Meet Pooneh Alizadeh. She is one of our BC Culture Days ambassadors and is incredibly excited to share her passion for dance during Culture Days. Pooneh has her own dance academy in North Vancouver called AMED and has been practicing Middle Eastern dance since she was 5 years old. She shares her love for dance with her community by teaching classes and performing all over the lower mainland.
For Pooneh, dance has been a means of expression that goes beyond words. Originally from Iran, Pooneh moved to B.C. sixteen years ago and has used dance as a way to express herself and develop deep relationships with her students and her community. Dance gave and continues to give Pooneh self confidence and the ability to communicate with people from a variety of different backgrounds. Dance has become intrinsically linked to the way Pooneh goes about her life. She often says, "I dance because I must," as it provides her with a form of expression that is incomparable to anything else.
The way Pooneh is dedicated to providing an inclusive environment for her students is apparent in the way she invites the public to join her in her performances. Pooneh's teaching style is all about the shared experience: the release of worries and the replenishment of one's soul. "Anyone, at any age, with any background can enjoy and benefit from dancing with me," says Pooneh. She even has a student attending one of her classes that is 85 years old. "There are so many benefits from dance. The question should not be 'Why should we dance?' but rather, 'Why should we not?'"
Pooneh's favourite thing during her performances is to look out into a crowd and encourage them to dance with her. "My moves are easy to follow and the music is catchy. You must join in." Pooneh's goal for her Culture Days activity is to get as many people involved in her activity as possible. Last year, 700 people attended her dance class and this year she is looking to get even more! She says, "Dancing makes me so happy, I cannot live without it. I love looking into the crowd and seeing everyone smile back at me because they are happy too." Pooneh will be teaching a style of dance she created herself that fuses together Persian, Arabic, Samba and Belly Dance styles of dance condensed into easy to follow moves. She will also be holding her class outside, a key aspect of her Culture Days
activity. She believes that dancing outside frees and relaxes the body and allows her students to connect with their environment.
Pooneh is excited not only to participate in Culture Days, but also to be able to get more members of her community involved in arts activities like dance. "Words cannot describe how much I love dance. It is emotional for me. There is no dance without real emotion."
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