and taking full command of your stage, is how Mae has created two of the most dynamic bellydance troupes in the Midwest, Down Hips Down and the Black Silk Road.