MEET THE

SPEAKERS

I did my best to choose the speakers that will do a great talk/lecture and can share a lot of their experience and know-how. Check them out!

AMANDA ROSE

Amanda Rose is an internationally acclaimed instructor and performer based in Barcelona, Spain. Known for her technical precision, emotionally captivating performances, and insightful instruction, Amanda Rose has made a name for herself in the worldwide Middle Eastern dance community. Her approach to dance, art and pedagogy is greatly shaped by a background in sociology, almost 2 decades of experience with Middle Eastern dance, and a master’s degree in Dance Movement Therapy. She has received wide recognition for Amanda Rose Online, where she has been offering high quality online instruction for over 7 years.

Instruction includes pre-recorded and live online classes, creative process and artistic development coaching, the Choreography Creation Intensive, BellyLAB projects, competition training, unique comprehensive personal feedback, and exploratory and experiential movement classes. Focusing largely on more advanced class material, her students from around the world enjoy classes that provide clear and detailed instruction while being fun, insightful, and in-depth on a variety of topics.

ANOUKH

As a dancer, Anoukh started off in Indian folk dance and Bollywood with the Ghentian Bollywood troupe Gori KaDance. But after a hip injury forced her to stop performing, she ended up back to taking occasional classes. That’s when she discovered the softness of bellydance and the positive effect it had on her body. Under the guidance of Sofie Baeckeland and Badriyah, she found joy in dance and performing once again.  

In her daily life, Anoukh works as content marketer for a Belgian web agency. In her talk, she brings together her two passions of dance and marketing. 

In a 10-year long career in communications, Anoukh worked as a translator, language coach, communications officer and content marketer. Helping companies such as American Express, Omega Pharma, Ghent University, Sensoa and Carglass.

AUBRE HILL

Aubre Hill is an international dance artist, choreographer, educator, and event producer. Aubre has been a professional dance artist for over twenty years with a focus on transcultural and Arabic dance built on a broad foundation of dance forms and study. Her art explores the crossroads of cultural identity and expression in global space, to bring empowerment to individual voices and shared experiences. She has choreographed full dance theatrical productions as well as is the artistic director and choreographer for the Lumina Dance Company, the Qabila Foundation, and the Beyajja Dance Theatre.

Over her career Aubre have been a part of various collaboratives to bring creativity, culture, and community together in new ways. Additionally, she has produced a wide range of events bringing the community together in celebration of Middle Eastern Dance including monthly haflas, dance festivals, workshops, and more. Aubre is currently pursuing her Master’s in Arts Management at Claremont Graduate University and offers a full online education program on Patreon. Her teaching is known for her deep understanding of anatomy & kinesiology while embedding cultural context, history, and artistic expression for a rich educational, and inclusive experience.

BADRIYAH

Badriyah is a professional Raqs Sharqi dancer, devoted mainly to Egyptian classical and folklore styles, and the Golden Age of Raqs Sharqi. Most of all, Badriyah treasures the ten years of performing with Bellydance Evolution (BDE): an international belly dance – theatre show, led by Jillina from USA. Badriyah performed more than 60 shows with the company, both as a troupe dancer and a lead dancer.

Badriyah’s dream is to build up a real Bellydance Museum. As a start, she collects vintage items; such as newspapers, magazines, postcards, lobby cards, vinyl records and press photos depicting bellydancers from 1700′ to 1970′. For now, she has started its online version, where she uploads the scans of the items. Her other dream of producing Golden Era festival became true during the pandemic time, when she organized Kan Zaman – Golden Era Music & Dance Festival.

CERA BYER

Cera Byer is the onwer & founder of Intuitive Edge Coaching, LLC, and the creator of Elemental Entrepreneurship™.

Cera’s Elemental Entrepreneurship™ framework has helped dozens of my creative entrepreneurs create and restructure their businesses toward freedom, fun, and sustainable profit.
Cera is a certified life coach and business coach, as well as being a life-long artist. All of her work is structured from the perspective that we are human first, practitioners of our craft second, and business owners third. 

It is her mission to help fellow artists, creatives, and healers build thriving livings doing the work they love.

DHARA

Dhara is a belly dance artist, mental health clinician, yogi and artistic director of Aranya Belly Dance & Movement. Born and brought up in the colourful land of India, she has grown up with dance and yoga around her. She started her journey in the art of belly dancing more than 12 years ago, beginning her training with Veronica D’souza in Mumbai. 

Her belly dance journey took her around the world. She travelled to China to represent India in The Global Belly Dance Conference and later to the USA to train with Rachel Brice. In 2019, Dhara moved to Canada where she established Aranya Belly Dance and Movement, her own belly dance school.

Dhara’s work as a mental health clinician started in 2016 after graduating with a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. She has experience working in hospitals and schools and is now running her own private practice. Her practice focuses on supporting modern, creative professionals and artists with mental health challenges through therapy and coaching.

EBONY

Ebony’s playful spirit flavors both her performances and her approach to teaching belly dance since 2003. She teaches and performs both traditional raqs sharqi and her own dynamic fusion belly dance style, which is fueled by her background in both oriental and urban dance genres.

Ebony has taught and performed throughout multiple cities in Asia, Canada, Europe, South America and the United States. She has toured internationally with the world famous Bellydance Superstars and Bellydance Evolution and has performed in and choreographed for Zoe Jake’s House of Tarot. She is most honored to be a guest instructor on Rachel Brice’s Datura Online

Ebony has taught and presented at health and wellness events/centers Wanderlust, Lululemon, Daybreaker, Kripalu and Ecstatic Dance. She has performed onstage with Grammy nominated band Thievery Corporation, with electronic musician and performance artist Peaches, and with Turkish/Electronic fusion recording artist Oojami.

She is the co creator of the Black Bellydance Bundle, a project that increases diversity and inclusivity in the bellydance community. 

A founding instructor of Sahara Dance – Washington DC’s Center for Middle Eastern Dance, her students describe her as “approachable” and her classes as “fun” and „challenging“. She teaches weekly classes online in both traditional and urban fusion formats.

ESMERALDA

My name is Esmeralda Colabone and I dance since I was 4 years old.

Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Brazilian Folk and Popular dances were my thing till my 16th birthday when I saw belly dance for the first time. 

„Raw with brown eyes, like the bedouins, the old people“ defined me a Syrian musician back in 2004 – at Le Meridien Damascus, one of the places I was blessed to work in.

So far, 22 years of my life has been dedicated to Dance, most specifically, to Arabic Dance.

From 2002 till 2014, I was chosen by Omar and Olga Naboulsi from BellyDance Brazil to be part of La Maison de L’Artiste from Lebanon – the biggest entertainment agency from the Middle East at that time, directed by Mr Toros Siranossian. I lived the Arab Life and danced in the best 5 stars hotels and restaurants of the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Syria and Lebanon. These places were my home and a one of a kind school!

Today, I’m a Master Teacher, choreographer, producer and CEO of A Bailoca – hoping to contribute more and more to the Dance Community worldwide.

 

CHRISTINE YAVEN

Dubbed, ‚Indonesia’s bellydance icon‘, Christine has almost 20 yearsexperience training and teaching Oriental dance. As the pioneer of Oriental dance in Indonesia, she founded Bellydance Jakarta, Indonesia’s premier Middle Eastern Dance Center. Christine has captured the interest of local and international media and is known as one of the region’s trailblazers. She is often invited to perform and teach throughout the archipelago as well as internationally throughout Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. Christine’s performances are mesmerizing, a perfect fusion of liquid motion, subtle sensuality and exquisite musicality. Her talent is only rivalled by her teaching abilities which not only spans precise technique, but also the soul, values and heritage of Oriental dance. She is a firm believer in artistic creativity and expression and works tirelessly to teach dancers how to be unique, creative Oriental dance artists. Currently Christine teaches classes and workshops online, and is a highly sought-after instructor and performer at multiple international events.

JASIRAH

Professional international dancer, teacher and judge, organizer of Raks Glam Festival in Poland. For over 14 years she has taught regular classes of oriental dance in Poland and master classes around the whole world. You could meet her already teaching and performing in Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Morocco, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States. Since 2014 member of Bellydance Evolution. In 2016 she played main role of Cheshire Cat in“Alice in Wonderland“ during 3 month tour in China, in 2017 she played main role of Mermaid and Florist in “Sheherezade 1001 Night” Show during United States East Coast Tour.
Multi Awarded winner of competitions included:
* 1st place – Champion of Champions 2016 – California USA
* 1st place – Bellydancer of the Universe fusion category – California 2016
* 1st runner up – Bellydancer of the Universe props category – California 2016
* 1st place – Etna Bellydance Festival 2014 in Sicily
* The winner of the People’s Choice Bellydance Evolution „Alice in Wonderland“ European tour … and more


Jasirah has 10 years of experience in ballroom dancing, which gives her strong technical background and makes her performances full of energy. She uses ballroom dance education a lot in her choreographies creating fusions with tango, samba and other styles. Learning from the best ballroom dance masters and legends of oriental dance makes her a mix of huge oriental dance and folklore knowledge with great background of classical technique and skills to explain every movement in details. Well known for her outstanding drum solos, elegant classical technique, double assaya and
double veil skills.

JESSICA PRESTES

Jéssica Melo Prestes has a degree and a BA in History from PUCRS, having carried out research on the historical Black Territories of the city of Porto Alegre and the modern Urban Quilmbos. She is a specialist in Inclusive Education at Censupeg and has ongoing training in Oral History at NEHO/USP. She works as a Social Educator in a project to strengthen bonds. She has 09 years experience as  dancer, researcher and 04 years experience as teacher of Roma Dances. Also she develops independent research on the history of Roma from different territories of the world. Today, she is part of two projects which involves historical research and dance technique of the different Roma Dances.

JRISI & TRISTAN

Known in the Australian bellydance community as the dynamic duo, Jrisí Jusakos (Dancer / Choreographer) and Tristan Baker (Cinematographer / Editor / Musician)  share their love and talents of the arts which has resulted in numerous International and local theatre productions, innovative dance clips and projects.

Tristan brings his vast knowledge of music, conceptual design and eye for detail into his cinematographic work. Specialising in live event film, editing and sound, and with his vast knowledge of music and performance (Bachelor of Arts, Honours in Music) Tristan’s multi skills gives him a unique interpretation of filming and capturing  dance and movement. Currently the artistic director of BAM Studios, he brings his multi skills and training to a variety of shoots from commercial, tv, corporate, education, health and the arts. He is known to be an exceptional communicator and highly regarded for his acute eye for detail.Jrisi’s work in Raqs Sharqui spans over 25years as performer, choreographer, director and International event organiser. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Dance majoring in choreography and is a multi disciplinary dance trained performer.  Currently she runs Hathor Dance Studio with both in studio and online presence. Her deep understanding and experience in working with multiple genres of dance and artists across the world has given Jrisi a unique advantage in developing a communication between dancer and crew and being able to clearly communicate ideas to achieve the best results. As a producer she has sponsored Jillina and Bellydance Evolution, Kaeshi Chai’s Silk Road project as well as inviting local and international guests. Along with Sheyla and Badriyah, she was also one of the producers for the hugely successful online Golden Era festival “Kan Zaman”,  where both Tristan and Jrisi brought their knowledge and experience of multi media presentation. Tristan and Jrisi have been guest jurors for the Raqsi Awards produced by DanceGarden LA “International Raqs Film Festival” for the last two years.

JULIA FARID

Julia Farid – a professional oriental dance artist, instructor and choreographer from Ukraine. Organizer of Isadora Cup Festival, „Dream & Dance“ Intensive Course, founder of Tips4hips online platform, Isadora Dance Academy based in Ukraine and Isadora design studio that creates unique costumes for dancers all over the world. 

By virtue of her excellent teachings skills, deep knowledge of oriental dance and bright performances Julia Farid has become an internationally renowned artist and has been invited to teach to more than 30 countries. Annually she gives workshops and performs at 20−30 bellydance events worldwide.Julia Farid is known for her elegant and feminine way of dancing as well as for introducing Golden Era style on stage mixed with modern oriental dance.

KHADIJAH

Khadijah is a diverse international performer/instructor and Educator of Afro-Arabic dances of North Africa , Arabian Gulf Folklore (Khaleej) and Central Asian dances. She currently resides in Denver, CO originally born in KSA. Khadijah’s approach to dance and movement makes a statement by raising awareness of Blackness (or lack thereof) that is embedded in Arabic culture and beyond. She is continuously traveling, studying and seeking knowledge on a regular basis with the world’s most renowned dancers and musicians of the culture.

KAMRAH

Kamrah is Chicago’s first trans masculine belly dancer and viral TikTok star. They have performed tribal fusion, American cabaret, Lebanese, and Egyptian belly dance since 2001. They have taught at festivals like Tribal Fest®, Tempest’s Waking Persephone (Seattle) in 2014, 2015, and 2016, Tribal Revolution (now Fusion Evolution), GothlaUK, and more. Noted for their creativity, isolations, and theatricality, they currently perform throughout the country as a soloist. Kamrah is also a member of Raks Geek (directed by Dawn Xiana Moon), a geek belly dance and fire company based in Chicago that has garnered press from MSN and The Daily Mail and was recently nominated as Runner Up for Best Dance Troupe in Chicago by the Chicago Reader. Kamrah has also danced with Tucson-based Skirt Full of Fire, directed by Jolie Roberson, and is one half of the goth dance duo Raqs Al-Taneen with their partner, Drake von Trapp.


They are a trained massage therapist, and their knowledge of anatomy enables them to teach students how to dance both powerfully and safely, and has also trained in multiple styles of martial arts for over 13 years. Kamrah is dedicated to always learning, and has recently obtained certifications in Zoe Jakes’s Key of Diamonds and Key of Spades, as well as the Salimpour School’s SL1 and 2 and JL1 and 2, and is a member of the longest-running belly dance show in the world, Bal Anat.

KARIM NAGI

Karim Nagi is a native Egyptian immigrant to the USA, and a true crossover artist uniting the Arab tradition with the global contemporary world. He has released fourteen CDs, ranging from traditional Arab music to fusion and electronica. He has authored instructional videos for Arab percussive instruments and Arab dance styles. As a dance and drum teacher, Nagi has taught in dozens of festivals in the United States, Asia, Europe and Cairo, as well as most major Arab Culture festivals in the USA. He is also a public speaker with a TEDx talk.

He taught at the New England Conservatory of Music for 5 years, and has lectured and presented at Harvard, MIT, Yale, Bowdoin, Princeton, Stanford, Berea, William & Mary, Georgetown, plus Bunker Hill & Attleboro Community Colleges. He has lectured internationally on Arts & Diversity at Kaoushiung (Taiwan) University, Beijing University, and University San Francisco de Quito Ecuador. Additionally, Karim Nagi’s Arabiqa program has conducted over 400 school assemblies across America, exposing young audiences to Arab traditional arts.

His most recent project „Detour Guide“ incorporates English language storytelling with Arab music & rhythm, along with graphic & video art, to describe the experience of Arabs life & culture. Over the past 4 years Nagi has been the beneficiary of two Doris Duke Grant for the Islamic Arts through the Virginia Tech „Salaam“ project and Young Audiences of New Jersey „United We Create“. He has also just been re-elected for a second term to the board of directors for Chamber Music America. In September he gave a TEDx Talk „The Tambourine, My Partner is Diplomacy & Disruption“ which can be seen on the official TED website.

 

KARINA

Karina Chistova (Moscow) is one of the best experts of Egyptian folklore in Russia, and is a frequent guest as a teacher and judge at many major festivals in Russia and abroad.

Since 2007 she has been a teacher of Oriental dance. The winner of the competition of the festival Nile Group 2012 in Cairo. Since 2016 Karina Chistova has been actively touring in Russia, and beyond. She has presented her work at various festivals in Russia, Egypt, USA, Indonesia, Korea, Czech Republic, Latvia, Estonia, Greece, Poland, Spain, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan.

The only dancer from Russia who has visited many cities in Egypt, including visiting oases and studying Bedouin culture. Since 2012 she annually visits Egypt and researches Arabic folklore on her own. Karina has been to many cities and personally researched folklore there, met with local artists, visited ethnographic museums and searched for costumes to create original and authentic dance numbers for the stage, which would reflect the culture of the local population with great accuracy.

Karina is a stage costume designer and collector of original folkloric costumes and Arab country jewelry.

Since 2012, there is an educational online project bellydance-online.com , where she shares to this day her research in the field of Oriental dance and Arab folklore, presenting her lectures and choreography online to a wide audience. In 2020, she compiled all her knowledge into a year-long online course on Egyptian folklore in Russian. A book is planned to be published soon. Many dancers of Oriental dance in Russia and beyond use the theoretical developments of Oriental dance and Arabian folklore and perform choreography created by Karina Chistova.

She has created a unique method of teaching Egyptian Folklore on the basis of dance-movement therapy. At the present time Karina is continuing her research work on the integration of psychological methods into the teaching of Arabic folklore. A book about Egyptian folklore and scientific publications are planned.

KATIE SAHAR

An effusive and ebullient performer from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and now residing in Cairo, Egypt, Katie Sahar is a life time lover of culture and traveling. A social media maven, she is the creator of the #SocialShimmy challenge, and loves helping dancers up their game online and in their business so they can make an impact with their art. Katie teaches personal branding, social media and business principles through courses and coaching so that artists and creatives can ditch scarcity mindset and turn their dreams into reality.

MERCEDES NIETO

Mercedes Nieto is an internationally acclaimed oriental dance artist form a Hungarian-Spanish family, based in Budapest, Hungary. World famous of her delicate, elegant, yet passionate dance style, which is innovative and unique. Her drive is her willingness to share, her main inspiration is the dancer’s ability to express feelings and connect people and worlds.

She has spent a decade touring around the World: since 2009 she had been teaching and performing in more than 50 countries at around 30 different oriental dance events worldwide yearly. While constantly traveling and sharing her knowledge, passion and personal vision of belly dancing, she kept organizing the now internationally highly acclaimed CAIRO! Fest Budapest. The festival attracts hundreds of dedicated dancers to Hungary from all over the world every spring to share and connect.

Mercedes is producing Middle-Eastern music specifically for oriental dancers since 2012: creating music in Cairo, Egypt, in collaboration with some of the best musicians and composers the scene has to offer, producing and releasing the material in Europe. She has released five albums that continue to inspire dancers all over the World. The newest one “Zikrayet” has just been released in 2021.

Meanwhile focusing more on her international career, festival and music productions, Mercedes is still teaching in Budapest in her own dance studio called the “Nimfeum” whenever she’s in town, performing annual shows with her students, organizing charity galas as well as directing the professional oriental dance company “The Nymph Oriental Dance Company”.

During the pandemic times she has started her RAQSoul project: a series of online workshops and weekly classes for dedicated dancers to stay connected and inspired.

She believes in the power of dance as a personal language that meant to express something beyond dance itself, let it be joy, pain, love or life.

NISAA

Nisaa (Heather D. Ward) is a Middle Eastern dance instructor, performer, and researcher based in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.  As an instructor and performer, Nisaa specializes in Egyptian raqs sharqi (belly dance).  Her repertoire also includes Egyptian folkloric dance, including baladi, ghawazi, and sa’idi dance styles, as well as folkloric styles from the Levant and the Persian Gulf.  As a researcher, Nisaa focuses on the history of Egyptian dance and its professional practitioners.  Her investigations into the transition from awalim and ghawazi dance styles to classical raqs sharqi at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries led to the publication of her first book, Egyptian Belly Dance in Transition: The Raqs Sharqi Revolution, 1890-1930, in 2018.  Nisaa’s research has also been published in a variety of Middle Eastern dance related books and magazines, including The Gilded Serpent and The Belly Dance Chronicles.

​Nisaa began her studies of Middle Eastern dance with several well-known dancers in Missouri and Illinois, and over the course of her dance career, she has continued to attend master classes, seminars, and workshops with internationally-renowned dancers such as Aisha Ali, Farida Fahmy, Mahmoud Reda, Sahra Saeeda, and Yousry Sharif, among others.  She travels regularly to Egypt for research.  In addition to her dance training, Nisaa holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and history from Kent State University and a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Nisaa’s academic background rounds out her dance training and provides the foundation for her meticulous approach to the study of Middle Eastern dance.

​Through excellent instruction, outstanding performances, and original research, Nisaa presents Middle Eastern dance as a living, dynamic folk art and a window into the rich heritage of the peoples and cultures of the Middle East.

PANAYIOTA

Panayiota, an Anatolian Greek American, lives between Greece/USA. She hails from present day Turkey (and Sparta) from a refugee surviving peoples. As a fourth generation artist, with a double major university degree in Dance and Psychology, she has been able to understand and gather both dance history knowledge and the psychology of her people, as this dance traveled across many borders. One of her greatest and most respected achievements is developing the first and only codified approach to Tsifteteli – Greek Bellydance, since 1997. As the director of HAFI, she enjoys organizing events, teaching/performing internationally and decolonizing dance ethnography. Her life revolves around performing, teaching, ethnography, translating and most importantly as an archivist. She loves to integrate energetic healing methodologies into her practice through dance somatics, dance fitness, acupuncture and reiki. Panayiota’s contributions involve adding the H to MENAHT, creating a massive Greek music translation collection which is featured exclusively on Shira.net, among others. With over twenty five years in the industry, she is the most sought out specialist in Greek Bellydance history, technique and its politics. Panayiota loves to share her Middle Eastern heritage to those who have a curiosity, open mind and love for piecing together a puzzle of which creates a colorful mosaic of the existence of our beautiful ancient dance!

RAÏSSA LEÏ

Raïssa Leï is a versatile Moroccan dancer and choreographer based in Paris. She is also a scientific engineer and Executive Coach. She is Amazigh (Berber) from a Zenet tribe from Eastern Morocco. 

Her dominant styles are Waacking and Amazigh dances from which she created a fusion with her own signature more than 10 years ago. She traveled across Europe, USA, North-Africa, Middle-East, India and Japan to improve her knowledge and to enter competitions but also to perform, give conferences and workshops.

Passionate about her Amazigh roots she recreates her heritage in her dance universe, through amazigh tattoos, jewelry, outfits but also to question colonial history and art decolonization. She is always evolving around influences between modernity and traditions.

Raïssa Leï created in 2017 Kif-Kif Bledi dance group that specializes in what she calls alternative dances from MENAT. The group is composed of immigrants and children of immigrants from Africa and the Middle-East who share their heritage with authenticity and tradition.

She is also involved in organizations in Morocco and the French Waacking community since 2010.

SAMANTHA KARIM

With education in ballet, modern, salsa, ballroom, free-style, and belly dance, Samantha has harnessed the art of fusion dance while still recognizing the importance and beauty of traditional performances.

Samantha’s passionate performances inspire an authentic relationship with her students’ and her audience.

A sought after instructor, Samantha’s skilled, effective, fun, and compassionate teaching method are one-of-a-kind.

Her commitment to her students’ success involves opening them up to a journey of discovery and to not only inspire, but to also challenge them to “let their dancer out”.

 

Some awards, accomplishments, acknowledgements, or whateva…

  • 2016 Belly Dancer of the Universe Egyptian Champion and Fusion People’s Choice Winner
  • USA Belly Dance Queen Pro-Soloist 2013 Winner
  • Featured on TLC’s Four Weddings
  • Nominated for Arizona’s Favorite Cabaret/Oriental Artist in 2012

SHAHRZAD

Shahrzad is a professional dance instructor and performer specializing in Raqs Sharqi as well as traditional and social dance styles from around North Africa and the Middle East. She began studying Middle Eastern dance at the age of 11 and quickly found her passion in Egyptian music and dance, going on to study intensively with Egyptian style instructors such as Habiba, Faten Salama, Raqia Hassan, Soraia Zaied, and more.

In 2015 Shahrzad moved to Egypt to live and work full time and has since made a career as a performer appearing in top night clubs as well as film and media. To supplement her 20+ years of dance training Shahrzad also holds several fitness certifications including becoming a PMA certified Pilates instructor in 2013.

 

SHARON KIHARA

Sharon Kihara is a retired dancer, choreographer and Fusion style pioneer. She is currently a fine jeweler and resides in Portland, Oregon with her partner and their pack of dogs.

 

SHEYLA

Sheyla devoted her dance path in connecting and educating the community in her homeland, the Czech Republic. She is one of the pioneers in bringing Egyptian folklore to the knowledge of dancers and teachers in the country, and abroad. Falling in love with Egypt in 2004 brought her to oriental dance and soon Egyptian folklore studies. Her teachers were also a legends such as Kharia Mazin, Mahmoud Reda, Nesma, Mohamed Shellaby, Fifi el Saed, Kamal Naim, Sahra Saeeda and many more. Thanks to her work and research she could be part of cultural projects organized by EU, Ministry of Interior and Center for foreigners with aim to educate youth about cultural differences, doing lectures and exhibitions for public and activities for foreigners. Sheyla founded and directed an international festival called Tales of Sahara for 8 years with aim to create a safe space for dancers to connect, create together, perform and learn.

Sheyla performed and taught classes in many countries such as India, South Africa, Greece, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Korea etc. She founded a folklore group Al Fayyum Dancers with whom she got honoured by many awards, Awaleem Performing Arts group with whom she focused on vintage or golden era dance style. Currently she is working with group Aphrodisia Dance Company on cabaret and public shows.

Sheyla is continuously awarded not always with prizes but with passionate students and audience she love to perform for.

SHINING

Shining is a performer, instructor and researcher of Egyptian traditional dances, whose work reflects a strong emphasis of the cultural and historical influences on the medium of dance in and from Egypt. She is internationally recognized for her historical recreations of early Raqs Sharqi and the candelabra-balancing dance named Raqs el Shamadan.

Over the last 17 years Shining has studied dances from the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Central Asia with a variety of instructors foreign and native to these cultures, but in order to gain a deeper understanding of dance in the context of Egyptian society and conduct research on the disappearing traditional entertainment styles, she moved to Egypt in the summer of 2021.

Her first project in Egypt (www.banatmazin.com) was founded the following spring, in cooperation with Khyria Mazin (from the famous Banat Mazin family of entertainers) to create a website dedicated to the legacy of the Mazin family which includes recorded lessons, interviews, song translations, family bios, streamable music and more; enabling the international dance community to learn directly from Khyria now and far into the future.

SHRUTI

Shruti aims to spread her passion for the art form of Raqs Sharqi through carefully curated knowledge and out-of-classroom initiatives for the community such as „Beyond Bellydance – A Lecture Series“ & – „Raq and Read By SODC – An Online Book and Video Club“. With over 12 years of performance and teaching experience to her credit, Shruti has a keen interest in the socio-political, cultural and historical aspects of the dances and spends a great deal of time working on historical reconstructions of dances from the early 1900s, choreographies and dances inspired by Golden and Transition Eras and Egyptian Folklore. Shruti was recently awarded in the „TOP 100 Women Icons of India“ and has been recognised by the Fox Network for her contributions and work in the field of Bellydance in India. Shruti is the Founder and Artistic Director of Samai Oriental Dance Company – a performance house and academy focused on imparting knowledge on Oriental, Egyptian Folklore and Andalusian dances

SIOBHAN

Siobhan Camille is a multi-award winning belly dancer and the founder of Greenstone Belly Dance. Her love of music is equaled only by her love of movement, making belly dance her perfect match. Her joyful movement and 1000-watt smile captivate audiences across the globe. Her dance training is primarily in Egyptian raqs sharqi, but she also has extensive training in American Cabaret and fusion styles.   

Siobhan’s precise movement and playful style have been winning her dance accolades since 2014, most notably a 3rd Place and Judge’s Award for Excellence in Presence in the Professional category at the Hamilton International Belly Dance Competition in 2020. In 2021, her hard work earned her the amazing opportunity of joining the cast of Bellydance Evolution’s performance of The Wizard Of Oz in Copenhagen as part of the Oriental ensemble.⁠

Siobhan Camille has an extensive background in exercise science with postgraduate level degrees in Exercise Prescription and Rehabilitation Science. She takes a particular interest in the safety, strength, and performance of dancers, and conducted the first-ever formal research on injury incidence in belly dancers. She draws on this background to emphasise safe dance technique and teaches her students how to find and activate muscles to create clear movement.⁠

SIGRID VAN ROODE

Sigrid van Roode holds an M.A. in Egyptology from Leiden University, The Netherlands. During her studies in Egypt she was introduced to the history of traditional silver jewellery and has been researching jewellery ever since. She is currently working on her PhD into jewellery and ritual, also at Leiden University.

Sigrid provides consultancy to museums and collectors about traditional jewellery with her company Bedouin Silver. To her, jewellery is a historic source and cultural heritage, not simply adornment. Raising awareness about this aspect of jewellery is her main driving force: she curates exhibitions, authors books and gives talks and workshops both online and offline.

In 2021, Sigrid started a new initiative to ensure collected jewellery items have a long future as heritage. Her non-profit organization The Qilada Foundation brings jewellery that has been collected decades ago into its care, offers research and educational possibilities and transfers collections to museums (preferably) in their countries of origin.

YALIA

Yalia is an oriental dance artist based in Vienna-Austria. Her heart belongs to the Egyptian style of oriental dance and music. You can describe her style as cheeky, feminine, earthy and humorous. Yalia has danced various African dances from an early age and took oriental dance lessons for the first time at the age of 14. 

Soon she began to travel through Europe to take lessons from Egyptian and European teachers, who of course also brought her to Egypt. The Nilegroup Festival in Cairo and SBDF Sweden were a huge part of her journey to become a professional dancer and gain a deeper understanding of Egyptian culture. 

Since 2003 she has been traveling as a teacher, choreographer and performer for oriental dance to countries such as Egypt, Sweden, Finland, Spain, Italy, Germany, Greece, France, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland … 

Yalia is a teacher and performer at the Nilegroup Festival in Cairo and the SBD Festival in Stockholm.

Bodypositivity/body acceptance/body neutrality in dance is a very important topic for her. 

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