In 2006 Leanna started studying Oriental Dance with local teachers in Hamilton and eventually in Toronto. She has studied with many international instructors such as Mahmoud Reda, Aida Nour, Tito Seif, Randa Kamel and has been under the tutelage of Yasmina Ramzy since 2014.
Her most memorable dance experiences include playing a bellydancer on the TV show Reign (2016) and performing live for 50,000 people in the Cirque du Soleil Pan-Am Opening Ceremony (2015). As a lead dancer in Arabesque Dance Company she has performed in the stage production Sawah (2014), the International Stage at the CNE (2016- 2018) and Dance Ontario Dance Weekend (2014-2020, 2022). Leanna is credited as a rehearsal coach and dancer in the film Al Qamar (2021) by Yasmina Ramzy Arts.
Leanna currently directs BellaDance who performed in Hamilton’s biggest arts festival, Supercrawl in 2019. She also performs regularly as a soloist and has engaged audiences with her dancing for over 15 years.
Belly dancing is not simply about movement, it is about empowering people to love their body and to live their daily life with renewed self-esteem. We place a lot of importance on personal growth and development at BellaDance, and motivate through our teachings of health, discipline and movement.
I started dancing at 16 when the pressures of looking a certain way had really taken a toll on me. I had horrible self esteem issues, couldn’t show any skin and was extremely shy. Not being able to take dance classes on my own, I dragged my mom to my first ever bellydance classes. I remember being at the back of the class, feeling so vulnerable and so uncomfortable. Looking around I wondered how all these other women could show their tummies, stretch marks, scars, cellulite etc. Seeing that they were comfortable in their own skin made me wonder if I could ever be in mine. It took time. With weekly classes I realized that I could move my body in ways I never thought I could. With my progress I started to feel more comfortable and more confident. Looking back i’m so thankful for this amazing journey of self acceptance. Now I do this to help others.