Artistic Director, Sydney Middle Eastern Dance Festival
Principal, Newtown Middle Eastern Dance Centre
Teacher, Choreographer, Bellydancer
Leonie Sukan has been dancing and teaching for more than 30 years and is principal of the Newtown Middle Eastern Dance Centre, which she founded in 1991. The Newtown Middle Eastern Dance Centre provides tuition for students of the dance, coaching for professional dancers as well as a certification course in Teachers Training.
A talented choreographer and dynamic performer, Leonie’s choreographies have been performed by troupes from Townsville to Tasmania.
Family ties in Turkey keep her up to date on the latest costumes, music and dance styles.
Leonie has played a crucial role in the development of Middle Eastern Dance in Australia as producer and artistic director of The Sydney Middle Eastern Dance Festival. The Festival was the first of its kind in Australia and is now in its 24th year. It attracts dancers and audience from all over Australia and overseas and is the biggest in the southern hemisphere.
In 2006, Leonie pioneered the export of Australian Bellydance to Turkey when she was invited by the producers of Turkey’s “Oryental Star” TV show to teach the contestants and perform on the show. Turkey’s premier bellydancer and international superstar Tanyeli, introduced Leonie on the show as ‘one of the best in the world.’
Leonie’s teaching philosophy is based on enjoyment of the dance. She sees the art of Middle Eastern Dance as a celebration of a woman’s body – no matter what shape it is! Leonie’s classes are equally as popular with students who just want to have fun and improve their fitness as they are with those who want to seriously pursue the dance as career.
Leonie trains professional dancers and specialises in drawing out individual talents and style. She is artistic director of her own troupe of dancers “The Fabulous Turkish Delights” who have successful careers as soloists and troupe members and enjoy a varied and engaging performance life.
As well as teaching at her own successful school, Leonie also teaches popular classes at the City Tattersall's Club and Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL. She is also much in demand as a guest teacher at festivals and schools around the country.