Interview: Leah Debrincat, Fusion Bellydancer

Franco Milazzo
By Franco Milazzo Last edited 79 months ago
Interview: Leah Debrincat, Fusion Bellydancer

After five years of performing at club night Circus, DJ Jodie Harsh is no stranger to the London club scene. To celebrate, Harsh has teamed up with snapper Tim Bret-Day to put together a free photography exhibition called This Is...Circus at Kingly Street's BOND which encompasses live performance, music and video.

Alongside images of the likes of Mathew Horne, Sadie Frost, Jonny Woo and Jaime Winstone, fusion bellydancer Leah Debrincat will be one of the acts dazzling the visitors as she combines her trademark nifty footwork with elaborate swordplay.

As well as gracing London's cabaret and circus circuit, Leah has appeared at tattoo and fetish conventions. She was born and lives in Enfield and previously worked as a special effects makeup artist for film and TV and for tourist favourite Madame Tussauds as a painter and hair artist.

How did you get into tribal fusion belly dancing?
I've been dancing since i was a kid, including tap and modern contemporary dance. When i was 18, I went to a traditional bellydance class for fun and became hooked. After a couple of years, I began performing Egyptian Cabaret Bellydance; however, I got quite bored with the style, traditional music and costume. I was introduced to an evolved style of bellydance known as tribal through a workshop with Rachel Brice, a Tribal Fusion Bellydancer based in the States. I had no previous knowledge of the style and I attended out of curiosity. I loved the style, it was challenging but so mesmerising and incorporated other forms of dance like contemporary dance and locking and popping. After that i went and took as many workshops as possible with various teachers.

You have a wide variety of tattoos. Do you have any favourite ones?
Probably my back piece. I love the detailed design and vivid colours. It's a double-headed phoenix which covers the whole back with the feathers coiling around my right leg.

Which London tattooists would you recommend?
I go to The Family Business in Exmouth Market, most of my tattoo work has been carried out by Steve Vinall.

You live in one of the London boroughs most affected by the London riots. What was your experience?
At the time it was pretty scary, bit like Gotham City brought to life! The area felt like a ghost town after the wreckage. However there was a strong sense of community spirit from the people of the town, who paraded the streets at night during the riots in order to make the streets safe.

How has the London cabaret/circus scene changed since you started performing?
Its certainly blossomed, which is nice to see and is continuing to do so. Allowing more opprtunities for variety acts such as mine. Cabaret is very exciting at the moment.

Talking of London, what’s your favourite…

…entertainment venue to go to?
Too many to mention, I have been quite fortunate enough to work at many great entertainment venues such as Boom Boom Club, This...is Circus and Torture Garden to name but a few. When I'm not working, I'm often at The Forum in Kentish Town catching a gig.

…place to get inspired?
The Barbican and Brick Lane in general.

…place to chill out?
Soho's Yumchaa with some nice tea and cake.

…place to get lashed?
Varies, last place was at The Ship in Soho.

As well as This Is...Circus, where else can people see you?
Some notable dates for London gigs, Boom Boom on the 29th and 30th at the Old Vic Tunnels and Forbidden Cabaret 9th November at Madame Jojo's. I'm also a regular performer for McQueen (shoreditch), La Rêve and Proud Cabaret/Camden. There's more information and dates on my website.

Photograph (c) Nathen Atia

This Is...Circus runs from this Thursday-Saturday. Entry is free and there is more information here.

For a weekly update on the zingiest cabaret in town, click here.

Last Updated 27 September 2011