"In general, the dancer should be perfect in every point, so as to be wholly rhythmical, graceful, symmetrical, consistent, unexceptionable, impeccable, not wanting in any way... keen in his ideas, profound in his culture, and above all, human in his sentiments. In fact, the praise that he gets from the spectators will be consummate when each of those who behold him recognizes his own traits, or rather sees in the dancer as in a mirror his very self, with his customary feeling and actions. Then people cannot contain themselves for pleasure, and with one accord they burst into applause, each seeing the reflection of his own soul and recognizing himself. Really, the Delphic admonition "Know thyself" realizes itself in them from the spectacle. When they go away from the theater they have learned what they should choose and what avoid, and have been taught what they did not know before."
Lucian, Greek Poet. 2nd century C.E.
I am eternally grateful to my teachers. For sharing their knowledge. For their willingness to accept a male student. For putting up with my clumsiness, and my slow learning. For coaching, enabling, encouraging, motivating, and pushing just the right amount! For bringing out the hidden dancer in this clumsy male! Presented here in the order in which I encountered them.
Pictures used here with permission of each.
Guilty as charged! Imzadi gets the "blame" for my falling in love with Belly Dancing!
Oh, where to start? Imzadi was the lady who first showed me the beauty, grace, power, and connectiveness-with-the-music of this dance form. I guess she just did the right routine with the right music. She was looking for feedback (from me of all people!) on her new routine, and I was hooked!
Since then, she has give me a lot of advice and help. She was especially helpful with my first solo, coached me in technique, gave me costuming tips, etc. She definitely has earned her place as one of my teachers!
In the early days, when I'd ask her "Just what have you gotten me involved with?". She would just smile and tell me "Its good for you!". And so it is, although I like teasing her that this is all her "fault"!
Wiggle Woman: Janette often
incorporates magic into her dance!
Janette was my very first teacher, the one who told me "I've had both male students and male teachers - come on down!". And made a slightly scared male feel welcome in her class.
I affectionately call her "Wiggle Woman", due to a caption under her picture in a local newspaper. Janette has a wonderful, bubbling, joyous personality that just flows from her in everything she does. Her performances are filled with joy, she's happy and having a good time and wants everyone to know it, and to share it! She is definitely one of my role models and heros!
Janette is now retired.
A good reason for all you ladies out there to Belly Dance: This is Jamaica at 4 months with her third child!
Jamaica was my second teacher, whom I joined after I had to leave Janette due to schedule conflicts (I eventually took classes from both for a number of years.). Jamaica's teaching style is very good for my way of learning. She is also taller than I am, so similar body sizes helps me learn. She is an absolute Master at slow, dramatic Belly Dance - quite rare and very awesome! The only problem with watching her dance is that I get a HUGE inferiority complex!
I affectionately call her my "Dance Mother", since her's has been the guiding hand throughout most of my Belly Dance development. It was Jamaica who first got me on stage (see First Performance, a Tale of Terror?), not to mention constant encouragement (or was that badgering?!? ) until I got up the gumption to do my first solo!
A better role model and hero does not exist!
The ultra talented Lana!
Lana is one of my dance sisters who has helped me quite a bit with technique and inspiration. If there is something artistic this lady can't do, I've yet to hear of it! Utterly gorgeous dancer, wonderful costumer, and fantastic painter and muralist. She can do a veil dance so beautiful, it literally brings tears to my eyes. She is one of only two dancers that I use the word "exquisite" to describe her dancing - the other being Fahtiem!
She painted a beautiful mural in Janette's studio, a very spiritual rendition of the Akropolis, as well as an exquisite painting that hangs above my piano.
You can see more of her wonderful paintings and murals on MuralsByLana.com!
The Mighty Siwa in her Folkloric splendor!
I'd known the mighty Siwa for years before I managed to take a workshop from her (2 March 2008 on Balancing). However, she's been listed here for a very long time as she has made several wonderful costumes for me, and has given me much encouragement and advice over the years. I joined her folkloric Belly Dance class in mid 2008, and subsequently became a full fledged member of her troupe, Dancers of the Crescent Moon! I'm also a member of her 1970s style Cabaret troupe, "Damascus" (née "Daughters of Damascus") being the first (and only) male ever allowed into either.
Valeria at Kalisa's
I've taken several workshops from this absolutely wonderful old-school dancer. Don't miss one of her workshops - she is a powerhouse of knowledge and her workshops are a lot of fun too! Plus she's a sweetheart!
I took a veil workshop at Rakkasah from the legendary Bert Balladine on 18 March 2003. Bert needs no introduction! You can hear his passion for the dance in his voice, and see it in his eyes! Remarkable person, my only wish was that I could have learned more from him! Bert is now deceased, unfortunately.
I also took a workshop from Rakkasah organizer Shukriya on on 18 March 2003. "Finger Cymbals, Steps and Combos". Shukriya really knows her Zills! Very nice lady, very nice class. Shukriya is now deceased, unfortunately.
Caroleena displays the sheer power of Belly Dance!
I've taken two workshops from this exceptional teacher, both two part ones. The first was in late March 2003, the second was in mid June 2003.
Very good synergy between what she was teaching, and what I was ready to learn. (Even if I was clumsy in my execution! (Gives me something to practice!)) I learned the "duck walk" which I had been wanting to learn for some time. Chest locks and gliding were also pounded into my brain! Zill patterns, and several complex steps that are quite beautiful. I learned a lot from Caroleena! Nice lady, wonderful teacher, great dancer!
Don't miss one of her workshops!
Is there anything more fantastic than double veil dancing?
I took my very first double veil workshop from this outstanding dancer on 24 May 2003. She was such a good teacher - she made a 3 hour workshop fly by in seemingly 15 minutes! And I was able to actually do everything she was teaching! What a blast! I sent several students her way over the ensuing years who wanted to learn double veil, but she has now retired.
Shyamala exhibits the grace of classical Indian dance!
My wife and I both took a Bharata Natyam (See description below) workshop from the wonderful Shyamala. The class was a ton of fun, and we came away with an appreciation of Indian dancing - and some really cool hand gestures!
Shyamala Moorty was raised in Monterey, CA. She holds a BA and an MFA in dance and choreography from UCLA and has spent the last 10 years in Los Angeles learning classical Indian dance from guru Malathi Iyengar. Shyamala has been a member of Malathi Iyengar's Rangoli Dance Company since 1994 and has toured with the company both in the U.S. and in India. She also has been featured as a soloist and principal dancer with the Aman International Music and Dance Ensemble since 1997. She also performs her own Indian and western dance-theater (con)fusions with her collaborator Sandra Chatterjee under the name Inner [di]visions.
As a native of Monterey, she enjoys returning to perform and teach master classes.
Bharata Natyam is a South Indian dance form that is over 2000 years old and still evolving. It involves rhythmic footwork and storytelling with hands and face. The form highlights 9 basic emotions and is traditionally used to express devotion to Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
Alexandra performed with us at Kalisa's!
Both my wife and I have taken multiple workshops from the fabulous Alexandra King. We've probably taken more workshops from her than any other two teachers combined! She is fantastic!
In fact, she is one of only three teachers who I will sign up for her workshops blind - without knowing in advance what she is teaching. "Alexandra King's doing a workshop? Sign me up! Oh, by the way, what is she teaching?"
Check out her WebSite, www.alexandraking.com!
Rebekah and her cane at Kalisa's!
Rebekah taught an excellent cane dance workshop on 18 October 2003. Rebekah really knows her cane work, and she also knows how to teach it. The proof is that I grokked virtually all of it. Oh to be sure, I blundered around a bit (I always do), but I was actually getting it!
So I came home with a dance cane, cost all of $7.00. I'll have to incorporate this into a future dance - I find I like the cane far better than the sword.
Catch up with Rebekah at her Website!
Kamaal (Left) and Zorba at ANAS 2004.
Kamaal was one of the first examples of a male Belly Dancer I encountered when looking for pictures and information on the 'net. I had never had the pleasure of watching him perform or teach. Now I've had both! He teaches a fantastic drum solo and choreography workshop, which I attended on 17 November 2003. I had only been waiting for this workshop for like 9 months, when Kamaal's good friend the mighty Siwa told me about it!
I took a second workshop "That 70's Dancer" from Kamaal on the 2004 Arabian Nights At Sea Cruise which was a load of fun!
And now I've taken a THIRD workshop, his famous Double Veil workshop on 13 February 2005 - this one is NOT TO BE MISSED if you are at all interested in Double Veil - but be prepared to work hard!
UPDATE: Kamaal has, unfortunately, retired from dancing and teaching due to health issues. He was one of the pioneers in not only male Belly Dancing, but just "Belly Dancing" in general. He is missed by the dance community. However, he graciously allowed me to upload his Double Veil Instructional Video to youtube!
Shoshanna and her veil.
I love my veils. So does Shoshanna. If you do too, then you MUST take one of Shoshanna's veil workshops! I took her "Four Yard Veil Master Class" - if it had been anything other than veil, the "Master" part would have scared me off! But I was ready for the techniques she was teaching, but not quite as ready for the workout my arms got! This was the same day (17 November, 2003) that I took Kamaal's drum solo class - I was already tired!
Her class was full of fun and laughter and lots of good techniques. And WOW, when she performs, she does stuff with her veil I hadn't even thought of! You can find out the latest with Shoshanna at her WebSite.
"The Little Package of Dynamite"
Karri Duke is widely known as "The Little Package of Dynamite" - and with good reason! I've never seen anyone with as much energy! My wife and I took a workshop with her on 31 January 2004, and what a workshop it was! She definitely danced me right into the floor! Learned some really cool techniques.
Her performances are full of energy too, and I was amazed when she executed a flawless version of the fabled "Turkish Drop".
She has since moved to Texas.
"Rossah - What a nice lady!"
Rossah (Pronounced "Rassah") of Las Vegas is a well known expert on Moroccan dances. Formerly of Santa Cruz California, she returned there for a pair of workshops 21 and 22 May 2004.
The first was a traditional Moroccan tray dance (similar to the one John Compton is famous for), the second was a workshop on Sai'idi dance. Lots of fun, and Rossah is an excellent instructor - very easy to follow.
Don't miss Rossah's Guest Article right here on this site!
Carolena Nericcio, EXCELLENT instructor!
Carolena Nericcio of Fat Chance Belly Dance hardly needs an introduction! But just in case someone from another planet happens by, she's the founder and director of this legendary troupe.
My wife and I took Carolena's workshop on 27 June 2004. Cool workshop, we learned how to lead and follow and switch off leading in the tribal style. This should prove very useful, even as a cabaret dancer. I'm thinking of duets and the like. Carolena is a top notch instructor - very clear and concise and eager to answer questions!
Aziza Sa'id, wonderful instructor, wonderful person.
Aziza Sa'id is a wonderful teacher, and wonderful person! My wife and I both took various workshops from her on various "editions" of the Arabian Nights at Sea Belly Dance cruises.
What can I say? Aziza's knowledge is well researched, her classes are informative and fun, and she is a very real human being! If you have an opportunity to take a class from her - don't miss it!
Fahtiem and myself at ANAS 2005.
The legendary Fahtiem is another teacher who hardly needs an introduction! My wife and I both took workshops from her for many years on the annual Arabian Nights at Sea Belly Dance cruise.
Her warmup routines are legendary - a cardiovascular workout you won't forget! Her classes are very informative, and I really like how she gives each and every student individual attention - I've never experienced anything like it! She has everyone practicing the move de jour while she moves around the class, making eye contact with each student in turn, and corrects any problems. I like that, a very effective teaching technique.
She is, in every sense of the word, a true class act. Not only an excellent artist and technician, but very gracious and humble as well. I cannot say enough in praise.
My wife and I took a cane workshop from Natasha of Santa Cruz on 8 January 2005. A lovely lady who really helped with my cane technique - although I now have LOTS of practicing to do! She taught us stuff I hadn't seen elsewhere, and the workshop was particularly timely as I've been working on cane a bit, getting ready to bring Nadia's cane back to the stage!
Artemis - no-one else even comes close!
I've had many instructors in my years of learning this dance form. Many of them are fantastic, and I've learned lots. Then there's Artemis - the original founder of Artemis Imports. The way she was able to connect with my brain, get to the heart of the matter, and understand my direction and where I am dance-wise is incredible! Granted, the one-on-one is part of it, but this woman really helped my dance faster than anyone else has ever managed! It's like she knows what I'm thinking before I think it!
When you talk about middle eastern drumming, two names always come up, Reda Darwish and "Uncle Mafufo". The buck stops here with these guys! My wife and I both took drumming workshops with Reda - not only does he know his drumming and how to teach it (very well!), but he is also a real sweetheart of a guy!
Zahra Zuhair knows her Egyptian dance!
My wife and I both took Egyptian dance workshops from Zahra on the 2005 Arabian Nights at Sea Belly Dance cruise. Fun class, very comprehensive, nice lady!
You can catch up with her latest classes and events on her WebSite!
I took a Sa'idi stick workshop from DaVid on 12 February 2006. He knows his stuff! In addition to being a wonderful dancer in his own right, he also just happens to be an excellent instructor! Don't miss him if he comes to perform or teach in your area!
Check out his WebSite!
I took regular classes with Sahar of Santa Cruz for about a year. A very friendly, outgoing lady, Sahar's class is a lot of fun, and is challenging! She teaches Egyptian cabaret style - which is a challenge to this American cabaret style dancer.
You can read her impressive resumé on Sahar's WebSite!
I first encountered Janelle when I took an Egyptian style workshop from this dynamic Santa Cruz teacher on 6 August 2006. Although the workshop was a bit over my head, I still managed to come away with several new ideas and moves - including layering a Maia over a Grapevine Flip. She's a great teacher and a great dancer - in fact so good that I took regular classes with her for about 5 years!
You can visit her at Janelle's WebSite!
The famed Nourhan Sharif.
Nourhan Sharif is one of Wiggle Woman's heros. Similar dance style and similar teaching style. I took a five hour workshop with Nourhan on 21 August '06, and what a workshop it was! She likes to drill students - which I like far better than choreographies I'm not going to remember anyway! Highly Recommended!
Not Cabaret, not quite Tribal; the late John Compton was one of the best known Belly Dancers around, male or otherwise. He was universally loved by dancers and the public alike for his quick wit and his superb dancing skills. My wife and I took a combos and Zills class from him on the 2006 ANAS cruise, although I knew him as an acquaintance for several years prior. He was co-director of the famed Hahbi 'Ru dance company.
Aradia of Las Vegas.
Aradia is a very skilled and knowledgeable dancer who studied under Janette many years ago. I've taken multiple workshops from her on various editions of the ANAS cruise, and they all were excellent. She's had me doing her combos and taqsims right in class - which is always an accomplishment for any teacher! Highly recommended.
You can visit her on her WebSite.
Mahalia taught a henna class and "something tribal/folkloric" every year on the ANAS cruise. I FINALLY was able to take her henna class on the 2007 cruise, as well as a folkloric basket dance workshop on the 2006 cruise. She is a fun teacher, and the dance was fun as well!
The troupe Mirage skirt dance is based on a skirt dance I learned from Mahalia on the 2008 cruise!
Ma*Shuqa Mira Murjan
I took a Isis wings and veil workshop from this talented instructor on 24 September '06. She has a beautiful studio, and has a nice, friendly, informative teaching style. Like myself, she likes Organza as a veil fabric! Ma*Shuqa's prolific workshop schedule can be found on her WebSite.
I first saw Aziza at the Luna Gitana festival a few years ago where she did an utterly amazing veil dance with a bright red silk veil - and gave me a severe case of veil envy!
Janette, myself, and two dance sisters attended her "Quality of Movement" workshop on 13 April 2007. It was a lot of fun and very informative! She's a sweetheart as well! You can catch up with her on her WebSite.
Cory Zamora and I have had an ongoing email relationship for quite a few years, as we share similar dance philosophies and a disdain for those who would besmirch our dance form with skanky dancing. So on 2 June 2007, when I finally met her in person, she was like an old friend. I have now taken four workshops, as well as a private intensive, from her.
She has an easy going teaching style that nonetheless covers a LOT of ground quickly. I really enjoy her descriptive names for moves, veilwraps, etc. You can catch up with her on her WebSite. She also has a number of great videos as well!
The legendary Helena Vlahos.
I took a "Cabaret Belly Dance" class from Helena at ANAS 2007. She's a wonderful person, and a great teacher! I loved her combinations and her technique is great. But I especially liked her spiritual connection with the dance. I'm lucky enough to have in my possession a quarter that she used (with several others) to demonstrate her famous belly coin flipping trick!
See more beautiful pictures, and find out her latest news on her WebSite!
ANAS '07 - I took a Taqsim class from Angelika. She gave me a new perspective on the Taqsim - that will help me in dancing them. I find the Taqsim to be the hardest aspect of our dance, Angelika built on Aradia's Taqsim class that I took the previous year - the result of that class helped me actually do my first Taqsim, Angelika's class has built on that foundation.
I took several workshops from Paulina at various editions of the ANAS cruise. She's excellent and fun! Paulina's the gal who narrated the Belly Dance Television (BD-TV) series (which I can recommend) and performs at the "Greek at the Harbor" in Ventura, California (which I can also recommend). She was also the one who was kind enough to relinquish her claim on the song "Dark Fire" years ago at ANAS '05, so I could do a double veil performance to it.
"Mistress of the Storm"
I took four workshops in Seattle from this dynamite teacher, 8 & 9 March 2008. She's a Turkish gal living in Germany, and she teaches at Rakkasah every year. She's way cool, high energy and lots of fun! She likes to put little yips in her dance. She kind of reminds me of a cross between Fahtiem and Janette!
Her WebSite (in German).
I took a Salsa/Belly Dance fusion workshop from this gal on 7 July 2008 - and was actually able to keep up with her rather high energy level! Fun gal, good teacher!
My wife and I both took classes from Firefly for a wonderful 9 months before she moved away! She was a BellySema instructor! I found her an excellent compliment to my classes with Janelle, as Firefly emphasized good posture, good technique, and was very hands on in her instructional method. What Monterey lost, Sunnyvale gained!
At first, I only managed to take ½ of a workshop from Jill Parker - I was forced to leave early as I was light headed and dizzy for reasons unknown. It was called "Ooey, Gooey, Slow & Slinky" at ANAS '08; I was quite impressed with this gal - so I was able to finish the workshop as she offered it again at ANAS '09! YAY!
Jill is the founder and leader of the SF Bay area troupe Ultra Gypsy, whom I've had the pleasure of seeing perform on more than one occasion.
Masha is Lana's daughter. I can remember when she was a "baby belly". Now she's teaching classes, and my wife and I found ourselves in Masha's class when she took over Firefly's class when the latter moved away.
We really like Masha, once we got over the shock of Firefly's sudden departure. Masha was able to get me triple layering in the second class I took with her - quite an accomplishment for me, and quite the endorsement for her! Unfortunately, she too has removed herself to the San Francisco bay area.
Bibi is another dancer whom I've known for years, and finally "got around to" taking her class. My wife and I saw an exhibition performance put on by Bibi's girls - we liked what we saw. That plus the fact one of our Mirage dance sisters was one of Bibi's students was enough to land us in class. Bibi is very spirited, sassy, and spunky in her dance style (and personality!), and we had lots of fun in her class! She has since moved to the Las Vegas area.
The Shimmy Sisters
The Shimmy Sisters
My wife and I both took a fantastic workshop from these talented sisters on the 2009 Arabian Nights at Sea after seeing them blow the doors off the Queen Mary lounge at the student hafla of the 2008 edition of same! Their workshop was a lot of fun, don't miss them if they come to your area.
I took an armwork workshop on the 2009 Arabian Nights at Sea from Mesmera; whom I'd seen perform, but had never studied under. She broke down armwork into geometric shapes and patterns that I can understand! I also took her Gypsy style Belly Dance at the 2010 ANAS.
Didi and Zorba at The Mighty Siwa's Samhain celebration!
The late Doreet "Didi" Gordon was a wonderful Tribal fusion dancer, instructor, Wiccan Priestess, and friend of The Mighty Siwa. When we lost FireFly, several of us had been looking for another Tribal instructor - and when Didi decided to start instruction, we all joined up! Her class was fun, relaxing, and interesting to this Cabaret-style guy! There is now a Didi Memorial Gallery.
Mindy was an "on occasion" teacher for Zorba - when I was in the Space Coast area of Florida, I would drop in on her class. She was a wonderful Cabaret instructor with beautiful arms. She has unfortunately had to retire from dancing and leave the Belly Dance scene.
I've seen Ashley do this in her dance in person!
When I was adding Tribal style to my repertoire, in addition to my beloved Cabaret style, I'd been seen in a few Tribal workshops. I took several from Ashley on the ANAS cruises. She's GREAT! A very nice person, a wonderful teacher with very clear instruction, and a fantastic dancer! She has cool tattoos too!
Mirage went to a Tribal workshop with Laura on 5 August 2011. I had heard about Laura from one of my DCM dance sisters, so I approached her about her class. She wanted to do a workshop with us as she is currently only teaching beginning Tribal - and what a wonderful workshop it was! We were all VERY impressed.
Tarik Sultan is probably the foremost Male Belly dancer in the world. Protogé of the storied Morocco for many years, he has studied, researched, practiced, performed, and taught the subject of Belly Dance in general, and the male form thereof in particular! I took a pair of workshops (balancing and Shaabi) as well as a private session with him on 14 August 2011.
If you are a male Belly Dancer, you owe it to yourself to study with Tarik. No "stupid male tricks", no ego trip, no masculinizations; just beautiful dancing. He's a very gentle, patient, yet thorough teacher.
I took a pair of workshops with this well known southern California dancer on the 2011 ANAS cruise. Both were quite informative - I learned some abdominal techniques that I've never seen anywhere else! She is very down to earth and has quite the sense of humor!
Hassan Yousef Deeb
Hassan Yousef Deeb
I'd been sharing stages with Hassan since I was a baby dancer. He was local to me, and like me, got his start at Kalisa's of yore. He is famous for his double veil dancing, and won the "Grand Dancer" category at the 2012 Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition.
He on very rare occasions would teach a workshop on his double veil technique. I finally got around to taking both this, and a choreography class, shortly after his Grand Dancer award.
His style and mine are very different - however, I learned a tremendous amount in his class that I can use in my style. He's a very fun, and personable teacher!
Nikki kind of fell in my lap - so to speak. Turns out a salon near my workplace was advertising yoga classes. I stopped in to inquire, both about the classes and possibly renting the space that they obviously had for troupe rehearsals. The owner told me they were planning to have Belly Dance classes there. One thing led to another, and so my wife, myself, and several other dance sisters - both old and new - all attended Nikki's newly formed class.
Time has, of course, marched on and Nikki has left the area, and actually now lives about 4 hours away from me in Florida!
At the suggestion of Didi, I attended a workshop by this fantastic guy called "Seducing the Darkness". He's a great instructor and has fantastic technique, being one of the "New Breed" of male Tribal dancers who are making huge inroads into this branch of Belly Dance.
I was in the "Space Coast" area of Florida - and wanted to drop in on Mindy's class. Unfortunately, she was taking a hiatus from teaching due to having teenagers - unfortunately it turned out to be a permanent departure. So she sent me to one of her teachers, Tambil. Tambil is an old skool Turkish style dancer originally out of New York. I really enjoyed her class (I went several times!) as I haven't done much Turkish style, lots of Zills, different combinations than what I'm used to, and fast movements! Fun, friendly teacher!
Tambil has since retired, although I still see her in the audience at various events.
Dunia was a force to be reckoned with in the greater San Jose Belly Dance community for decades, and ran the "Desert Dance Festival" for 29 years. She retired from teaching in about 2010 (she was Siwa's first teacher!), but in 2015 came out of retirement to teach an intermediate/advanced class.
I was in her class until I left California, and she left the state herself about a year later. She taught in the "Old Skool" way; pure American Cabaret Belly Dance in all its beauty, strength, and glory. Like Cory Zamora, she had us with Zills on at all times. I felt like I'd come home!
She is the talented artist that made our Aughkstra as seen at the top of the Events Page!
I first encountered Jenn when I still lived in California. I was attempting to contact Tambil because I was coming out to Florida for several weeks and wanted to drop into her class. When I couldn't make contact, I searched around for another Florida teacher, and found Jenn. Long story short, she had taken Mindy's place when the latter had to withdraw from teaching.
About that time, a certain dance choreography was all the rage in California. It was an alternate dance for "Shimmy Mob" called "Op". You couldn't go to a Belly Dance event without somebody dancing it - usually a group. I learned it more-or-less by osmosis myself. So I showed up to Jenn's class on one of my Florida trips, and am telling her about this dance that everybody was crazy about. After I did a partial demonstration, she exclaimed "That's MY dance!". She had submitted it to Shimmy Mob, and was amazed that it had caught on like wildfire in California!
Now that I'm in Florida permanently, Jenn is my instructor. She has QUITE "the eye", and incredible choreography skills - hitting little nuances in the music that few others even notice. She can also tell what muscle a dancer is using for a given movement - I've never seen anything quite like it and it means that I can't get away with anything in her class. She has eyes in the back of her head too.
She has a natural affinity for the music that is very rare, and she's an accomplished and lovely veil dancer as well.
She teaches at Melbourne Ballroom Dance Studio, and she also has a website.
Sese Geddes has been a fixture of the Santa Cruz dance scene for a couple of decades; cut her teeth with Dunia years back, and was Imzadi's instructor as well. I had never taken a class with her, but finally was able to take her "Soloist Showcase" specialty class on the high recommendation of The Mighty Siwa and others. Sese's school website: Belly Dance Basics.
I was introduced to Jesenia in her was "Beyond the Stage Curtains" workshop here in Florida. It dovetailed nicely with what I was studying in California with Sese, and Jesenia did a good job teaching something which is almost unteachable. She's a beautiful dancer too, don't miss her fan dance!
Yvonne is the Space Coast's equivalent to Janelle, being that she's also a Salimpour school affiliate/instructor. Plus she and Janelle know each other! Wonderful, patient teacher and awesome performer!
Then there's Bianca. This high energy gal teaches a combination of Yoga, Bollywood, and Belly Dance to a group of victims - er - students every week. Very good exercise, although where she gets her energy is beyond me! She "beats me up" every time! I have also shared the stage with her in various performances - she's a lot of fun and a very gracious person.
I'm getting exposure to a whole new teacher dynamic here in Florida! There are a lot of dancers and teachers who come through the area from points south, in this case Caracas, Venezuela! Akzara taught a very cool and interesting class in a style very similar to Didi, where I picked up a few new combos and different emphasis on old ones. A really fun class!
I encountered Nadirah Johara at various performances just after I moved to Florida. It turns out that she blew in here from Texas right about the same time I blew in from "Commiefornia". I could tell immediately that she was an outstanding dancer, and that she "had the dancer's eye" as she told me she could tell that I had been taught by classical "old skool" teachers!
So when she announced a workshop "10 Songs Every Belly Dancer Should Know", I signed up! We studied Oum Kalthoum and danced to the classic song Laylet Hob. There was a 2nd in the series as well that I attended, pre-CCP virus.
Rachel George is a level 5 Salimpour instructor who was in the area under the auspices of Yvonne, and I had a chance to take a workshop from her - a choreography workshop with a bunch of new-to-me combinations! Her Website.
I took a candle tray balancing workshop with Zaira on 8 June 2019. Its been awhile since I've done much balancing, and Zaira's workshop was a challenge - especially since she turns a lot quicker than I'm used to doing with something balanced on my head! Her Website.
This gal is a fantabulous instructor! I took a "Dynamics of Dance" workshop from her on 30 June 2019. This was a lot of info that was presented at the right time in the right way for me - dovetails nicely with things I learned from Janette and others. Her Website.
I took an eclectic Tribal style workshop from Adena Zahara (of troupe Zahara) on 25 January 2020. I say "eclectic" because she pulls moves from everywhere, ATS, Cabaret, Folkloric, etc. The first move we learned was one that she had learned from Kamaal circa 1979, and I vaguely remember learning it from him myself years back. She's also taken classes and workshops from Alexandra King, Fahtiem and many others. Well worth watching and taking a class from for sure!
I took a drum solo workshop on 25 January 2020 from Thalya. I don't generally do well with choreographies in workshops, it takes me too long to learn them, so I generally concentrate on the technique. Thalya's class was a welcome exception. Her choreography was easy for me to pick up because it made a lot of sense and Thalya is easy to follow. Nice lady, cool workshop! Her Website.
What fun! After over a year cloistered by the 2020 CCP virus hysteria, I took a workshop from this Egyptian style teacher on 15 May 2021. Very enjoyable, and the workshop just FLEW by! Vanessa is not only a great dancer and instructor, but is very personable and kind as well. Her Website.
I've taken several classes and workshops with Heather - who is a "Global Caravan" (Neé "Gypsy Caravan") trained instructor. She's a lot of fun, and her choreographies are easy to learn for this choreography challenged dancer. Lots of fun and laughs to be had in her classes!