Phoenix Belly Dance

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Teacher Profiles

Candice Frankland


Principal teacher, choreographer and founder of Phoenix Belly Dance.


Candice Frankland is the founder and director of Phoenix Belly Dance, a multi-award winning dance company and home to some of New Zealand's most sought after performers and teachers. Her troupe are the proud winners of the Jambalaya Dance Competition 2011, NZ Corporate Event’s Best Entertainment Company in 2012, and the Viva Eclectika 2013 Asia Vision Cup. Candice received the Tarazade Festival’s Trained by the Stars Award in Turkey in 2012, was winner of the Bellydance Evolution International Casting Competition 2014 (LA/Sydney), taught and performed at Tarazade 2015 in Turkey, and was cast as a supporting role in Bellyqueen NYC's 2016 Australian Tour of the Journey Along the Silk Road Show.


Candice first began her Middle Eastern dance training in South Africa, and soon discovered she had a natural aptitude for the movements. She quickly rose in the ranks to become a teacher, performer and choreographer under Angela Anzilotti of Belly Dance Goddess, and learned from masters such as Tamalyn Dallal, Ajsa Samia and Rania Bossonis. 


Since relocating to New Zealand, Candice has built Phoenix Belly Dance from the ground up, using her skills from a previous career as a business analyst to create an effective belly dance business and school. Candice and her team of teachers are made up of women of various different training and backgrounds, and their aim is to share the rich cultural experience of Middle Eastern dance. All classes learn the basic movements of Egyptian and Turkish cabaret styles (the genre that usually comes to the mind of Westerners when they hear 'belly dance'), but will usually also focus on a folkloric style as well. Candice has taught her students baladi, shaabi, saidi, khaleegi, Algerian, Turkish Rom, and more. She also teaches both modern and traditional props, and dynamic contemporary choreographies for the annual end of year student show. Her lessons also include warm ups designed to build core stability and strength, and cool downs to relax some of the more overworked muscles in belly dance, such as hip flexors, glutes and our upper trapezius muscles. 


She has been working hard at growing the community of belly dance in New Zealand with beautiful performances, producing theatre shows, project collaborations, appearances on TV, newspapers, magazines, and hosting her annual Weekend Belly Dance Retreat, which features international key note teachers such as Aziza, Kaeshi Chai, and Hadia, and high quality local instructors. She has also had the privilege of performing and teaching overseas, with high profile performances at the Comedy King Show in Fiji, special guest stars at the Sydney Latin Dance Festival in Australia, and Bellydance Evolution in Oz. Locally, she and her troupe have performed in the 2011 Rugby World Cup and at Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 to audiences of about 350,000 people.


As well as large scale professional performances, Candice has been involved with events for Women's Refuges both in New Zealand and South Africa (such as the North Shore Women's Centre), works privately with students who have Down's Syndrome, and performs annually at the InterACT Disability Arts Festival. It's one of her most closely held beliefs that belly dance has benefits for everyone, both psychological and physical. Many of the students in the Phoenix Belly Dance school have found belly dancing to be a catalyst for their personal growth, becoming stronger both physically and mentally, learning to love themselves and inspiring others to do the same. The multiple layers and genres of belly dancing allow students to explore and find the styles they are most comfortable with, ones which make them feel beautiful and powerful.

Cindy Corne


Troupe Dancer and Teacher for Phoenix Belly Dance


Cindy has danced for as long as she can remember. Though belly dancing is where her passion truly lies, she has trained in contemporary, Indonesian Jaipong and ballroom and Latin dancing. Tutored by international dancers Sandra Bogart and Kim Grison, she made her way into the professional belly dancing world by becoming the resident belly dancer at Nomad Cafe - a popular Middle Eastern restaurant in her hometown - and spent her time there honing her skills and knowledge of the art form. 

Cindy has trained with many high level dancers, including Jillina, Kaeshi Chai, Irina Akulenko, Elisheva, Aziza, Karim Nagi and Ava Fleming. She has performed with Phoenix at Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park, as part of the opening act for Bellydance Evolution in Oz. She was also cast in a supporting role in the Bellyqueen Journey Along the Silk Road in Australia 2016 tour.

Cindy is proficient in many props – including veil, cane, Isis and silk wings – and has experience in a range of performance types.

She is a dedicated, patient, and caring teacher who loves watching her students’ skills improve and their confidence grow. Her emphasis is on strong basic technique, modern choreographies, performance skills and of course, fun! Cindy’s infectious love of dance and thoughtful teaching style give students of any ability, age or background the skills to improve and excel.

Lisa Lawford


Troupe Dancer and Teacher for Phoenix Belly Dance


Lisa has been a performer her entire life- it just took a little while to get her on the stage. After experimenting with singing and acting in high school, she found belly dancing and hasn't looked back since. She has been a part of Phoenix Belly Dance since 2012, and has performed with them at events such as Coca Cola Christmas in the Park, opening the 2013 Sydney Latin Dance Festival, as part of the opening act in Bellydance Evolution in Oz, and was cast in a supporting role in the Bellyqueen Journey Along the Silk Road in Australia 2016 tour.


Lisa is constantly upgrading her repertoire, being skilled in a variety of styles (both modern and folkloric) and props (including fan veils, veils, canes, sills, isis wings, silk wings, and more). She has trained with Jillina, Kaeshi Chai, Sharon Kihara, Irina Akulenko, Hadia, Aziza, Karim Nagi, Ava Flemming, and continues to seek out new teachers and growth.

Lisa adores teaching, and being able to share what she knows with her students and watching them grow. Her classes teach basic, solid technique for beginners, including posture and building a vocabulary of dance moves. In addition to technique, Lisa also teaches performance skills and endeavours to explore the cultural aspects of Middle Eastern dance (whilst still having a ton of fun!).

Suei Lin


Troupe Dancer and Teacher for Phoenix Belly Dance


From a young age Suei has immersed herself in dancing and performed the art of Dun Huang dance. This dance involves very fluid and beautiful movements, many of which are similar to belly dancing. She has since found passion in belly dancing and went on to develop her belly dance skills from a variety of belly dance studios and have attended many workshops from well known belly dance instructors.


Suei has performed professionally for many years as a soloist, duo and within a troupe. The belly dance training she has developed after many years along with her background in traditional dance has shaped her into the versatile belly dance performer she is today. As a teacher, she strives to convey the technique and culture of the dance form, whilst providing a safe, educational atmosphere. 

Vanessa Castro


Teacher for Phoenix Belly Dance


Professional belly dancer and master teacher from Brazil, Vanessa Castro has around 13 years of experience in belly dance. She's the director of her school, 'Studio Vanessa Castro', in Curitiba Brazil. In 2014, Vanessa took her training to the next level, travelling around the Emirates, Lebanon and Egypt to learn more about culture and dance. Her passion for her art form is matched only by her love of teaching it.


Vanessa has something to offer for dancers of all levels- solid foundations and movements for beginners, and advanced technique for the more experienced. Her expert veil work and flowing movements make her a valuable addition to the Phoenix teaching team.