Red Veil Studio

A gypsy who likes to ‘go with the flow’. A lover of dance, music, bright colours and beautiful costumes. A confident, bubbly person with a soft, feminine heart. Ballito mother of three, Ruschka Simionato seems almost born to be a belly dancer.
Passionate about encouraging women to reconnect with their femininity, Ruschka’s Red Veil Studio belly dancing classes at FITPOD are designed to encourage her students to embrace their creativity, celebrate their roots and discover their confidence. 
Originally from Johannesburg, Ruschka’s love affair with music and dance started from a very young age. “I discovered ballet and Spanish dancing at the age of five. I loved the structure and control of ballet, but also the bright, beautiful costumes that came with Spanish dancing … not to mention the castanets!”
As she grew, so too did Ruschka’s passion for dance. “I danced five times a week. It was all I ever wanted to do. I didn’t do any other sports and I lived for classes, shows, competitions and eisteddfods.”
Initially wanting to become a ballet teacher, Ruschka completed her teaching degree until reaching ‘mid-levels’, when she was forced to step away and enter the working world.
It was only when she moved to KZN at the age of 26 that she first discovered belly dancing. “It was so different to what I was used to. It was ‘flowy’ and unstructured and it took me a while to get used to that style of dance. But once I did, I flourished.”
Ruschka took over from her instructor when she went on maternity leave and her client base started to grow. Although she tried to step away from teaching from time to time to focus on her kids and sales job, Ruschka says people were always asking her to run classes. When the FITPOD studios opened, she started offering weekly belly dancing group classes.
Like for many women, life is busy for the full-time working mother of three children (ages 17, 14 and 12), but Ruschka says dancing is her outlet and her ‘happy place’.
Her classes are a safe space for women to reconnect with their feminine spirit, and allow their creativity to flow. “I encourage my students to choose their own outfit colours and beading. I want them to feel free, beautiful and fluid and interpret the music for their own, unique personalities.”
Belly dancing is a Middle Eastern dance form that originated in Egypt as a pre-war dance for men. It has evolved over the years to become softer and more feminine, and is often seen as a celebration of the women’s body, reproductive ability … and life itself.
So, who should do belly dancing? “Anyone can do it, as long as you like dancing and music and enjoy Eastern culture. My classes are all about enjoying yourself and having fun. They are small and intimate and we work on perfecting a routine before moving onto the next one. Belly dancing is about becoming comfortable in your own skin and space, and I encourage my students to bring ideas to class and show me what they would like to try and learn.”

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