Hello. I am Essa Duhaime, and I am a Bellydance Performer, Trainer and Evangelist.
I hail from Quebec, the french capital city of Canada. I had formal dance training in Ballet from the age of 5, but quickly changed to Ballet-Jazz as it allowed for a lot more expression. I started competing, performing, choreographing and teaching from the age of 8. I have studied Ballet, Jazz, Funk, Breakdancing, Hip-Hop, Salsa before finally encountered Bellydancing!
At 20, I moved to Victoria, Canada and completed College and University Education, while exploring new dance styles & horizons. That is where I encountered my first memorable exposure to Bellydancing… when I met the playful & talented Egyptian dancer, Nada. A member of the Reda Troupe, she got me hooked to Bellydancing! From the very first day, I was mesmerized by the Power of this Art that displays deep feelings of freedom, grace and eternal joy! I started to go to her house and began learning about the Egyptian culture, language, expressions, music and this beautiful oriental dance. We started performing together.
From my first experience with bellydance, I knew right then and there that if I would ever teach dance, it would be this style nothing else! I wish to share bellydance with the world, and women of all cultures!
In 2007, I got an offer to come to India to perform and choreograph for movies. I resigned from my job, sold everything I had, and was off to India with my two suitcases. Within ten days, I was in India! Now, 12 years later, I am still here; learning, and growing so much everyday!
In 2007, little was known about Bellydancing in India, the art was misinterpreted and misunderstood a lot. I shifted my focus from performing to teaching. I was the first to launch & conduct ongoing Bellydance classes the full year round in Pune City.
I founded Diva Bellydance Academy Pvt. Ltd. in 2009 – “Pune’s First Bellydance School”. At the school’s peak we had 8 centres, 5 teachers and up to 200 dancers every week learning bellydancing under my women-only dance company. Now 12 years later, I have taught & performed in 40+ Indian cities! I am proud to say that the respect & appreciation for bellydancing has grown immensely!
I speak, read & write Hindi, am a certified Pranayama & Yoga teacher, and learned graphic designing, all here in India. I met my husband here in India and we now have two wonderful children; from who we learn everyday about being better world citizens!
I got diagnosed with a slipped disk when my older child was about 18 months old. This seemed like a tragic, end of the world situation for me as a dancer. However, the spine surgeon simply said I should restart dancing, that my muscles had gone weak due to pregnancy; and that I should find someone to guide me to restrengthen the key muscle groups. Dr. Renu Mahtani guided me to total recovery from my slipped disk through pranayama and yoga.
Through studying bellydance for 18+ years and also having studied yogic philosophy in India, I understand that I am on a yogic path, that my dancing is my spirituality and; after a maternity break of almost 5 years, i realized how empty I felt without it.
I devote all my energy and passion to performing and teaching bellydance because I strongly believe in the benefits & power that the art brings – creation of emotional, physical, mental & spiritual balance in women’s lives. Being part of such life-changing and transformational experiences makes me feel complete and blissful, accomplished and also gives me a feeling of making a difference!
Bellydancing has such magical powers it is hard to describe in words, one has to experience it from within! When women join my classes, they begin a mind and body transformation allowing them to realise their full potential.