100 Creatives 2014: Kat Denson, Firedancer

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What She Does: You know what's awesome about belly dancing? Well, yes, pretty much everything, I concede, but nothing is so awesome that it cannot be thoroughly improved by adding fire to it. That's where Kat Denson comes in. She moves her body surrounded by tutus of flame, and it is definitely a spectacle to behold.

Denson fell in love with Middle Eastern culture and dance a decade ago, and has been belly dancing since she was just 15 years old. Her work with fire grew out of a desire to push the envelope of her art, but she also works with swords and snakes in her performances and well as doing more traditional folk dance. You can catch her downtown at Prohibition every weekend as part of the burlesque troupe, The Moonlight Dolls, and she is a regular gypsy dancer at the Texas Renaissance Festival. Wherever exotic shimmying is taken place, there's a good chance Denson is involved making it a little more exciting.

Why She Likes It: "The most amazing part of performing is feeding off the energy of your audience. You try to feel out their mood, whether they're a more passive or active audience and try to get them pumped. Some audiences are more challenging than others, but it's always rewarding."

What Inspires Her: The same passionate connection to her audience while on stage is also part of the inspiration process for Denson, though in that instance it's the connection with her fellow performers that drives her. She credits her peers with most of her development. Whenever she finds herself burned out or needing fresh ideas she likes to travel for workshops and get a change of scenery. She's studied in Canada, Mexico, and Greece. She also greatly admires Bozenka http://www.bozenka.biz/, considering her the personification of grace despite having very different styles.

If Not Here, Then Where: "Houston has pretty much everything a belly dancer could want. A nice niche for performance art that isn't oversaturated, a near perfect diversity of culture, and the best food in the world. But if I had to move, it'd probably be Dubai. I've been offered a few shows there, so that's a start."

If Not This, Then What: If she couldn't dance, Denson would still want to be on stage. Her day gig is working for Heights Vinyl, and her love of music makes her consider being a DJ or learning to play an instrument as an acceptable substitute for dance.

What's Next: "Prohibition's new location will be open very soon, so we are all really focused on creating our new show. I've recently started eating fire, and will be breathing fire pretty soon. My main mission is to grow as a performer and to help put Houston on the map for our insanely amazing arts, music, and culture."

More Creatives for 2014 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).

Blame the Comic, comedian Margaret Menchaca Alvarez, artist Jacquelyne Jay Boe, dancer Rene Fernandez, painter Teresa Chapman, choreographer and dancer

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