VDA Artist Profile #125

Dancer with long, whipping hair, twirling in a full turquoise and black skirt
Dancer with long, whipping hair, twirling in a full turquoise and black skirt
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Cyndal Ellis

Cyndal grew up dancing in Houston, Texas, but has since found her home in New England. During her undergraduate studies at Smith College, Cyndal combined her love for both anthropology and dance. As part of her studies, Cyndal trained extensively in Arab-American fusion, popularly known as fusion belly dance, under the tutelage of Donna Mejia. She now lives in Southern Vermont, where she teaches and performs fusion belly dance, Dunham Technique, and creative dance for all age groups, including the very young and elders who are forever young. Cyndal currently teaches for the WINGS after school arts program and choreographs annually for their all district school musical, bringing the arts to life for children in rural VT. She is also a teaching artist for Head Start in the Arts, integrating dance into early education. Cyndal has taught at Jacob’s Pillow, Smith College, Landmark College, and the Southern VT Dance Festival. She co-founded SoBo Studio and Al Amal Bellydance Company in Brattleboro, VT, directing weekly classes and annual performances with a focus on building community connections through the arts. She was a member of The Sovereign Collective with which she performed and taught nationally. She was also one of the co-directors of Firekeeper Productions and toured the mulit-media production “The Mabel Story” throughout New England. Cyndal was drawn to Dunham Technique under the mentorship of Patricia Wilson. Dunham Technique, as “a way of life”, has deepened Cyndal’s connection to herself and society, her relationships as a dance educator, and her voice as a creator. Dunham Technique has re-asserted for her the power of dance to spark positive change. Cyndal is humbly grateful, as a forever student, for the international community of dancers, activists, and scholars who have been part of her Dunham education. She is honored to be a contributor to the continuation of the legacy of Katherine Dunham.