History of the Ottawa Souk
The Ottawa Souk (formerly known as Ottawa Dancers’ Bazaar) is a longstanding favorite event among the Ottawa Belly Dance community. Originally started in 1999 by Tracey Vibert, it was a modest swap-meet that quickly grew along with the popularity of belly dance as an art form and a way to get fit.
Since the beginnings in a small community center with only 7 vendors, it grew rapidly into needing a much larger space. The Ottawa Souk now occupies the entire main floor of the Knight of Columbus Hall in Vanier and there are over 60 vendors slated to attend our first bazaar as The Ottawa Souk!
The bazaar has been attended by shoppers who enjoy dance-related items offered for sale by our wonderful vendors who travel from Ottawa, Gatineau, Montreal, Sherbrooke, and Toronto, all for the love of dance!
Organization of the event has recently changed hands, and 2016 saw the first re-branded “Ottawa Souk” presented by Jocelyne Jehane Khan, of Duniya Dance Studio and Lisa-Marie Serafin, owner of Poterie LM Serafin Pottery in Mayo. Lisa-Marie has been reading Tarot Cards at the bazaar since 2003 and Jehane has participated as a costume and accessories vendor since the very first year of the bazaar.
Both women feel that the bazaar, or souk, is a wonderful event that is very much needed by the belly dance community and they are both interested in making the souk more broad to include all dance forms and give opportunities to shoppers to find everything they may need for dance classes in one place, in one day with a great shopping and community-building experience.
Lisa-Marie Serafin, owner of Poterie LM Serafin Pottery in Mayo. Lisa-Marie has been reading Tarot Cards at the bazaar since 2003.
photo of Sha'Vega by Tracey Vibert
Lisa-Marie Serafin is originally from Winnipeg and moved to West Quebec in 2002. She quickly found the belly dance community in Ottawa-Gatineau and began to get involved in the community within months of her arrival.
Lisa-Marie is no stranger to the stage. It wasn't dance that got her there, but music. She started performing her own songs at the age of 14 with her acoustic guitar and a few friends. By the time she was 18, she was performing as a solo act around Winnipeg. Music was her chosen career, and a tough business too. With modest success over the years, and many miles travelled touring with rock and roll, punk and country bands, Lisa-Marie made a full circle returning to her singer/songwriter roots in the early 90's by presenting all original material in her performances. She made many solo journeys in Canada and stateside to play at festivals, halls, bars and cafes, including the famous Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, TN. For six months Lisa-Marie lived in Nashville playing every writers' night she could find and within two months of arriving made it on to the TNN show Country Today with Robb Weller (Entertainment Tonight). After receiving her well-rounded education in the business of Music Row, she went back to Canada and decided to demo all of her songs when her producer suggested she record an album instead. Lisa-Marie recorded an album in 1995 called Following Instinct. The CD got wonderful reviews, yet making a living at music had always been difficult, so after debating the pros and cons during her more than 20 years giving music a good go, she made the emotionally painful decision to move on to her 2nd and 3rd careers as a potter and a belly dance instructor.
When Lisa-Marie moved to West Quebec in 2002 she and her partner constructed a pottery workshop and gallery completing it in 2003. She now makes her living as a potter creating functional ware – stoneware pottery for everyday living – and makes music on the side.
Lisa-Marie started reading Tarot cards in 2003 at the Dancers' Bazaar that Halyma created and organized for many years. She has taken up residence in the corner of the Knight of Columbus hall in her Tarot Tent, the colourful circus-like tent she created in which to host readings. She has enjoyed helping people on their life path and giving them insight by reading the cards since 1987. Lisa-Marie has worked at small and large events, parties, and on JoJo's Psychic Alliance, which is how she raised a portion of the money needed to record that CD back in 1995.
Lisa-Marie started belly dancing in 1999 and was a very eager student. Dancing was a new thrill and with her music background she took to it easily. After studying intensely for 3 years in weekly classes and weekend belly dance workshops, Lisa-Marie began teaching in Winnipeg and when she arrived in West Quebec it didn't take her long to organize a beginner’s class. Eventually she started teaching in Ottawa at McNabb C.C., South Fallingbrook C.C., Hunt Club Riverside C.C., Sir Guy Carleton High School, as well as many introductory belly dance workshops and MED choreography workshops (drum solo, Turkish 9/8 rhythm, and with finger cymbals). Lisa-Marie continued to study by attending weekly classes as well as workshops in Ottawa, Gatineau, Kingston, Montreal, New York City and Winnipeg. She taught 7 classes weekly until June of 2010 when she decided to take a break from dance for a while and concentrate on her pottery business.
Jocelyne Jehane Khan, owner of Duniya Dance Studio has participated as a costume and accessories vendor since the very first year of the bazaar.
photo of Jocelyne by Howard Sandler
Jocelyne grew up in Ottawa and has been taking dance lessons of different styles since she was 5 years old. She became obsessed with Oriental dance in 1996. In 2001 she began teaching at the request of one of her teachers who needed a replacement after having broken her foot, and that same year began taking lessons with Denise Enan whic led to her joining the Enan Egyptian Troupe.
In 2013 she opened Duniya Dance Studio, with three teacher offering classes at various locations in the Ottawa area. Her vision for Duniya Dance studio is to offer dances of various styles, always with a focus on a culturally-appropriate context, strong dance technique, and a heavy dose of fun!
She is extremely grateful for the friends she has made through her involvement with the Ottawa-Gatineau dance community (and in other cities too!), and enjoys participating in events organized by others and contributing to the sense of community by organizing her own events from time to time. In addition to her full-time day job with the Government of Canada, she also puts her planning skills to work organizing other events such as workshops with guest instructors, shows and halfat. She introduced Shimmy Mob to the region in 2015 with the Ottawa-Gatineau Shimmy Mob. (where Ottawa was in the top three participating cities worldwide!), and submitted a choreography which was chosen from amongst hundreds of submissions as one of the bonus choreographies for worldwide Shimmy Mob in 2016.
Whenever time allows, she loves to travel, having visited Egypt twice with the Enans, taught dance lessons on a Royal Caribbean cruse, as well as meandering about the globe whenever the opportunity presents itself.