Photos by Emma Kazaryan
“Great dancers are not great because of their technique; they are great because of their passion,” Martha Graham once said. Her words influenced millions of dancers, and Kristi Angel Gabriel is one of them.
Gabriel moved from Southern California to New York City to pursue her dream of becoming a professional belly dancer. Her Lebanese heritage solidified her true passion for this beautiful and ancient form of art. “It’s in my blood because of being half Lebanese, but mastering any craft, it takes practice, discipline and a passion for what you do is the magical ingredient,” said Gabriel.
After couple of years of belly-dance workshops at Mimi Fontana and Serena Studios in Manhattan, and daily practices at home, Gabriel established herself as a performer. She is in a belly-dance duo called Bellydance Angels with Laura Jordan. They perform at weddings, other events and private parties throughout the New York area.
For Gabriel, belly dancing is not only a source of income but a meaning of her life. “I am nowhere near being a master of my craft,” she said. “That’s the beauty of dancing, you can always evolve, grow and learn.”