Aepril Schaile is an American priestess of the Dark Goddess working through the ancient and ever-evolving arts of Bellydance, Music, Ritual-Theatre, and Divination. She is founder of the Aepril Schaile Mysterie School of Dance, and is Artistic Director of Exquisite Corpse Dance Theatre in Salem, MA.
An originator and innovator of darkly theatrical and shamanistic bellydance, Aepril performs and teaches at curated international bellydance events and throughout the U.S. Her Exquisite Corpse Dance Theatre recently enjoyed 3 sold-out shows of “The Book of Lilith: Goddess, Demon, First Woman,” their original, full-length ritual-theatre bellydance production, the first of its kind in the world.
Aepril teaches ongoing bellydance classes in the Boston area, and teaches traditional, Theatrical, Gothic and shamanistic Bellydance workshops internationally. Aepril is also an acclaimed musician and composer, writer and mythologist, Astrologer, animal rights advocate and Witch. Aepril is an AFAA certified Group Fitness Instructor and she holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Art.
Aepril’s recent appearances include Festival Bellyfusions 2010 in Paris, France; the NY Theatrical Bellydance Conference 2010 in NYC; Spirit of the Tribes 2010 in Florida; Night of 1000 Goddesses in NYC; An Evening of Experimental Middle Eastern Dance (EEMED) in Los Angeles; Tribal Fest in CA; and she was a Guest Artist at Rakkasah Spring Caravan in NJ.
Aepril’s dance performances have taken place at such diverse venues as churches, goth clubs, weddings, homeless shelters, Wiccan celebrations, heavy metal shows, and abandoned buildings, as well as theaters and festivals.
Dark Goddess Bellydance
Aepril Schaile dances to make the archetypal Dark Feminine sacred again, and is recognized for her pioneering innovation in dark theatrical, ritual and shamanistic Bellydance. In performance, Aepril becomes Trickster, Warrior, Ghost, Storm, Grieving Mother, Killer, Snow Queen, Seductress… Her performances invoke the archetypal Feminine as a force of nature and magick.
First described as a “Gothic Bellydancer” in 2001, Aepril has been a leader in the development of Theatrical and Gothic Bellydance for a decade. Her work has inspired, influenced and challenged Gothic and Theatrical Bellydancers throughout the world.
Aepril’s fearless originality and creativity have given many bellydancers the example, instruction and permission to go very far outside the traditional and even “alternative” norms in terms of costuming, choreography, and creative self-expression.
An acclaimed creatrix and originator of Theatrical Bellydance, her performances and instruction have consistently pushed beyond the already accepted, and continued to bring Theatrical Bellydance to new levels. Raqs Dramatique, her original format of Theatrical Bellydance, is influential in the Theatrical and Gothic Bellydance genres, both directly through Aepril’s teaching and performance, and indirectly through the inspiration dancers and teachers have derived from her work and example.
Aepril introduced and popularized the spirituality, imagery and terminology of the Dark Goddess in bellydance; and through this, the compelling use of traditional and non-traditional props, always with spiritual and theatrical meaning. She has been a pioneer in her use of mythological motifs, shamanistic techniques and costuming, and the techniques and terminology of ritual Magick in bellydance performance and instruction.
Aepril wrote, directed and co-produced “The Book of Lilith” – the first bellydance production to bring together theatrical monologue and narrative storyline, ritual-theatre and mythology, Dark Goddess spirituality and women’s empowerment, ancient mysticism and modern poetry – as well as being the lead choreographer, dancer and actress playing the role of Lilith.
With a background in theatre, mysticism, mythology and Jungian psychology, Aepril’s fearless creativity, her powerful stage presence and style of movement incline naturally toward exploring the themes of the Dark Goddess and expressing profound meaning and transpersonal story through her dance. She is powerfully interactive with audiences, blending showmanship and sacred mediumship; she brings enchantment and excitement to her dance as well as psychological and spiritual intensity and signification.
Aepril has helped legitimize both Gothic and Theatrical Bellydance as art forms and genres of bellydance, not only through her public statements, but also through her unique and pioneering instruction and fascinating performance. While living in Portland, ME, Aepril was instrumental in creating and popularizing the area’s Gothic Bellydance and club performance dance scenes.
Aepril began bellydancing in 1996 with Raqs Sharqi and American Cabaret as her foundation; her training soon expanded into Tribal Fusion and ballet, developing into a dark fusion of dance forms, ritual-theatre, and performance art, influenced by her two decades of practice and study in mysticism and the occult sciences. Aepril is a professional Astrologer and a driving force in “Witch City” Salem, MA, the U.S.’s largest, most active and successful Witchcraft community.
Interested in times past as well as the Timeless, Aepril’s “ancestors” of dance include Ruth St Denis, Josephine Baker, and Isadora Duncan. She has been influenced and instructed by bellydance masters Elena Lentini and Dunya, as well as the performance artists Diamanda Galas and Rachel Rosenthal in her approach to performing.
Aepril became deeply immersed in the world of Spirits and Invisibles during a long period of voluntary solitude. There, while inhabiting the wild and magical coast and woods of northern New England with her wolf companion Coda, her heart was opened, and dance and music moved through her in a new and mediumistic way; she is inspired by forces of nature such as winged creatures, wolves, storms, and the sea; she is also inspired by the invisible forces of the subconscious, the supernatural, and the synchronistic. Aepril dances as a ritual of reverence to the Divine for Her powers of regeneration and redemption.
In 1998, Aepril created her first two outdoor ritual-theatre performances: “Cetsamhain”, a spring celebration of the mysteries of the goddess Persephone, which incorporated music, spoken word and performance art and included an outdoor walk-through labyrinth installation in collaboration with artist Miriam Ben Dor; and she also produced a fire-fusion dance event called “Fuoco del Buio (Fire of the Blackest Night)”, in celebration of the season of Scorpio/Samhain.
An acclaimed musician and composer as well, Aepril brings her sense of sonic drama and timing to her dance; when not moving to music as a dancer, she can be found composing and performing for her death-folk/piano-doom project Aepril Schaile and the Judgement.
The Aepril Schaile Mysterie School of Dance
The Aepril Schaile Mysterie School of Dance overcomes the millennia old split between dance, theatre, and spiritual ritual, reintegrating these traditionally separate elements into the holistic, empowering, original form of bellydance performance and instruction for which Aepril is known.
The Aepril Schaile Mysterie School Method incorporates performance art, theatre, shamanism, ritual, Gothic sensibilities and aesthetics, Archetypal psychology, meditation, and a touch of Witchcraft into Aepril’s truly original form of bellydance. The Method is based in Classical and Tribal Fusion Bellydance, with influences from ballet to break dance, from theatre to Magick, creating Aepril Schaile’s signature shamanistic, powerfully expressive, ethereal and otherworldly style of fusion dance; and a mystically themed, theatrically oriented bellydance instruction specializing in dramatic expression, spiritual and artistic authenticity, and technical precision and power.
Aepril is a foremost teacher of Theatrical Bellydance in the U.S. When other bellydance teachers were still discussing whether or not it was possible, Aepril already had Raqs Dramatique students who had not only become, with Aepril’s guidance, accomplished performers in their own right, but who were also recognizably dancing in the Aepril Schaile Mysterie School Method.
Exquisite Corpse Dance Theatre.
Elegant. Shamanistic. Mythopoeic. Exquisite Corpse Dance Theatre.
Exquisite Corpse Dance Theatre is the ongoing, dark Theatrical Bellydance project of Artistic Director Aepril Schaile. Founded in 2006, Exquisite Corpse performances are invocations using mythology, narrative story, and archetypal themes, warping and reshaping traditional bellydance forms to create a darkly distinctive dance presentation of artistic, emotional and spiritual impact and intensity. Aepril chooses specific performers for particular productions.
Exquisite Corpse Dance Theatre recently presented a sold-out, 3-show debut run of their original, full-length ritual-theatre bellydance production, “The Book of Lilith: Goddess, Demon, First Woman”, at Salem Theatre Co. Exquisite Corpse has produced numerous events throughout New England, including its recurring ritual-theatre bellydance show “Descent: Dances of the Dark Goddess”, which presents the highest level of darkly theatrical bellydance performance and instruction.