2009 Photographs by Ken Stein.
Hair and Makeup by Masae Satouchi.
"You must do the thing you think you cannot do." Eleanor Roosevelt.
Kaeshi Chai is a world-fusion bellydancer who co-founded the professional dance company Bellyqueen and PURE (Public Urban Ritual Experiment), an international community of artists who create positive change through dance and music. Kaeshi has performed and taught internationally, and is an alumni member of the Bellydance Superstars, and Jillina's Bellydance Evolution. She curates the weekly Djam NYC event showcasing dancers and musicians, and teaches at the Bellyqueen School of Dance and Steps on Broadway. Her mission is to develop bellydance as a stage art and explore it's powerful, healing properties.
Kaeshi has performed and taught all over the world including the US, Canada, Europe, Mexico, Carribean, Morocco, Bali, Australia, South America and throughout Asia. In 2002, she was booked with Bellyqueen on a 6 month contract performing 5 shows a day to live Arabic music at Aladdin's Desert Passage in Las Vegas. In 2003-2004, she was part of the first professional touring bellydance company in the world, the Bellydance Superstars, and held the position of dance captain for the 2004 US & Canadian Spring Tour.
She has performed with Natacha Atlas, at Central Park's Summerstage, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, BAM, Folie's Begère in Paris, Bloomsbury Theater in London, Teatro Smeraldo in Milan and has made television appearances on Conan O'Brien as well as BBC's Blue Peter. In 2005, she made history as the first foreigner to teach bellydance in Taiwan, and in 2006, she was the first US-based dancer to teach in mainland China. From 2007-2009, she toured with 6-13 dancers as Bellyqueen Dance Theater, traversing the United States 3 times, Canada 3 times, Western and Eastern Europe and Japan.
In 2009 and 2010, she was honored to be the featured soloist in Turkish dancer Ahmet Luleci's Collage Dance Ensemble Psiphas / Rituals shows. From 2009-2014, she toured as a principal dancer and choreographer with Jillina's Bellydance Evolution show and in 2012 she danced and choreographed for Kenji William's NASA-sponsored Bella Gaia project. She was also a judge for the UltimateBellydancer.com 2012 competition.
In between her extensive travels, Kaeshi curates a weekly dance and music Wednesday night event in New York's East Village called "Djam NYC", showcasing international and local talent. She can be seen in the following DVDs: Instructionals - "Hip Pop NYC with Kaeshi", "Expressive Bellydance Veil with Kaeshi", "Bellydance Jam" by Bellyqueen; Performance "Bellydance NYC: The Ultimate Fusion Experience", "Bellyqueen: The Bellydance Experience", Bellydance Superstars "Live in Paris at the Folies Begère"; and documentaries "American Bellydancer" and "Crazed: The Bellydance".
Kaeshi is an AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America) certified instructor, and was also certified by ACHPER (Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation). She completed an anatomy and kinesiology intensive with Amy Matthews from LIMS (Laban/Bartenieff Institute for Movement Studies,) pelvis anatomy workshop with Sherri Winston, Strength Training certificate with Australian fitness expert Ashley Jones, has taken Tamalyn Dallal's Middle Eastern Teacher's Training multiple times, Suhaila Salimpour's Level 1 Certification, Laura Shannon's Sacred Circle Dance Teachers Training Intensive, Fat Chance A.T.S. American Tribal Style Bellydance General Skills with Carolena Nerricio in Orlando, FL, SEEDs (Self-Esteem and Empowerment through Dance) with Myra Krien in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Dances of Oneness with Banafsheh Sayyad in Yalova, Turkey, PIT Comedy Improv Level 1 twice, and Dancing Thru Pregnancy Certification, 200-hours of Yoga Teacher Training with Yogaworks and is currently undergoing a 9 month anatomy course through ASFYT and drama therapy at the New School.
On February 20th, 1996, she started her bellydance training under the guidance of Jeannie Kasis and soon after, Terezka Drnzik from Sydney, Australia. She continued on in the US, Egypt and Turkey studying with many top dancers. Her three main mentors that continually inspire her in vision include Jillina, Tamalyn Dallal and Dalia Carella.
One of her greatest joys in life is sharing her love for bellydance with others by teaching.
Outside of Bellyqueen and PURE, dance companies in which Kaeshi had the pleasure of dancing with include: Bella Gaia (2012), Jillina's Bellydance Evolution (2009-2014), Ahmet Luleci's Collage Dance Ensemble (2009-2010), Elly Shu's Chinese Dance Company (2004), Bellydance Superstars (2003-2004), Dalia Carella Dance Collective (2001-2002), Ranya Renee's Maqamikaze Dance Company (2000), Shoshana's Dance Company (1998-1999), Serena Studios (1997-1998), Chinese Youth League (1988)
Musicians and Bands Kaeshi has had the pleasure to perform with include:
practices meditation on a regular basis and is inspired
by buddhist and taoist philosophy. She also believes in supporting worthy causes, and has been the sponsor to a child living in the Dominican Republic since 2006 through Children International to help care for children in developing countries by making monthly donations to cover medical care, education and clothing.
Kaeshi graduated with honors from a 4 year degree in Visual Communication Design from the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia and is an award winning designer and illustrator. She has illustrated over 20 books and has designed extensively for MTV, Beliefnet and countless other clients.
You can e-mail her at kaeshi (at) gmail.com.