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Photos: © Brad Dosland,
Graphic design: Konstanze Winkler
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We are very excited to see Cera Byer, the young dancer from San Francisco, CA, who dances her heart out when on stage. She is still able to trust her instincts, and she mixes all dancing styles, which she likes, as they come. She is to be seen at "Beyond Bellydance IV, and we are very curious, what she will perform for us. And since we always like to know what's awaiting us, we asked Cera a few questions. Please read her answers now.
Interview with Cera Byer

by Marcel Bieger

What kind of dance training do you have?

I've been dancing since I was 4 years old. Growing up I did jazz, tap, ballet, and musical theater, as well as playing piano and singing and acting lessons.

I started bellydance through imitation, when I was around 14 years old. I really started focusing on bellydance heavily after a knee injury took me out of jazz/ballet as a teenager.

At around 20 I went to University for Dance Performance & Choreography with a minor in World Music and Dance. Also during that time I danced with a classical Persian dance company, as well as Ultra Gypsy - both of which I found through audition notices. I've also dabbled in hip hop, funk styles, contemporary, flamenco, North Indian Kathak, and more.  I just love learning and believe that for a real dancer, training is inevitable, compulsory, and unending.
When you are working on a new dance piece, what comes first and how do you proceed?

For that you're going to have to read my choreography book (which has not appeared yet, editor’s note) or take my choreography workshop! I can say that it's different every time.

Your resume is truly impressing, but how did you develop your own style?

I don’t think I ever really set out to make my own 'style', I just dance the way I feel. My main goal as an artist is to trust my instincts and my body, trust my training, and get out of my own way. My main motto is 'don’t make it happen, let it happen.'

In Europe you have become known mostly because of your performance at “BellyFusions” in Paris, France. Have you been to other places in Europe?

I have actually only taught at BellyFusions once, the first year. I'd be happy to go back if there was a demand for me! On that trip I also went to Barcelona. Last year I visited Switzerland and Italy. This will be my first time in Holland, and I'm very excited.
left: Cera and "Damage Control Dance Theater"
at BellyFusions, Paris 2009
What will we see from you at Tjarda's, how did you come
in touch with her?

I met Tjarda for the first time at the first “BellyFusions”, and then many other times here in the States, either with UNMATA in Sacramento (about an hour from my home in San Francisco), and at Tribal Fest. I'm a big fan of the Uzumé and think that Tjarda is an amazing artist.

        I am teaching brand new workshops in Holland, so I really couldn't say what to expect, because we'll all be experiencing it for the first time together. What I can say is that I'm really working to synthesize many of the workshops I've taught up to this point in to 2 very immersive and challenging workshops that will (hopefully) lovingly challenge all dancers exactly how they, as individuals, need it most.
Cera Byer is guest at BEYOND BELLYDANCE IV
Nov. 16th - 20th 2011in Amsterdam/Utrecht (NL)
Cera Byer
When I was about 18 I found Afro-Haitian dance, which led me to Dunham technique, Cuban, Brazilian, and African dances, and to Horton, Graham, and other modern dance styles. That was really what solidified dance as my life and career path.