Photography & travel tips from an award-winning photographer, educator & wanderlust

The LOVE Project: Belly Dancing

Alla Ponomareva: What do you do in Korea?

Rosalie Knaack: I am teaching English at JoongBu University, and I just graduated with an MA in ceramic design from Kongju University.

AP: How long have you been doing it?

RK: I’ve been working and studying here in Korea for almost nine years.

AP: When did you first get into Belly Dancing?

RK: I took my first classes with my best friend 10 years ago for just a month or two before coming to Korea. I was sad that I didn’t try it before because it was so much fun. I finally started up again last year.

AP: How long would you say you’ve been doing it?

RK: I’ve been dancing at KAIST in the culture class under Dominika’s instruction for a little over a year, so in total I’ve done it for around a year and a half. It’s not a long time to learn a dance style, but thankfully I have several years of other dance experience to draw on.

AP: What is your favorite style?

RK: My favorite style is American Tribal Style, though I do appreciate the locking techniques in Tribal Fusion and the energy that comes with more traditional belly dance styles.


AP: Who is your favorite dancer?

RK: I’m a fan of Rachel Brice. She’s arguably the most famous tribal fusion dancer. Her control and skill are impressive, to say the least.

AP: What exactly do you like about it?

RK: Belly dance is a unique way to stretch the limits of my control over my body while feeling beautiful and strong. Learning new moves is a challenge, and the reward is when I can successfully incorporate them in choreography. After class I feel tired and sore, but rather than a depressing hour at the gym, it was a joyful hour of dance.

AP: How do you compare Belly Dancing to other styles of dance?

RK: Belly dance is different from other dance styles because I experience it as a celebration of femininity and being comfortable in my skin. We spend so much time being self conscious of our bodies, but when dancing I can accept myself as I am and appreciate the things my body can do. In other dance forms I was too short or too round, but in belly dance none of those things matter.

AP: What would you recommend someone who is curious about giving it a try?

RK: Do it! Find a class and give it a try. If you can’t find a class, you can find videos online, though videos don’t give you the sense of community you can get when you dance together. Be patient with yourself; it can take some time to get the basics. Most importantly, use your dance as a time to love yourself and your body.


If you would like to be a part of the LOVE Project or would like to contribute in any way, get in touch!


Looking to fill the following categories:

In LOVE for/since

First: LOVE Yourself – a portrait

Unconditional LOVE – a pet story

Grow, laugh, LOVE – a kid’s story.

A City of LOVEly places

A little LOVE goes a long way – A home-cooked meal

LOVEly friends


  1. I’ve always found belly dancing to be such a beautiful style of dancing. I really liked what Rosalie said about how she compares belly dancing with other forms of dancing. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I used to live in Daejeon last year!! And my good friend Cait was a regular attendee of the KAIST bellydancing classes so I wonder if Rosalie and her may know one another. I really wanted to do the class since I’m a huge fan of dancing but I never had the free time. I can’t believe Rosalie has been in Korea for 9 years!!! And I love the concept behind the LOVE Project. Its the first time I’ve read about a photographer documenting love in its various expressions. Keep on doing you girl!

    • Thank you Izzy. Actually, I used to dance with Rosie at KAIST and know Cait! She also performed with us at my birthday party last year, we had a surprise Belly Dancing performance for my guests haha, it was….sexy!

  3. Hi Alla! I really LOVE the Love series you’ve been doing on your blog. Such a great way to feature other interesting people. I also used to think belly dancing was so easy, until I gave it a try and my body just would not co-operate! It was the most frustrating thing!
    I do wish my little town had more to offer that just the local gym, as I would love to do something like belly dancing with a group of girl friends, I think that would be so much fun!

  4. I love this, Alla! I’ve always wanted to try belly dancing though at the moment, pole dancing seems to tickle my fancy too.
    You’re a great photographer. Thank you for making me part of The LOVE Project <3

  5. I actually never knew anything about belly dancing until I came to Okinawa. There’s a huge belly dancing group there and its amazing to watch. When the dancers are into it, you can see the passion.

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