About

About

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Luciterra Dance Society is a Fusion dance school and performance group aimed at providing innovative, accessible, and conscientious dance instruction and performance. Emerging out of the counterculture community of East Vancouver, their entertaining performance style is a product of the contemporary digital age. Luciterra's style draws inspiration from each company members’ various training in bellydance, contemporary, jazz, and waacking, in a hybrid of mechanical robotic movement juxtaposed with sweeping lines called Neo Bellydance. Neo Bellydance is a modern expression of a time honored artform connecting a powerful, traditional art form within the context of the contemporary entertainment industry. It brings elements of modern dance forms to the powerful body isolations, undulations and refined musicality of Middle Eastern dance commonly known as bellydance. Neo Bellydance honours, appreciates and admires the traditional dances that it is based on, not looking to sever the connection, but to bring new elements to the table. Fiercely dedicated to technique, safety, and conscientious expression, Luciterra strives to educate students and audiences on the histories and politics of dance, as well as create safe spaces for discussions on topics such as body image and trauma healing. Classes are held in Vancouver and focus on conditioning, technique, and repertory. Classes are co-taught by the Luciterra instructors.

Current Instructors

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Nikki Mae

Nikki Mae is a movement artist, teacher, and massage therapist living on the unceded occupied territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. Movement both liberates and enthralls Nikki in all its different forms and she recognizes it as a way to empower and connect to herself and her community.

 

From her hometown in Calgary AB to her current home in Vancouver BC Nikki’s studies include a wide variety of different modalities including American Fusion Bellydance, Raqs Sharki Contemporary, Jazz, Whacking, and Cirque. Her journey into Middle Eastern dance, otherwise known in America as ‘bellydance’, began in her early teenage years, and continues to be a primary style in her current work as a fusion artist. The contrasting sharpness and fluidity in the isolated movements of the body and the expressive nature of the style are what made her fall in love with this dance form. Since moving to BC over ten years ago, Nikki has been exploring the world of Fusion Bellydance through paths of deeper learning of the history of the style and the many socio-political aspects of how and where it’s practiced. Her performance style elegantly blends her love for the modalities she studies, seamlessly weaving them together in a unique expression of her lived experiences.

Nikki Mae began as an instructor at the Luciterra School Of Dance in 2017 where she now co-manages the school and production company with partner Maeghan Tuckey. As an instructor she explores with her students not only the movement vocabularies that inform her style but also the histories and current politics of the styles she blends. Nikki believes that fusion dance is a beautiful thing when practiced from a place of mutual respect and understanding of the cultures it shares in and is rooted in solid technique. She also draws on her career as a Registered Massage Therapist to share her knowledge of anatomy and self care with her students to maintain a healthy, body positive approach to their practice. Forever a student and lover of dance, Nikki is honoured to share her passion with you.

 

Maeghan

Since an early age, Maeghan has been drawn to music and movement. Her dance journey began while growing up in Western Australia where she took classes in jazz, ballet, tap and acrobats. After moving to Canada in her early teens she continued her studies, expanding into contemporary, modern and lyrical dance styles. Forever curios about new dance disciplines and merging mediums, Maeghan started training as an adult in 2012 with Luciterra and was hooked! She was immediately attracted to the fusion dance style’s sharp isolations contrasted with soft, dreamy movement choreographed with innate musicality. In 2017 Maeghan was invited to join the Cast of Luciterra’s feature length show (i.m)position and performed in Vancouver’s Revolver Festival. Most recently, she has become a member of the Vancouver based performance group, Omnika. There is such beauty in exploring, learning and expressing yourself through movement and she is honoured to share that with others.

 

Founding Directors

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Amber

Amber Eastman is a dance instructor, performance artist and feminist anti-violence worker based in Vancouver. Amber is passionate about exploring innovative mediums for social justice praxis, and finds inspiration in using dance for healing, empowerment and community development. Amber currently also works in Vancouver’s DownTown EastSide as a violence prevention worker, offering support to people who experience abuse and gender based violence.  Committed to being a lifelong learner Amber holds a masters degree in International Human Security and Peacebuilding, and is currently completing training in Somatic Therapy. Amber continues to study with international dance instructors, traveling as far as India in her quest for knowledge. Through her work Amber strives to develop an accessible, conscientious and supportive community for dancers.

Laura

Laura June explores dance with an intersectional feminist framework and a community development model. Raised in ballet and jazz, Laura began her contemporary dance training in '94, competing provincially through her high school years. She went on to a decade of study in bellydance with multiple mentors, most notably Suhaila Salimpour (Berkeley, USA), as well as two years enrollment in Colleena Shakti and Sudhansu Puhan's odissi (classical Indian dance) program under tutelage of Sujata Mohapatra (Rajasthan, India). She has now come full circle back to her contemporary dance roots, training and teaching locally in Vancouver. In her undergraduate work Laura studied art history and social theory, while also completing a certificate program in Sustainable Community Development. Laura is currently a Dance Studies student, pursuing her MA in the Comparative Media Arts program at SFU’s School of Contemporary Arts.

Naomi

Naomi Joy has been working as a full time movement instructor since 2008. She is a certified pilates and yoga teacher. Her diverse training in anatomy, theatre, fitness, dance, self expression, and somatic emotional release have shaped her into becoming a unique instructor, as well as a charismatic performer.  Naomi has travelled world wide and studied with many wonderful dance teachers, but her most influential to date would be Suhaila Salimpour and Colleena Shakti.  She is a graduate of the New York American Musical and Dramatic Academy with intensive studies in theatre performance and history. Naomi continues to study new movement modalities to stretch her comfort levels and challenge her physical limits.

Gillian

Gillian Cofsky is a student, a teacher, a dancer, and an organizer. After falling madly in love in 2002, her relationship with dance has since grown into a career as a choreographer, performer, educator, and co-founder of Luciterra Dance Company. Gillian is currently enrolled in the Professional Accounting program at Langara College, balancing her passion for creative expression and love for organizational structure. She is fuelled by her commitments to empower the arts and social justice sectors to thrive in the larger economic landscape and to build communities through art, wellness, and movement.

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Director photos by Kristine Cofsky Photography