Acushla Mkrtschjan

Based in Adelaide South Australia, Acushla is one of Adelaide’s longest running fusion belly dance teachers. She founded Body Temple Dance in 2005 and her passion and dedication has led her to regularly perform and teach in Adelaide and around Australia, as well as feature in music videos and film.

She has provided professional dance programs, teacher training courses and created one of Australia’s first bellydance instructional DVD’s series reaching a worldwide audience.

I have taught over 1000 women the art of fusion belly dance (locally and through my DVD’s), and what I feel most passionate about is inspiring women to activate the creative flow/force within, while developing mastery at the art.

Understanding how the body, mind and spirit thrives, is something I’ve been passionate about for as long as i can rememember. My journey has led me to learning many body work practices such as Sufi Yoga, hatha yoga, pilates, Tai Chi and Qi Gong. I studied Qi Gong as a part of my Advanced diploma in Chinese medicine and happened to meet the love of my life under a tree while at my first Qi Gong Class! More recently i have become certified as a clinical hypnotherapist, and am excited to be incorporating my understanding of trance states into dance!

Creating is so rewarding, and I love guiding dancers to craft their own work that feels alive, authentic and aligned with who they are. I believe that while technique is important, there is something missing when a dancer expresses without authenticity. And that when there is an alignment of technical skill, creative expansion and authentic expression, there is a feeling of FLOW and it is this stage that i love to teach about!

How belly dance became my career path

There was a difficult decision I had to make many years ago. I just completed my advanced diploma for Traditional Chinese Medicine, had also started teaching belly dance classes and then fell pregnant! It soon became clear that I would only have the capacity to nurture and develop one area of my career. While practicing as an acupuncturist was a reliable source of income, Belly dance awakened something within me that was so creative and powerful that I chose the unknown and unpredictable path of Belly dance, and i haven’t looked back! My other “job/passion” is a jewellery designer, so in between being a mum, teaching, performing, practicing yoga and dance…i create unique, powerful crystal jewellery with an intention to inspire and empower those who wear it. You can view my work HERE

She began her study at Belly Dance Arabesque under the instruction of Shamira, and has since studied with teachers from all over the world. While Acushla has been largely self taught, her main influences and teachers have been:

  • Carolena Nerricio, who she completed ATS teacher training and is now a certified ATS teacher.
  • Classical Indian/fusion dancer and teacher Shakti, inspired Acushla to expand her creative movement vocabulary and largely influenced her yoga practice
  • Suhaila Salimpour, whom finally provided the clarity on muscular isolations, timing and a structured way of viewing this dance form.

Over the years Acushla has attended training and intensive workshops with International artists Rachel Brice, Illan Riviere, Amy Sigil, Matt Jacob, Mardi Love and many more.