2018 Fusion Dance Superstar Winner
Liz Azi is an award winning professional dancer based in Denver, Colorado. Her movement specialties include several styles of Raqs Sharqi, known in the United States as “bellydance”*, theatrical and folk dances stemming from diasporas of the MENAHT** region, and Transnational Fusion***.
She takes an anthropological approach to dance, with a focus on history, culture, and contextualization to inform her movement while also exploring modern archetypes, evocative presentations, and the liminal spaces between historical and contemporary dance aesthetics.
Liz Azi has performed and taught at dance conventions and festivals all over the United States and abroad. She has toured both regionally and internationally with Blue Star Turkish Folk Dance Troupe performing a variety of traditional Turkish folk dances. She has also been a cast dancer in Zoe Jakes' House of Tarot and a featured dancer in cabaret, vaudeville, and dance shows all over the country.
In 2017, she obtained her Masters of Medical Anthropology degree after researching the history of how the dance known as “bellydance” came to the United States and how participating in that dance culture may impact women’s relationships with their body and healthcare choices.
Her dance background was founded upon a decade of theater and musical education, and includes dance mentors such as Lisa Zahiya, Aziza, Sadie, Khadijah, Zoe Jakes, and Donna Mejia. She continuously studies with top dancers of both American and Middle Eastern dance styles, as well as regional folk dances, Indian classical dance, and circus and vaudeville movement traditions. Her continued education has brought her to study dance in several countries, including Turkey and Egypt.
Liz takes a thoughtful, yet playful approach to teaching movement. She strives to make dance education accessible to multiple learning styles and employs a somatic approach to connecting body and mind while sharing academic perspectives on the contextual experience.
*While the term bellydance is still widely used in the United States and several other countries, this term is currently being examined by the cross-national industry, particularly by dancers and scholars in origin MENAHT countries for its colonial legacy.
**Middle East, North Africa, Hellenic, and Turkey
***Transnational Fusion is a term coined by dancer and scholar Donna Mejia to refer to dance presentations that combine techniques, aesthetics, music traditions, and artistry from different genres of movement.