Click the image below to read Teaona’s interview with GoSolo Magazine by Subkit:
Jessica Teaona (also known as simply "Teaona") has years of experience teaching dance to both children and adults. Additionally, she has over a decade of experience performing at a range of events and venues, including birthday parties, restaurants, outdoor festivals, and even fashion shows. When she is not dancing, she enjoys cycling, playing with her puppy, bird watching, gardening, and playing music (on cello or piano).
Polynesian Dance (Hula and Tahitian Dance)
Polynesian dance—which includes Hawaiian, Tahitian, Maori, Samoan dance, and many others—is very culturally rich and requires in-depth knowledge. Each of these cultures is quite unique, even while they share similarities with each other. The dances are no exception to this, and it takes a great deal of dedication to understand the differences and the cultural context of each dance. Teaona has studied Hawaiian and Tahitian dance since 2005, and she continues to learn more today. She has most recently kept up with workshops from award-winning dancers and beacons of wisdom in ‘Ori Tahiti including Tahia Cambet, Hinatea Colombani, Tehani Robinson, Hirohiti Tematahotoa, Heimaire Amaru, and Leolani Gallardo, to name a few.
Middle Eastern/North African Dance
Middle Eastern and North African dance (also known as belly dance or Raqs Sharqi) was one of Teaona’s first loves (a shared space with hula). From the first class she ever took as a curious kid in 2005, she knew she had found something special. Teaona’s first exposure to dance was through Amira Dance Productions (located in Kansas), where she learned belly dance, hula, and Indian dance. From there, she went on to study belly dance for a few years with Sevdiah of Florida. She was also most recently a student of Vanessa of Cairo. Teaona has kept up to speed over the years with numerous workshops offered by such phenomenal dancersand teachers as Madame Raqia Hassan, Aziza of Cairo, Nada El Masriya, Ahmed Hussien, Lubna Emam, Faten Salama, Tito Seif, and Simon of Lebanon.
Besides cabaret-style belly dance, Teaona also specializes in Middle Eastern and North African folkloric dances. Those include Lebanese Dabke, Egyptian Saidi, and many more. Teaona is truly a multi-faceted artist. Extensively trained in Raqs Sharqi and classically trained Indian dance (Kathak), she has also extensively studied Hawaiian hula and Tahitian dance. She makes sure to study each style and its cultural background in depth on a continuous basis, ensuring that her performances will be as authentic as can be.
Teaona’s journey with Indian dance began with Bollywood dance classes in 2007. From there, she wanted to learn more about the background of the dance. Because of this hunger for deeper understanding, Teaona trained in kathak (one of India’s classical dances) for 5 years, and she continues to learn and perfect the craft. She has taken workshops in kathak with the late Pandit Birju Maharaj and Vidushi Saswati Sen. Teaona typically performs Bollywood style routines with kathak influence.