Phoenix Belly Dance

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The Phoenix Belly Dance 6th Annual Retreat, 11-13 November 2016

You've found one of New Zealand Belly Dance's most exciting, popular, and fun events of the year! Welcome :) 

Our vision is to enable you to learn and grow in your dance, to reach dancers who feel out-of-touch or are struggling to get inspired in their dancing, and to make the retreat a safe environment for dancers to really let their hair down, be silly and play. 

The Phoenix Belly Dance 6th Annual Retreat , 11-13 November 2016

The Belly Dance Retreat is an incredible weekend where you will experience inspiring technique, choreography and discovery workshops with international and local teachers, entertainment, games, non-stop laughter, relaxation, and a chance to make new dance friends! There are 40 spots available and we have been sold out for three years, so if you would like to book your spot please register now. 

You couldn't find a more beautiful spot to relax and have fun than at the stunning Bella Rakha Retreat Centre, boasting 32 acres of native bush and bliss, just 25 minutes from Auckland CBD. 

This year, you will get the chance to learn from our 2016 retreat keynote teacher...  Fusion fanatics and improv imps rejoice, because next year's teacher is going to be… ANASMA.

Anasma is a versatile and complete artist: dancer, choreographer, Oriental Fusion master teacher, Yoga Teacher, singer, song writer, artistic director and producer. Drawing from her cross-training in academic, ethnic & urban dances, acting, pantomime, yoga, martial arts…, Anasma focuses on making dance meaningful and touching through storytelling, character development, truthful emotions and aesthetic powerful movement. She is recognized by her peers for her wild creativity, great expressiveness, constant risk taking and pushing the envelope. Click here to check out her website!  You can find out about the lineup of workshop teachers and activities throughout the following months both here and on our Facebook page, so stay tuned!

If you've never been on our retreat before (or you have and would like to relive the memories), please feel free to check out our past retreats, with information on activities, teachers, and testimonials. You can also watch trailers for the 2013, 2014, and 2015 retreats, which give you a pretty good idea of all the wonderful things you'll get up to!

Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions or would like to register your interest, I’ll be happy to chat to you!
Candice / 0211704183 /

Retreat 2016 - What else is included:

There will be ample opportunities for you to dance, watch our teachers and other guests perform, and show off your improvisation skills. It’s going to be heaps of fun, whether you’d prefer to sit back and enjoy being entertained or if you’d like to share your dance with us! This is one of the most encouraging environments to perform, so feel free to perform no matter what your experience level! Send your music ahead of time if you’d like to present an item or two! Group and solo items are welcome! Works in progress are also welcome!

You'll get a chance to participate in loads of fun and challenging belly dance games and activities throughout the weekend:

  • Morning warm up classes to ease into the day
  • Brush up on your knowledge for the Belly Dance Quiz Night
  • Meditation and relaxation time
  • Hot Topics! Belly Dance discussion panel
  • Our famous Crazy Belly Dance Challenge!
  • Optional extra: 1 hour Full Body Massage ($90), limited spots
  • Performances each night by our teachers and participants
  • A Welcome drink and gifts
  • Surprise activities... and much more!


This year, you will get the chance to learn from our 2015 retreat keynote teacher... the one... the only... ANASMA! She is Candice's absolute favourite fusion dancer and we are so excited to be hosting her! Anasma is a versatile and complete artist: dancer, choreographer, Oriental Fusion master teacher, Yoga Teacher, singer, song writer, artistic director and producer. Drawing from her cross-training in academic, ethnic & urban dances, acting, pantomime, yoga, martial arts…, Anasma focuses on making dance meaningful and touching through storytelling, character development, truthful emotions and aesthetic powerful movement. She is recognized by her peers for her wild creativity, great expressiveness, constant risk taking and pushing the envelope. Click here to check out her website! 

Updates will be sent confirming workshop topics and teachers. There will generally be two streams of workshops, including technique/style/choreography workshops, and also theory and discussion based workshops to broaden our knowledge. 

NZ/International Teachers for 2016 Annual Retreat

Our teachers this year hail from far and wide around NZ, Australia, and France! For their bios, please scroll down the page.

  • Anasma (of Tunisian/Vietnamese descent and currently based in France)
  • Candice Frankland (South African/New Zealand)
  • Moya Harvey (New Zealand/Australia)
  • Robibi Harvey - live drummer  (New Zealand/Australia)
  • The Ruby Lady (Egypt/New Zealand)
  • Lisa Maia Ambrose (New Zealand)
  • Ziva (New Zealand)
  • Krishna Gotty (New Zealand)

  • "Hip Placement...! A Whole New World" - The feet are the base and support upon which we build our wonderful dancing beings. Dancers will be invited to bring intellectual and sensory awareness to the feet. After a little introductory foot massage, toe isolation, and walking meditation, we will bring focus on our body weight and relationship between the feet, the leg, the hips, and the trunk as we shift our weight, push into the floor, send the energy into the ground.
  • "Crowd Pleasers: Funny Surprises to Keep Your Audience Focused!" - this Practice infusing your current dancing and enhance your performances with powerful unexpected gestures. We will apply those explorations to a drum solo, a traditional Egyptian piece or a Tribal electronica music.
  • "World Dance Fans: Techniques and Combos from each Continent" - Dancer will learn to manipulate single and double fans. Movements and combos shared by Anasma will offer international flavors and spices: bellydance, modern dance, wushu (martial arts), flamenco, hip hop, salsa.
  • Friday afternoon Advanced class: "The Secrets of a Charismatic Stage Presence" - Dancers will define an intention for their performance and learn how to PROJECT their INTENTION with Breathing techniques, their gaze, facial expressions, muscular engagement and extensions. They will play with their audience and connect with them in the most genuine way possible, letting the heart be touched inside and outside. Developing self confidence : working with the performer’s empowerment: loving the person looking like you in the mirror, creating a goal and then elaborating methods to get there.

Two wonderfully prepared healthy dinners will be provided for all dancers to fill their bellies after the days’ fun, and snack platters will be provided twice a day during the day between activities. You can also purchase our pre-packed lunches and breakfasts or you are welcome to pack your own lunches, breakfasts and drinks for the weekend (we have structured it this way to help you make savings by supplying some of your own meals).

Once you have registered, you will receive a detailed information pack a few weeks before the Retreat. This will include travel information and maps, a suggested packing list, daily schedule, and any other final details. Please let us know if you would like to share accommodation with any attendees in particular, and we will do our best to make it happen.


  • Subscribing allows you to get updates. Your email address will be kept private.

About Anasma

Seen in more than 35 countries, and all five continents, featured in many performance DVDs, instructional DVDs and a CD (“Bellydance Hip Hop Liquid Fusion,” “Wave Explosion,” “Bellydance Experience,” “Bellydance NYC: the Ultimate Fusion Experience,” “Fantasy Bellydance,” “Tarot Bellydance,” and “40 days and 1001 Nights,”) Anasma is a multi-facetted and versatile artist: artistic director , producer, choreographer, dancer, Oriental Fusion master teacher, singer and song writer.

Half Tunisian and half Vietnamese, having lived in Paris, New York City, India, the World Citizen was naturally drawn to mixing art forms to express who she is in her Art. Drawing from her cross-training in multiple arts forms (Acting, Pantomime, Yoga, Modern Jazz, Contemporary, Oriental Dance, Hip Hop, Salsa, Martial Arts…), Anasma is known for her avant-garde creativity, aesthetic powerful body language and her capacity to tell stories and to touch the public. Always learning, researching, she constantly intents to push the envelope while sharing her discoveries with generous pedagogy in a playful, self-accepting empowering atmosphere. 

Dancing since a young age, traveling to dance with semi-pro compagnies, appearing on TVs shows and concerts, Anasma chooses to persue her passion for Dance and Arts after obtaining a Business management degree from the EDHEC business school in 2006. That year, she joins the professional dance company revered in the Bellydance world -Bellyqueen, as one of their principal dancers. She trains, teaches and tours with them. In 2008, she founds her own project with co-director Ranya Renee : the Theatrical Bellydance Project, producing events promoting the encounter between theater techniques and dance. Many large scale New York Theatrical Bellydance Conferences take place in Manhattan as well as other intensives around the world (Paris, Japan, Sweden). In 2009, Anasma starts her solo career. Since then, she has been touring Europe, North and South America and Asia to teach and perform in dance festivals, dance schools intensives and prestigious theatres.

In 2010, Anasma creates World Citizen Dance, her production company that will later on create shows, Cds, DVDs. She directs her first interactive show “On your Marks, Get set, Dance!”/ “Avanti, Danziamo!”/”A vos boitiers, prets, dansez!” presented in Paris, NYC, Rome and Milan, where the audience suggests themes for the performers to improvise to. In 2011, she is awarded for the Most Creative Solo by the SUA Artists. In 2012, she launches the Anasma World Citizen Dance School collaborating with Linda Faoro’s Travelling Dance School, with weekly Master Classes and week-end intensives « Gates to Fusion » in Paris. In 2012, she writes, sings and recordes her first album “Chance is Back,” composed by Blastermind and stars in her first music video in Hawaii “Ocean Elevation,” directed and shot by  Lea and Nico Features. The album and the music video are both released in 2013. That year, she founds with Linda Faoro the International Urban Bellydance Collective gathering artists to create unique choreographies and collaborations. In 2014, Anasma produces and directs the hour long Dance Theater show «1984…Now», inspired by George Orwell, with original soundtrack.
In 2015, obtains from the Ashtanga Yoga Paris school her 200 hours Yoga Teacher Certification, recognized by the Yoga Alliance, as well as a Fly Yoga certification. After a year of professional dance training in Contemporary, Modern Jazz and Modern, she obtains her EAT degree in Contemporary dance. She currently performs with Dominique Lesdema dance company, the theater company Compagnia Degli Gnomi and projects with Gaelle Gillieron and Kimson Sellu (of Wanted Posse). In Paris, she teaches weekly classes for yogis, dancers, movers in general, in prestigious schools (Fly Yoga studio, Studio Harmonic and LAX Studio). She also launches her Corporate workshops projects  “So Happy At Work”.

Anasma regularly collaborates with Linda Faoro, Tjarda Van Straten, Compagnia Degli Gnomi, Piny Orchidaceae, Zoe Anwar, Pete List, Hilde Cannoodt, Marco Meneses Obellixx, Arnaldo Iasorli, Karima El Amrani, Yohann Guichard Acro Yoga France…

You can read more about Anasma on the About page of her website.

2016 Pricing

In the Retreat package we have included for you one workshop with Anasma, our international guest artist, and she will be teaching four workshops in total. There will be an advanced level workshop on the Friday afternoon before the Retreat officially begins, and the remaining three workshops will be held on the Saturday and Sunday. We will also have five more workshops with teachers from around New Zealand and their workshops are included in the retreat package price.

The Retreat prices include:

  • Accomodation for 2 nights,
  • 2 dinners and 2 snack platters,
  • Included workshops (1 x Anasma & 5 x NZ teachers),
  • 2 shows,
  • entertainment and activities throughout the weekend

2016 NZ/AUS Teacher Line Up

Candice Frankland 

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. 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 the 2015 Tarazade Festival in Turkey, and was cast in a supporting role during the Bellyqueen Journey Along the Silk Road in Oz 2016 Tour.

It's one of Candice's most closely held beliefs that belly dance has benefits for everyone, both psychological and physical. 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.

Candice's Workshop Topic: 'The Berber Women of Morocco'

In this interactive workshop, we will cover some of the basic steps of Moroccan Chaabi, and look at the history and culture of Moroccan women. Candice brought back lots of videos, photos, Moroccan jewellery, dance adornments, even a couple of instruments from her travels through Morocco, and has been bursting at the chance to share what she learned about these enigmatic women and their traditions.

Lisa Maia Ambrose 

of Ylimayu Dance has been dancing for over ten years, with training in ITS, ATS, Turkish, Egyptian and African styles. She is a certified Bellyfit instructor (trained under CEO of Bellyfit International, Alice Bracegridle), has trained with Suhaila Salimpour, and performed both locally and internationally.

Lisa focuses on using both each dancers own authentic expression and the aesthetics and inspirations of the many dance styles that inform Tribal Belly Dance to cultivate strong, confident and beautiful dancers. Lisa offers classes in Tribal Fusion Belly Dance, American Style Belly Dance and Improvisational Tribal Style Belly Dance styles in her home town Dunedin, where she is dedicated to developing her dance company Ylimayu Dance. She loves teaching and sharing the art of Belly Dance  and is endlessly inspired by how much she sees Belly Dance moves her student towards wellbeing, happiness and personal growth.

Lisa's Workshop Topic: 'Rebetika Fusion'

This workshop opens with a brief talk on the history and significance of Rebetika Music and the associated dance Zeibekiko. Participants will learn 6 tribal fusion combos, designed and interpreted specifically for a Rebetiko/Zeiboko Inspired Fusion dance piece, and 2 basic Zeibekiko inspired steps as the glue of the fusion. The combinations and steps will be taught in order of their appearance in the short choreography that we will learn at the end of the workshop. Original Choreography by Lisa Māia Ambrose. 

Moya Harvey 

Moya is the founder and director of the A'Diva Brisbane Bellydance Collective, one of Australia's newest collaborative dance schools. As a member of some of Australia's premiere folk troupes and specialising in folk styles including Turkish Rom, Dabke and classical Perisian, she is a staple performer at festivals and has recently performed as a featured dancer in some of Australia's high profile bellydance productions. A'Diva was proud to be part of the successful production team who brought Bellyqueen's renowned theatre production "Journey Along The Silk Road" to tour OZ earlier this year.

Moya, along with her drummer husband, Robibi, a fellow A'Diva collaborator, who performs with the classical Arabic ensemble "Shanasheel", are excited to be presenting a lively workshop together specifically for our retreat.

Moya and Robibi's Workshop Topic: 'Dynamic Dramatic Drop Dead Drum Solo' 

Learn a quick but power packed drum solo set to live drumming as we work our way through technique principals that cover each of the 5 D's of this amazing drum solo. As the title says, this is not for the faint hearted and you'll come away with something that will make you feel exhausted but exhilarated. As it hs all the hallmark complexities of an awesome live drum solo, including light and shade, fast and slow, drama and suspense. Who knows- you may even get to perform it together!


Ziva (Silvia Jasna Edge) is on a mission to create happiness through movement. This has seen her train as a Pilates and yoga instructor, but if she had to pick one movement modality to accompany her to a desert island, it would definitely be American Tribal Style® bellydance.

Ziva has taught workshops nationally and co-ordinates an amazing group of dancers in the lower north island, who perform together as Zilzal Tribal Bellydance and Diaspora Tribal. She sees ATS® as a vehicle for giving women permission to be unashamedly fabulous, to take up space, and to inhabit our bodies as a celebration. She's a massive fan of lifelong learning, and of constantly breaking through one's own limits in technique, performance, and personal practice. Ziva's own lifetime of learning has included certifying in FatChanceBellyDance® General Skills and Teacher Training twice each. She is currently enrolled in the Sister Studios Continuing Education programme, completing one-on-one tuition and workshops with ATS® founder Carolena Nericcio-Bohlman and other accredited teachers such as Kristine Adams, Megha Gavin, and Devi Mamak.

Ziva's Workshop Topic: 'ATS® Technique From the Ground Up'

A drills and technique workshop in which we embody the specific movement techniques that create the ATS® aesthetic. We'll look at the foundational movements of this style, how to create successful transitions and combinations, and drill them in a group improvisation context. Bring finger cymbals!

Krishna Gotty 

Krishna is a yogi, artist, teacher, student, performer, community worker, environmentalist, business woman, wellness consultant, humanitarian, healer & visionary.

Krishna's expansive and unorthodox approach to teaching, healing and community service comes from a colourful and multi-dimensional life journey. 

We are so pleased to have Krishna guide us through our morning yoga warm-ups for the 2016 retreat! Here's a message from the lady herself:

"I am honoured & delighted to have this opportunity to share my Yoga Flow class with you all at this year’s Retreat. Just like Belly Dance, Yoga is deep, earthy, grounding & expansive. The ultimate goal, for me, is to be able to flow, weave & be totally in tune with the energy, ability & needs of those who are in my class. I have a great feeling that the intimate synergy of us practicing Yoga together is going to add to the unique & beautiful experience for us all. Here’s to Yoga & taking our love of movement & life to the NEXT level.
Kia ora Belly Dance Sisters...
Hari Om Tat Sat xxx Krishna"

The Ruby Lady

Born and bred in little old New Zealand, The Ruby Lady is now a jet setting international Belly Dance and Folklore performer who is steadily forming an illustrious dance career.

She has appeared in large stage productions and Oriental Dance festivals throughout New Zealand as well as Sydney, San Francisco and New York, rocked South Sinai in Egypt performing nightly in luxury hotels and tourist attractions, and has traveled all across India dancing in weddings, festivals, Bollywood concerts and exclusive high end events.

The Ruby Lady has dedicated her life to studying this dance form, all the way from the cultural and aesthetic roots to the contemporary branches and beyond, and has traveled across the globe in pursuit of further knowledge and understanding of belly dance, the body and creativity. She has been hosted for workshops in every major city in her home country of New Zealand where she has taught with passion and generosity to sold out audiences. She has also taught in festivals and private studios in Australia, the United States and in the Nile Group Festival in Cairo.

It is through Oriental dance that The Ruby Lady has found a home, a community and a life-long obsession. Through her journey in dance she has discovered her own strength of mind, body and spirit, as well as the strength and beauty of those around her. It is, and always will be, her most important goal in life to share the liberation that she herself has found through learning, teaching and performing the art of belly dance.

Past Retreat Teachers

Candice Frankland (Auckland, NZ)

Aziza (Montreal, Canada)

Rose Ottaviano (Perth, Australia)

Vanessa Castro (Curitiba, Brazil)

Bibiana Franco (Adelaide, Australia)

Rabiya (Sydney, Australia)

Mirian Caberlon Chamberlain (Wellington, NZ)

Pip E-Lysaah (Wellington, NZ)

Zummarad (Christchurch, NZ)

Christine Haviland (Auckland, NZ)

Angela Mott (Auckland, NZ)

Suezy Robertson (Auckland, NZ)

Julie Anterrieu (France / NZ)

Aida Sajadi (Iran / NZ)

Tanya Bamford King (Tauranga, NZ)

Dallia (Auckland, NZ)

Tatyana Tania Laptsevich (Belarus / NZ)

Margaret-Mary (Auckland, NZ)

More Info

Thrilling workshops, making new belly dance friends, non-stop fun and activities, relaxation time, and a stunning weekend away at our new location, the spectacular Bella Rakha Retreat Centre! The venue is surrounded by nature, facilities are lovely and inviting with comfortable one or two sleeper rooms, spacious workshop rooms and brand new kitchen and dining facility. The venue has recently been refurbished and plays host to several local artists and sculptors, and has a massive Frisbee golf course!

Testimonials from Past Retreats

'Thanks for an awesome weekend! I had a ball, learned so much, loved all the food :) ' -Wai Ling

'Had a fantastic time! The place was a great venue, wonderful tutors, delicious food and wonderful atmosphere.' -Anonymous

'Loved the whole weekend, and definitely will be back.' - Anonymous

'Just what I needed to have... no favourite workshop, all valuable!' -Suezy

'Thank you so much- I've had a fabulous time. The photoshoot and massages were a great idea to have too! :) ' -Carol Hunt

'Loved the whole weekend and definitely will be back.' – Nyla Gray

'Awesome weekend ,Thank you :) ' - Viv Proffil

'Great intro to Auckland based teachers for me.' – Rachel Aitken

'Thank you, thank you, thank you!' -Anonymous