It’s one thing to have a dance artist be super passionate and dedicated to their discipline, it’s another to have one with a strong feminist outlook and the conviction not to shun controversial topics, like say, cultural appropriation and patriarchal models of women’s sexuality. Amber Eastman is that kind of dance artist and feminist. In this lively episode of MsRepresent: Behind the Face, a Fierce Woman, Amber talks honestly about the roots of tribal fusion bellydance by way of Middle East tradition, cultural appropriation, history, patriarchy and shares her thoughts about the need to build new feminist practices within dance communities. Get ready folks, we covered A LOT!
Amber Eastman is a feminist anti-violence worker, dance instructor and performer based in Vancouver. Amber has spent time working, studying and travelling in many countries around the world, which opened her eyes to the global impacts of violence against women, as well as the multifaceted ways that women from diverse cultures use dance and art for self-expression, peacebuilding, and community development. These experiences have deeply inspired Amber in both her professional and creative careers. Amber graduated with a Bachelors of Arts from UBC and a Masters degree in International Human Security and Peacebuilding from Royal Roads University. She currently works in Vancouver’s Down Town East Side as a violence prevention worker, offering support to women living with abuse. Amber is also a founding member of Luciterra Dance Company. Luciterra performs and runs a large dance school teaching a modern fusion style of bellydance. The four women of Luciterra are deeply dedicated to social justice, respectful conscientious fusion, and art innovation, and through their work they strive to develop a strong, supportive and empowering community for dancers. Amber is interested in developing the connection between her two careers by exploring the use of dance as a tool for trauma healing for women who have survived violence. Amber is a lifelong learner and is constantly inspired by the strong, intelligent and innovative women she encounters both in her anti-violence work and in her dance community.