July 28, 2014

Start Your Shimmy

International sensation: She performs, choreographs and instructs belly dance across the globe, and has appeared on national shows such as Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Live With Regis and Kelly and MTV.

Road less traveled: After leaving the rigorous touring of Bellydance Superstars, she created her own troupe, Gypsy Sugar, and recently opened Ansuya’s Bellydance Studio in Naples.

Hippy upbringing: Her Indian-born father died when she was six. It was her blonde, blue-eyed American mother, Jenaeni, a belly dancer since the ’60s, who sparked her interest in the art form in the small California town of Ojai.

Camera work: As a teenager, she belly danced at Middle Eastern restaurants in Hollywood, Calif., before launching Yaleil, a resurgence of her mother’s dance troupe.

Familiar face: Also an actress, Ansuya was an extra in the Tom Cruise movie Jerry Maguire, appeared on the TV series Judging Amy and had recurring roles on the soap opera Days of Our Lives. “I enjoy being starstruck. I don’t want to get jaded.”

Entrepreneurial spirit: She offers group and private lessons in studio, plus girls’ night belly dance parties in studio or on location. Her performance and instructional DVDs, and weekly online classes, are available at ansuya.com.

Men allowed...sometimes: She offers co-ed drum circle classes at the studio taught by her boyfriend, Ozzy, of Miami.

Come as you are: Wear yoga clothes and no makeup, or if you’re in the mood, don full costume. “Come in, throw a hip scarf on, and you’ll dance differently.”

The red couch: Once in full belly dance regalia (complete with makeup session), get a portrait posing on the studio’s velvety red couch. “I want to have a place where they can come and reignite their confidence.”

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