Love Your Belly - 31Hometown - London

Love Your Belly – 31
Hometown – London

Aiming to empower London-based women, Ozgen’s One Day in Istanbul presented by Dunya is an innovative community project that brings together a mix of amateur and professional dancers from diverse backgrounds to take part in an Ottoman Turkish-inspired dance theatre show. After the successful sell-out show on 2nd December 2012 at the Cockpit Theatre in London, the One Day in Istanbul team are looking forward to announcing another UK performance in 2013!

Love Your Belly (aka Rachel Kent) is one of our beautiful and talented cast members, and this is her story.

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I was born in London and had a close family. I left school at 16 and began my working life. I had many jobs into my 20’s before starting work as a Medical Receptionist, whilst working at Great Ormond Street Childrens Hospital I found I really enjoyed working with the children so started my journey into childcare. I worked as a school admissions officer to get a foot in the door until covering a TA post in the classroom. I found a permanent position at a local nursery school and have since gained an NVQ level 3 qualification in childcare. 5 years later I am still there now a Keyworker and team leader and assisted in the setting up of a new childcare service.

I began dancing at the age of 3 when I attended ballet classes until leaving primary school. I often took part in school productions and performances and really enjoyed being on the stage. At secondary school I joined a street dance class and we performed regularly at school events, in assemblies and at youth events held in Westminster. I shadowed my dance teacher during work experience and found teaching dance came naturally to me. I continued to teach youth dance classes for a while after leaving school then quickly got lost in working life.

Wanting to get back into dance in my mid 20’s I found street dance was no longer for me and gave up on the idea. I sadly lost my brother when I was 26, I was subsequently signed off from work to deal with the bereavement. With a lot of time on my hands I needed a hobby and spent hours looking on the internet for belly dance tutorials and practicing basic moves. Often I practiced twice a day it proved a fast track to feeling fit again and very beneficial for my general wellbeing. After 6 months of home teaching I found a class with Brixton Amar. I attended regularly and soon joined the troupe and began performing with them. I started teaching a beginners class after a year and trained hard to build on my technique. I have been belly dancing now for 4 years and have taught open level classes and workshops. I have learned numerous Egyptian styles and Turkish/Hungarian Gypsy styles and fusions. I perform regularly with Brixton Amar and as ‘Love Your Belly’ when performing as a solo artist.

Why did you decide to join the One Day in Istanbul project?

I was really interested in taking part in a dance based theatre production. I had previously attended workshops in Turkish Romany style and was keen to learn other forms of Turkish dance and styling.

What has been the best part about participating in this project thus far?

The best part has been learning more of Ozgen’s choreographies and preparing for the stage setting.

Love Your Belly2Stay updated about exciting opportunities with Love Your Belly and the One Day in Istanbul team at our upcoming show in another UK city in 2013 to be announced soon! To be the first to know, please email hello@dunyabellydance.com.

One Day in Istanbul (London) is proud to be sponsored by Zara’s Zouk and Oriental Istanbul. If you would like to participate as a Sponsor at our future UK show, make a donation or collaborate with us, please contact Michelle Deniz at deniz@dunyabellydance.com for details.