Catherine O'Brien

Catherine O'Brien

Original troupe member, teacher.


An original member of Ghawazi Caravan, Catherine started dancing with Devi in 2000. “After several years learning traditional bellydance styles, I was completely taken with the beautiful structure, poise and elegance of the modern fusion (tribal) style of belly dance that Devi was teaching and I have remained devoted to her ever since!’

Catherine’s daughter Kate was also a member of Ghawazi Caravan from 2003 until 2011.

In 2004, Catherine travelled to San Francisco with Devi and GC to undertake special classes with Carolena Nericcio, FatChance Bellydance, and Jill Parker, and to perform with GC at the 2004 Tribal Festival at Sebastapol. She completed her General Skills Certificate with Carolena in 2007 and has undertaken numerous workshops with other local and international belly dance greats such as Kaiya Seaton, Jrisi Jusakos, Mel Rogers, Colleena Shakti, Paulette Rhys-Dennis, Rachel Brice and Deb Rubin.

She has continued to undertake professional training for her craft, completing Devi’s Ghawazi Caravan Teacher Training in 2010, Acushla and Devi’s Belly Lab 101 in 2016 and Devi’s Stagecraft in 2017. She also undertook Keti Sariff and Shemiran Ibrahim’s Balanced Belly Dance Program in 2017, Keti’s A-Z Belly Dance training and Shemiran’s Belly Dance from the Heart Method teacher training in 2018.

In addition to regularly performing and attending classes with Devi and Caravan Dand Company, Catherine taught weekly bellydance classes for senior ladies as a volunteer with South Penrith Neighbourhood Centre from 2016 to 2019. She has also taught an open weekly bellydance class at Leura Belly Dance since 2018. Her teaching provides clear and mindful instruction, integrating traditional and modern fusion bellydance styles in a relaxed and fun environment. Cath also currently leads the Blue Mountains Shimmy Mob group in support of domestic violence survivors.

What appeals to you about modern fusion (tribal) belly dance?
I fell in love with Devi and the elegant structure of the modern fusion dance form, not to mention the amazing music, glamorous costumes and jewellery! I also love the comradery between the dancers and the excitement of improvisation can be so much fun! And it is fantastic exercise to boot!

What do you do for a living? Other hobbies?
I work in Human Resources. I enjoy watching old movies, reading, pottering around and spending time with family and friends. Life is often hectic but my dancing creates the balance I need.

What unusual talents do you have?
I don’t know about any ‘unusual’ talents however I pride myself in always being able to see the bright side!