2011 has proven to be a most fruitful year since my departure from company tour life. Traveling as a solo instructor/performer does get a little lonely from time to time. Nevertheless, my independent spirit always presents itself with strength, and effortlessly carries me across the globe.  The following images are special mementos from my travels and adventures.  Hope you enjoy taking a little peek into my dance life.

The beginning of the year started with a series of intense flamenco training with master teacher, Roberto Amaral in Van Nuys, California.  After several years of touring, my return to flamenco studies has been quite challenging, as I’ve had a lot of catching up to do! I am truly grateful to have the opportunity to spend quality time practicing this powerful dance.  Thank you Roberto, for sharing your amazing talent with us.

Sonia learning Bulerias with Roberto Amaral

For the first time, in a long time, I had an opportunity perform in Los Angeles!  But this was not going to be my typical Egyptian style belly dance performance. The Zulu Lounge was holding a very special event for a very special cause, as they do throughout the year, and the theme for the evening was, India!  It could not have been more perfect timing, since I had just returned from India, where I spent a solid month of intensive classical Indian dance studies.  I felt super inspired to create something new…something I had never done before.  This is an event where I am given the chance to explore outside the box, and ohhh how fun it was!

Sonia Ochoa, Arab/Indian Fusion, Zulu Lounge, Los Angeles, California                     Image by Ryan Williams, Rawtography

My first workshop of the year was a long anticipated one!  After two years, I was finally able to make it down to San Diego, California, where I also had the privilege to perform live with Middle-Earth Ensemble.  My mother joined me on this day long adventure, making it a very special one!

Sonia with Middle-Earth Ensemble, San Diego, California                                         Image by Nicloe Leon

I thought it would be nice to share with my friends what I learned during my travels through India.  So, I offered a a monthlong introduction to Odissi, classical Indian dance, where I spent quality time with some lovely ladies who took the time energy to come out and dance with me.  Immense gratitude to Napali, Sooz, Jenn and Lilly for giving me this wonderful opportunity and experience!

Napali and Sonia at Centre of World Dance, Alhambra, CA

For the first time, I drove the longest distance! To some, it might not be much, but to me, it was epic!  It is 1800km, from Los Angeles to Seattle, and my first stop was in Portland to visit my best friends, and attend the 8 Elements Intensive with Rachel Brice…always looking forward to her new projects and ideas.  After an intense week of dance training, á la tribál, I was Seattle bound, where I taught my latest drum solo workshop.

Sonia teaching the Art of the Drum Solo at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, Seattle, WA

Awaiting to revisit South America, I was invited to one of the biggest festivals of belly dance in Bogota, Colombia.  Upon my arrival, I was whisked away from the airport to a radio station, followed by a hectic schedule of television appearances!  What a day…what a weekend! It was so good to reunite with an ol’ tour mate, Elizabeth Strong, as well as meeting a new friend and fellow dancer, Mohamed Shahin, Egyptian born New Yorker. A big thanks to Antonina, for organizing such a great event!

Sonia teaching Arab-Indian Fusion in Bogota, Colombia 

In between gigs, I do like to hang out with friends…and I bet you can guess what that entails…a little music and dancing, perhaps??

Angel and the Mambokats at Mad Mambo, Villa Lounge, Los Angeles, California

Another highlight of the year was sharing the stage with the great tabla master, Karim Nagi of Turbo Tabla and Carlos Carmona, one of my favourite male belly dancers.  It was such a treat to spend time with them and our wonderful friends and fellow dancers in Queretaro, Mx.

dinner with friends in Queretaro

Upon my return to Los Angeles, I was invited to share the stage with Rachel Brice, among all the amazing fusion dancers in the local community.  This is a rare opportunity where I take myself out of my usual element as I experiment with my extensive dance background, creating new choreographies and style.

Sonia with Rachel Brice, Zulu Lounge, Los Angeles, California

Visiting the Philippines for the first time, I was welcomed with open arms and beautiful smiles. The week consisted of two photo shoots (my first underwater photo shoot with the assistance of Kim Kong, as well as an in-studio shoot with the lovely Karen Ilagan), workshops, and an intimate performance with the workshop participants and their families.  Oh yeah, and a dentist visit too…no cavities…Yay!!! Thanks to Charmaine Wang for organizing a great week in Manila!

informal image, compliments of Karen Ilagan

My visit to the UK was certainly a wet one, considering it was the middle of summer!!  Rain or shine, there was no lack of warmth from the workshop participants…Thanks to all!

London Workshop, Arab-Flamenco Fusion

Yet another month in beautiful Taiwan…Thanks to all organizers and students for the love and support!

Sonia teaching double veil in Taipei

Sonia teaching veil work in Taipei

After a very busy month of work in Taiwan, coming home to L.A. was so relaxing…yet, the dancing never stops!  I was invited by my dear friends and ol’ tourmates Jillina and Lauren to join their fun and inspiring workshops at Jillina’s humble seaside studio in Malibu.  They couldn’t be more generous friends and teachers!  Thank you ladies!

Sonia and Lauren drumming for Jillina’s workshop

Although my first visit to Brasil was short and sweet, I made new friends who MADE the time to take me out for a day! Obrigadooooo!

with fusion belly dancers, Mariana, Gabriela, and Yoli…Thank you ladies for a great day at the beach, and the best cappuccino by Bela!

Teaching workshops in Peru for the first time was pretty exciting…but, what really took my breath away, was spending a week in Cuzco, among all the natural and ancient sites.  Simply breathtaking!  Thanks to Emilia for joining me on this great adventure!

on the road, even when I am on the road…such is my beautiful life!

You would think October would be a time for rest and relaxation! But noooooooooo, how could I possibly do that??  I spent the whole month attending my favourite ballet and flamenco classes, as well as conducted my personal Odissi dance practice. One of the best parts of being back home is not only the dance training, but the food I get to make myself!  Being a fairly new vegetarian, I have experimented in the kitchen like never before.  I especially like trying out new Indian recipes, my fave…thanks to my Guru-Chef Urmilla!

slowly working out my moves in the kitchen 😉

Back to the daily grind!  And I mean that with the best of intention…heh,heh!  Ohhh soooo grateful to see everyone in Hong Kong! Thanks to Liina, a wonderful host!

with Hong Kong workshops participants

This brings us to the end of the year!  My Goddess, what a year it was…abundant with wonderful things such as family, friends, love, health, dance, life!  You name it, I was blessed with it!  Thank you to EVERYONE who has made this possible!

To end the year, I planned a trip to India.  I have done this for the past three years now, and I just can’t say enough about this place.  I have hundreds and hundreds of images, but which one to share???  Maybe you will just have to revisit my blog, as I have a new story in the works!  Thanks for visiting my scrapbook, 2011 a year in review.  Love and blessings. ~S

…more to come!


6 thoughts on “Scrapbook”

  1. Aww Sonia, i love all your thoughts about indian dance on this site, i adore all your fusions 🙂


  2. I love you Sonia! I am big Fan from china!
    Dont never stop! Keep explore your wonderful elegant soul dance tanlent~
    let the dance dances u

  3. What a great year Sonia! I wondered what you were up to since leaving BDSS. I’m so happy to see you are still dancing, teaching and expanding internally as well as in dance. I”m a huge fan and hope to take class with you again sometime.

  4. Hola Sonia,

    mi nombre es Paola, y soy de Chile, me encanta tu estilo, la delicadeza de tu danza y la energía que transmites al bailar, lamentablemente estoy muy lejos para tomar clases contigo. Tomo clases de danza árabe desde el año 2008 y la adoro. Un abrazo y gracias por expresar tanto….

  5. ur wonder ful……….

  6. You are my favourite dancer Sonia.Since I see your videos. I love your drum solo.I start dancing a months ago and I think You are magickal. U inspire me. I’m a big fan of Spain.

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