Many belly dancers adopt a stage or performance name, and I chose 'Alanya' for its romantic history; a beauty spot on the Mediterranean coast, Alanya was Antony's wedding gift to Cleopatra. My given name, Abigail, means 'my father's joy' and as my own father's name was Alan, this seemed a nice way to keep that link.
Alanya was also one of the locations for the 'Sharpe' tv series, of which I am a huge fan!
'Abigail' also came to mean 'handmaiden' after King David's wife, so my student bellydance performance group is called 'Odalisque', after the handmaidens of the Ottoman harem who gained prestige through talents including dancing.
My speciality student dance troupe is named after the Favourites of the Sultan, and I am developing my dance company The Sultanate of Women, named after the short period of female rule in the Ottoman empire.
It is said to be particularly lucky if your tutor gives you your bellydance name.
Come back soon!