Born from Artistic Director and Founder Caitlin Brozna-Smith’s desire to bring culturally authentic world dance forms to Denver, Bella Diva World Dance provides women of all shapes, sizes and walks of life the opportunity to learn and celebrate cultures from around the globe. The school strives to break down the preconceptions of what dance is and who it is for, embracing the philosophy that “dance is for everybody.”

Inspired by her experiences during Semester at Sea while a student at CU Boulder, Brozna-Smith returned to Colorado hoping to continue exploring cultures around the world, only to be disappointed by the absence of opportunities for such studies. In 2010, after personally training and studying in Brazil, India and the Middle East, she decided to fill the void herself by founding Bella Diva World Dance as a resource to promote intercultural experiences in Colorado.

Over the years, Bella Diva has grown exponentially, first offering only belly dancing — what Brozna-Smith calls the “gateway dance” — and samba before branching out and taking on additional dance forms as more talented, and knowledgeable instructors joined the team. Now, Bella Diva offers classes in Brazilian Samba, Middle Eastern Belly Dance, Polynesian dance, Afro-Caribe dances, as well as both classical Indian and Bollywood dance. Bella Diva’s pool of instructors — which includes native Brazilian Luciana Da Silva, a renowned Samba instructor and performer who regularly teaches workshops for Bella Diva — is made up of an assortment of women who either grew up in or trained in the culture from which their dance stems. This is due to Brozna-Smith’s dedication to focus on appreciation instead of appropriation. She firmly believes that students should learn from the source, respecting and celebrating world cultures as opposed to reproducing them without the proper cultural context.

At the core of what Brozna-Smith has created with Bella Diva World Dance is her desire to empower women. She is working to break down preconceived notions of what “dancers” look like, noting that Bella Diva counts an incredibly eclectic group of women among its ranks. Including women of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds.

Looking forward, Brozna-Smith is hoping to expand both the school’s number of students and the number of dance forms it offers. Her goal is to weave Thai, Chinese and African dances into Bella Diva’s offering, so long as she can find truly qualified instructors. For now, Bella Diva continues its mission to “bring the magic of movement to Colorado women, while also creating a community for them to be a part of.”

To experience Bella Diva World Dance’s global charisma first hand, check out their “Night of the Dancing Dead” performance at the Clocktower Cabaret on Wednesday, October 24th; find out more and purchase tickets at | @belladivadance


Costumes fit for Carnaval

  • Bella Diva’s new costumes are from Rio de Janeiro.

  • Costumes for Carnaval celebrate nature and the human body, and they often include natural pieces of shells, feathers and glass.