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Your last name sounds German, more than a little bit. Is this pure coincidence? Have you ever been to Germany?

My last name Schaile IS German! It comes from my great-great-grandfather Gottfried. His son Albert is my great–grandfather. He emigrated  to the US from Germany as a young man; we think from Bremen but we’re not sure. I'm doing research on to find out more. Actually, both of my grandfathers were German. My other grandfather, Gustav, emigrated to the US at the age of six. He was told to stop speaking German when he got here, and was only allowed to speak English. Therefore, he didn't pass down the German language to his children or grandchildren.

I've never been to Germany before, so I'm very excited to visit! I am hoping to go to some of the places that my ancestors may have lived. I've been studying Germany's history, learning everything that I can. I've been very busy with my Bellydance DVD, Theatre of the Dark Goddess, so I've only been able to find time to do this research here and there. I'd love to learn the German language, too!

On your site you announce that "Aepril will be spending Samhain/Halloween in Germany at the Black Forest Tribal festival!" When studying your site, it becomes clear why you stress the Samhain point. Could you please give us an introduction to what you are doing in the field of the occult?
Samhain is the most important holiday for Witches. It is the Witch's New Year.
It's a time of honoring the power and importance of shadows, to acknowledge cycles of death and rebirth, and also venerating Ancestors. Of course this is important to me as I am going to be visiting the land of my ancestors to teach and perform my art.

I am a Witch. To me this means many things, but above all it means that I revere the cycles of nature and that I devote my spirit to honoring the Divine light inside all things. As a Shamanic Which, I believe that all things are animate. This is, by the way, backed up by the science of quantum physics, which acknowledges that all things even seemingly solid objects are always moving and changing. In English the word “animate” has its root in the word "Anima", which is a feminine word meaning “soul”. Therefore, I believe that all things on this earth are part of the World Soul. Mother Nature. The Goddess.

I'm also an Astrologer. As a practicing Astrologer and Tarot reader, I make part of my living helping people discover and articulate their life path and find their way through life's transitions and crossroads.
"Eerie Serpents and Ethereal Grace" is a workshop that combines technique instruction focused on precision, power, and grace, with theatrical character development. In this one we’ll learn floating steps, locking, pausing, freezing, spinning, and how to appear "ghostly" through physical technique AND energy consciousness.

-And lastly, "Creating Choreography for Theatrical Bellydance": There is a strong trend right now towards  “theatrical” Bellydance. But, I think many people are confused about what this means and how to do it well, or maybe they do have ideas about how to create a piece, but would like to do it even better. In this workshop, participants will explore ways to create their own theatrical choreography. Each student will create a mini choreography in the workshop. They'll also leave with tools to combine theatre with Bellydance authentically and effectively
You are not only a dancer and dance instructor, you are creative in other fields of art too.

I'm also a musician. I released a CD a few years ago called "The Furies’ Prayer". One of my goals for this coming winter is to work on music again. I also have a background in theatre. I like to paint and create collage, too, but I keep most of that to myself. I hold a Master of Fine Art from Goddard College in Vermont, USA; my study combined dance, music, theatre, ritual, occult studies, and Jungian psychology. The overarching theme was a feminist spirituality that focused on the Sacred Dark. It may sound like a lot of different subjects for one study, but to me there really isn't much of a division between them.

I will be teaching a stylistically dark choreography workshop called Dark Raqs Assaya. This workshop focuses on Cane work that is based in traditional Egyptian Saidi moves, but also has Tribal Fusion pops and locks; I'll be teaching a piece that I perform as a dark Victorian ghostly character. - I'll also be teaching a workshop called "Invoking the Darkly Goddess". This workshop is far less focused on technique, and focused more on a journey inward. Bellydance has origins in ritual; dance, theatre, and ritual were once fused. This workshop uses Bellydance is a tool to go deep psychologically into the underworld, the idea being that the psychological and spiritual knowledge that one emerges with will then feed into one's Bellydance art, and into living life!
When you create a new dancing piece, how do you start? What comes first,
a new dancing move, a piece of music, some prop you always wanted to use?
And how does it proceed from there?

Usually it begins with a piece of music that I hear. Sometimes it begins with a dream and then I find the music that will express the images in the dream. I know when I'm on the right track because I get a sort of "high" when I'm working. I'll feel infused with power and that's when I know an archetype has come to speak through me. I get obsessed with a certain goddess, character, and/or images. I see my dance as a sort of shamanic mediumship. I let Spirit speak to me using my right brain first; in this way I get the story line and the message. Later on I apply my left brain to the piece to give it definition and technical precision.
How would you describe your dancing style - You are known as a "story teller"
on stage, which dancing styles do you prefer while telling stories and are there any styles which won't work for you?

Yes I'm a storyteller; sometimes there is a narrative element to my pieces and sometimes they're more based around ritual structure. They usually have a theatrical "story arc". I love the strong, sexy, slinky power of Tribal Fusion Bellydance, but I find that the emphasis on technique can sometimes stifle the more theatrical aspects of a piece. Sometimes Classical Bellydance movements are more effective for this. I think successful theatrical Bellydance has to be a good balance between Bellydance technique and theatrical expression. I'm in natural Shaman; many of the movements that I do in a piece aren't Bellydance at all and I'm not even sure how to classify them. Audience members have commented that my pieces remind them of the Japanese performance forms of Butoh and Kabuki Theater. I find that fascinating!

Interview with Aepril Schaile

by Marcel Bieger

When you’re going to an important festival you expect to see important dancers on stage and giving workshops. And every once in a while you are more than just curious, you’re all fired up to see “her”.

This is true for Aepril Schaile, who comes to Offenburg, Germany end of October to participate at the 2nd Black Forest Tribal Festival. She is the darkest theatrical dancer of the world, but she has much more to tell:
2nd Black Forest Tribal Festival
Offenburg, October, 28th - 30th 2011
Graphic design: Konstanze Winkler
Photos ©: 1 Rebecca Fox, 2 and 4 Micaheal Harkavy, 3 Liza Piper
What can we expect from Aepril Schaile at Samhain/Halloween in the
Black Forest?
I am, of course, often referred to as a Gothic Bellydancer, which I own wholeheartedly. I mainly think of myself as a Shamanic Theatrical Bellydancer.