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Meet Taka Carnes

Today we’d like to introduce you to Taka Carnes. 

Hi Taka, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve always known I wanted to dance. When I was 8, I finally convinced my parents to enroll me in ballet and I started studying dance. I spent the majority of my childhood and adolescence in a dance studio. After I graduated high school, my family went to a Moroccan restaurant called Mataam Fez. It was an incredible place that looked like the inside of a genie bottle. The food was wonderful, guests sat on the floor, and they featured a nightly belly dance show. The bellydancer was so captivating and gorgeous! After the show, my father got her information about dance lessons and convinced me to start taking classes. 

I instantly fell in love with the art form and became obsessed with everything belly dance. Before I knew it, I was performing professionally at Mataam fez and other venues that hosted belly dance shows. 

Eventually, I started teaching belly dance, performing and touring nationally and internationally, and winning belly dance competitions. Over the years, I’ve had the honor to tour with a troupe throughout the United States and Europe and perform at events, such as Global Dance Festival, Electric Daisy Carnival, Decadance, and Alex Grey shows to name a few. 

Currently, I am performing at venues around Denver, collaborating with artists in the community, teaching, and I’ve started producing shows that promote culture, Love, and diversity. 

Belly dance has been such a blessing in my life. I’ve had the opportunity to learn so much, travel to many places, and connect with amazing people from all around the world. My goal is to share my passion for art and culture to promote love and diversity. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Oh my goodness, there have been many struggles. The life of a performing artist is not an easy path. I feel a lot of performers can attest to the struggles of learning to negotiate our worth artistically, navigating politics in dance communities, countless injuries, and working multiple jobs to support ourselves and our artistry. Performing takes a lot of time, resources, and dedication. I’ve had to sacrifice, being able to hang out with friends, my weekends, and have even struggled to find work/life balance with my partner. 

Beyond all of these external challenges, I think the greatest and most valuable lesson I’ve had to work through is the internal struggles as an artist. I think many artists go through similar issues, but I’ve definitely given myself analysis paralysis and not put out work due to self-doubt. The best advice that helped me through this was being told, that the world wants to see art, beauty, and creativity. By allowing myself to get in my own way, I am taking that experience and offering away from others, and from myself. I’ve really had to learn to get out of my own way and let go of those negative voices. It’s always a bit of a struggle for me. However, these days when worries of “not being good enough” or worries of what others may think surface, I trust the process and dive deeply into my work. Even in failing there are invaluable lessons that can be obtained. 

I have found a lot of gratitude through these challenges. In overcoming them, I have developed character, work ethics, and a stronger sense of self. It’s always a process, but through hardships and struggles, I have found a lot of growth and compassion. 

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a professional belly dancer. I teach, perform, and produce events. I think the thing that I am the proudest of and what sets me apart from others is my openness to go outside of the box. 

In the belly dance world, there are a lot of “do’s and don’ts.” On one hand, it is important to respect the cultures and history of this art form. However, some create “rules” that I have found limit my creative potential and even limit demographics and marketability for shows. 

For many years I have received criticism for performing belly dance at burlesque shows. Regardless, of my critics, I continued to work with not only the burlesque community but also the circus community and with many other creatives. I have cultivated amazing relationships with brilliant performers. My mission is to promote culture, history, diversity, acceptance, and Love. 

This past year I started producing shows at Blush and Blu and The Clocktower Cabaret. I’m very proud of this because I’ve been able to bring together an incredible pool of talent representing other mediums besides just belly dance. This has allowed me to present very entertaining and diverse shows with high-quality talent. 

My openness and belief in my mission, allowed me to bypass the critics, and curate shows with the message of Love, diversity, and empowerment. 

Can you share something surprising about yourself?
I’m probably the most extroverted introvert you will ever meet, and I’ve had to overcome massive shyness. 

Contact Info:


Image Credits
Mel Haynes Jr.
Cj Nicolai Photography
Angela Kane
Jordana Sturaro
Cynthia Hollings Morris

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