Lauren ‘Onça’ O’Leary is a career entertainer, event producer, internationally touring performer, and published author and artist with twenty years in the arts business. She has taught and performed in Germany, the UK and Czech Republic, as well as across the US, and in international waters. A veteran Tribal Fusion Bellydance instructor, she was the first in the world to be certified by Carolena Nerriccio in General Skills, and has worked with thousands of students of all ages in competitions, colleges, festivals, and everywhere in between.
Onça has a background in visual, movement and music arts, co-founding and directing the Future of Tradition Center for Folkloric Arts from 1999 to 2006, a 3500 sq. ft. multi-purpose dance and art studio complex in Asheville, NC, that was home to many of the burgeoning fire, circus and world dance arts in the city in its formative period.
She stages several festivals and events annually. Produced in Asheville, NC, her award-winning ABSfest: the Americana Burlesque & Sideshow Festival, is now is in its eighth year of bringing together artists from around the world to perform, study and network. The Virginia Burlesque & Sideshow Festival is in its second year bringing the Revival of Vaudeville Arts to Richmond, VA. Bandit Queens Tribal Cafe is her monthly family-friendly bellydance showcase, drawing artists from Florida to NYC to share their skills with audiences in Richmond, VA.
Onça’s North Carolina bellydance festival, TribOriginal: Tribal Dance, Music & Culture Camp ran for seven years, and was nominated for Best Event in the Golden Belly Awards. Her dance company, Baraka Mundi Live Music & Dance Ensemble, was nominated likewise for both Best Kept Secret and Best Dance Company. Madame Onça traveled steadily for five years with the Balkan fusion project the Mezmer Society, and for over ten years with the Accidental Circus, directed by Jester of England’s Muncaster Castle, Paolo Garbanzo.
Under her given name, Lauren O’Leary, she also co-authored The World Spirit Tarot, and illustrated it entirely, with 79 original color block-prints. This work was hailed as an instant classic, and has been translated into Spanish. She writes for numerous national bellydance magazines. In 2014, she will release the first two in a series of instructional bellydance DVDs.
It is her stalwart belief is that “The greatest expression of Rebellion is Joy.”