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Melanie LaJoie (Russia & Native American)

By August 18, 20212021 Film Subject

Melanie LaJoie is one of the preeminent belly-dance performers and teachers in Central Florida. Maybe she can chalk up her success in the field to her Russian Gypsy blood, which commingles with some Native American heritage to prove this Boston native’s philosophy that “Being an American is as diverse as you can get.”

 

She had been dancing for nearly two decades before coming to Orlando, performing at high-profile events throughout the Northeast and traveling to Greece, Egypt and Morocco to hone her skills. The opening of Universal Studios Florida brought her here to perform and ultimately manage an entertainment team. But after a few years, she was ready to strike out on her own. Over the years, her A MAGI World Belly Dance Company has trained students for placement at the parks, local schools and other venues. And even though her physical studio closed last year (a casualty of the pandemic), she continues to teach out of other locations, including the Valencia College West Campus. 

 

“For me, my great accomplishment here is training some of the best professional belly dancers in the area and my dance group – watching them grow, flower and become beautiful butterflies!”

 

An insatiable learner herself, she has studied multiple folk dance forms both here and abroad, and has even become a practitioner of Chinese kung fu. And that’s not to mention her parallel work as a “mystic psychic” and ordained minister in the Universal Life Church. 

 

And it’s clear she considers Orlando the ideal platform from which to do it all. “Central Florida is like paradise and the vibe here is amazing!” she says. “It’s a flourishing, artistic area!” – a condition she herself can be proud of helping to foster.

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