Filming my “belly dance” teacher, Frederique “The Lady Fred” Johnston was a long standing desire of mine having taken her classes for nearly 4 years. Frederique is a very interesting woman! One rarely gets the chance to see so many different aspects of someone’s personality at a time. One minute Frederique is very articulately describing a dance move, and the next she is breaking into hysterical laughter at an unintended pun she made or funny thought she had (upon which she’ll often pause class to tell a story).
Frederique unabashedly and unapologetically shows the world her many sides: giggly, playful and imaginative little girl, sexy and sometimes raunchy woman, actress, comic; cursing, burping, arm-pit smelling tom boy, accomplished dancer and teacher, and articulate and engaging speaker (to name a few!). As she says “I take my profession seriously, I just don’t take myself too seriously.” Frederique is one of the most self-expressed, free spirits I have ever known. Her openness, humility, humor, and light-hearted nature have been a source of personal inspiration to me. As far as her dancing goes, nothing short of mesmerizing!
Frederique doesn’t like calling what she does “belly dance” as it doesn’t accurately describe her style. While she spent many years teaching and performing “American Tribal Style” belly dance, and it undoubtedly influences her dancing today, her current style is very unique. Combining classical with drum and bass, electronica, modern Middle Eastern, music box and even audio exerpts of old films, each dance feels like poetry in motion. A beautiful expression of her own private narrative.