Waking Persephone Festival
Our 2016 Teaching Staff!
Advance the gallery or click on thumbnails to read about each of our fantastic staff!
Aaliyah Jenny - Guest Instructor
Jenny C. Cohen, MSOT comes from a background of training in ballet, modern, hip hop, Near Eastern Dance, tap, and Polynesian Dance. After graduation from the prestigious Sargent College Masters Program of Boston University in Occupational Therapy, Jenny went on to work in general rehabilitation, orthopedics, pediatrics, cardiac and hand therapy while taking hip hop and tap classes at Broadway Dance in NYC and Jam in Long Island.
In her spare time, she is Aaliyah Jenny, a professional dancer specializing in world fusion with Near Eastern dance influences, teaching at Velveteen Serpent Studion in Salt Lake City, and most importantly a student of movement every opportunity she is given. She honored to count as her mentors Gia al Qamar, Aszmara, Rachel Brice, Sera Solstice and Donna Mejia. She has participated in Rachel Brice's 8 Elements Training Program Initiation & Cultivation. In January 2014, Aaliyah Jenny won 1st place in the Pro Tribal Fusion category at The East Coast Classic and was invited to perform in the Gala show at the Hanover Tribal Festival in Germany June 2014 where she placed 3rd in the Tribal Star Competition. She also won Bellydance Masters 2016 Pro Fusion Category and is the Jewels of the Orient 2016 Grand Champion Pro Fusion Tribal winner.
In the near future, Jenny C plans to launch her non-profit program Karma Rhythmics while taking steps to pursue her PhD, write her book and introduce her newest trio with her kids ""Made In Heaven” to the dance community.
Please visit www.dance18.com for more information on Aaliyah Jenny’s travels and Jenny’s Transformation on FB for more details on her battle and victory over breast cancer."
Kim Leary - Guest Instructor
Kim Leary (Alexia) is a belly dance performer, choreographer and instructor in Central New Jersey. 2014 marked her 25th year exploring and working in world dance & music. Kim Leary’s (Alexia) dance accomplishments include teaching both credit and non-credit dance at Princeton University. She is Co-Artistic Director with Dave Merritt of the highly acclaimed Groove Merchant Drum & Dance Ensemble which has been voted Favorite Performers and Favorite musicians by NJ Bellydance.com in 2012 through 2015. She is Co-Director of her school, The Drum & Dance Learning Center in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Ms. Leary has performed at numerous prestigious venues such as Lincoln Center, The Ohio Theatre (SOHO), CAMI Hall (NYC), DanceSpace (NYC), FIT (NYC), The Evolving Arts Theatre (NYC), The Black Box Theatre (NJ), as well as at many colleges, universities, and festivals as a soloist and with SaZ Dance Theatre, , her own dance company- Groove Merchant Drum & Dance Ensemble, Jamila Salimpour's Bal Anat and Dalia Carella's DNA Project Kim holds a certification in Training & Development as well as in Multiple Intelligences and the Arts from Kean University. She is a Level 2 Certified Dancer since 2000. In 2008 Kim became certified Level Two in the Jamila Salimpour Dance Format and earned a Level Two Certification in Sahra Saeeda's Journey Through Egypt Program. Kim received an Educator’s Dance Scholarship Award from Dance New Jersey and was voted New Jersey's Favorite Belly Dance Teacher. She has taught a variety of workshop topics at many festivals and events including Rakkasah East, Spring Caravan, Art of the Belly, Jewels of the Orient and The Austin Belly Dance Convention.
Amel Tafsout- Core Instructor
The legendary Amel Tafsout, meaning ‘Hopes of Spring’, is an inspirational first source master dance artist, choreographer, instructor, frame drummer, singer, energy worker and one of the finest exponents of North African traditional and contemporary Maghreb Dance of our time. With a research in dance anthropology, and a long training in various healing practices, Tafsout’s knowledge of her culture and her experience in many dance styles and music make her very unique.
Raised in Algeria among the finest traditional dancers and musicians, Tafsout was fascinated by dance and music since childhood. In her early twenties, Tafsout moved to Germany where she founded the Pan Arabic dance company 'Banat As Sahra'. In the late 80s, she moved to London, U.K. where she taught and performed at various dance and music festivals and founded 'The Tafsoutettes' Dance Company. While currently living in the U.S.A. she is still performing and teaching worldwide.
Tafsout is like a voyager between countries, culture and languages. Having worked and lived all over the world, unsurprisingly, migration has been a constant theme in her work. Fluent in 5 languages, she is always aware of the impact that cultures have in art and how that can be expressed in dance.
Amel has lectured, danced, taught, sung and conducted anthropological research in many countries. She has been featured in various TV programs in Europe and North Africa. She also published many articles related to dance and Maghreb women in academic and popular magazines. Her research focuses on the Ritual in Maghreb dances as well as looking at dance as a healing form. She explores the rich tapestry of movement and rhythm that has woven over time between Spain and the Maghreb, Africa and the Middle East, the Mediterranean Sea and Europe.
Tafsout developed, reconstructed and stylised the Maghreb dances through her dance experience, her research, her teaching and performances. She had mesmerized audiences around the world with the earthy fluidity of her dance, her stunning stage presence and great spirituality.
Ami Amore'- Core Instructor
Ami Amore' is a lifelong artist. Starting with drawing, painting, fashion, B&W photography and finally, her discovery of bellydance in 1999. From her first class with Serena of Aalim, she was hooked and knew this was going to be a life long journey. She joined Aalim Dance Co. in 2002. Then, in 2006, forming Chuvani Bellydance with some like-minded individuals. She fell in love with tribal fusion in 2006 after seeing a Bellydance Superstars show in St. Louis. Her style is ever-changing and ever evolving and currently borders on the stylings of dark fusion, hip hop and cabaret and could often be considered theatrical.
Ami has been practicing yoga since 1996, so it’s only natural that she would incorporate her two passions, bellydance and yoga, into her career. Ami has been teaching yoga consistently for over 4 years now since she earned her 200hr ryt in 2010. Ami believes yoga and bellydance are both the union of spirit, mind and body and incorporates a love yourself and listen to your body approach to all her classes.
Even though she has been teaching bellydance since 2006, she constantly continues her bellydance education through taking workshops in all styles around the country, because she believes she has something she can learn from everyone and one never should stop learning. Through thick and thin, Ami has come back to dance as her form of creative expression, her passion. No matter what is going on in life, dance is always there.
Ami has a wide list of accomplishments, but she is most proud of her drive to make her many passions a sustaining career. With years of hardwork and determination, she currently boasts 2 dance troupes – Exotic Rhythms (started 2006) and Mosaic (in 2012), monthly sold-out “Bellydance Bootcamps”, teaching 9 classes per week (6 dance and 3 yoga), being a sought after performer, workshop presenter and a successful bellydance show producer and event host.
When Ami isn't out taking the bellydance world by storm she enjoys collecting junk, making jewelry and headpieces under the moniker of Amorticous, tending to “the beetles”, taking her snake "little boo-boo" out for long walks, reading, writing, painting, biking, hiking, running, doing yoga or cooking delicious food.
Annwyn Avalon - Guest Instructor
Art, in various forms and media, has shaped Annwyn into the woman she is today. Whether it is through painting, dancing, henna, spell craft, or even Priestessing, Annwyn uses the wellspring of creative forces within her Divine Feminine to birth and transform thought into reality. Annwyn Avalon is a Priestess, Artist, Dancer and Witch recently relocated to Portland, Oregon from Phoenix, Arizona. Through the power of her watery nature, Annwyn is driven to constantly grow and transform through her love of the Esoteric and Dance. Through Oriental Fusion, Annwyn focus’ much of her esoteric devotional practices using Sacred Dance. She believes that the power of dance also contains the power of healing and that by combining dance and magic, people everywhere can bring deep nourishment to the mind, body and spirit. She is the founder and creatrix of Triskele Rose Witchcraft and Water Magic Course on Witchcraft. She is a Priestess of many Goddesses and uses her Sacred Dance Practice to show devotion to the Deity’s she serves. www.AnnwynAvalon.com
Artemis - Core Instructor
Artemis has been dancing, teaching and researching dance history in the United States and abroad for over 40 years. She is best known for her work with Oriental dance and Turkish Romany dance. But she was first drawn to Middle Eastern dance in the 1970s because of the spirituality of it. In those days, she had to be self taught because there were very few dancers who talked about their spiritual connection to the dance. However, she traveled extensively to gather information and illustrations of the sacred dances of Egypt, Greece, Crete and Rome. She believes that we can all use art to build bridges across cultures. And when doing sacred dance, we can use music and dance to build a bridge across time to connect with the ancient ones who danced before us. Artemis has an M.A. in psychology, an M.S.W. in social work (with specialized studies in cross cultural awareness) and has done postgraduate work in dance movement therapy. She has lectured, taught and/or performed for Cornell University and Princeton University, National Public Radio (NPR), Voice of America and in Spain, England, France, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Canada, Japan, Greece, Turkey, Australia and in 33 states within the United States. Artemis is listed in the International Dance Council (CID) Who's Who of Dance. Her photograph can be found in the International Encyclopedia of Dance under the listing for "danse du ventre" (translates to "belly dance") which is produced by the Oxford University Press. She has won the "Ethnic Dancer of the Year Award" presented by the International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance (IAMED) and has won the "Most Popular Ethnic Dancer Award" from Zaghareet Magazine twice. Artemis has also won their "Lifetime Achievement Award."
Asharah - Core Instructor
Abigail "Asharah" Keyes is a dancer and dance educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. With a background in Middle Eastern studies, her focus is on belly dance and Middle Eastern folk dances, as well as their Euro-American fusions. She has taught throughout the Americas, Canada, Europe, and Asia; and her 2008 instructional DVD, Modern Tribal Bellydance with Asharah, is still considered by many dancers to be one of the best instructional belly dance DVDs on the market for belly dancers of all styles and levels. She wishes to foster curiosity, a strong work ethic, creativity and individuality, as well as an overall improved sense of physical and mental well-being in all of her students. Exchanging knowledge—physical, historical, cultural, and creative—is the ultimate goal of every class, for beginners and experienced dancers alike.
She is currently earning an M.A. in Dance at Mills College in Oakland, with focus on history and pedagogy. She is certified Level 4 in the Suhaila Salimpour Format—the first ever tiered certification program in belly dance—Level 3 in the Jamila Salimpour Format, and is working towards the Level 5 teaching certification in both programs. Additionally, she holds a B.A. from Princeton University in Near Eastern Studies. She is a staff instructor at the Salimpour School of Belly Dance, has appeared with Zoe Jakes’ Bhoomi Project and Beats Antique to audiences of over 3,000 people, and performs regularly with Bal Anat and the Suhaila Dance Company.
Bevin Victoria - Guest Instructor
Bevin Victoria began her studies in Tribal belly dance at Gypsy Caravan Studio in 2006. She soon after began performing with Gemini Project Dance Co. and from there was introduced to the wonderful world of fusion bellydance. Drawing inspiration from dance greats like Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, the pioneers of Tribal Fusion, her extensive study in classical ballet, hip hop, samba, flamenco, and from her years as a competitive gymnast and martial artist, Bevin Victoria aspired to bring an athletic and dynamic approach to her dance. Since then she has had the chance to study with some of the greatest artists in the field, co-founded and directed Urban Nomad Dance Company, and has been fortunate enough to tour the US and Europe multiple times. She is currently a member of Portland’s premier busking group- Baksana, Portland's Vaudville Experience-Sepiatonic and frequently performs as a soloist, teaches workshops and is a certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist and Low Back Injury Prevention Specialist, offering private training and corrective exercise to dancers throughout the country.
For more info please visit: Hybridbellydance.com and Trainhybrid.com.
Carrie Meyer - Core Instructor
Carrie Meyer, Photographer/The Dancers Eye, has had an interest in cameras and photography from a very young age, when her parents first allowed her to experiment with several of their cameras. She fondly remembers her first Polaroid Instamatic, and the variety of fun shots she was able to capture with it.
Carrie began bellydancing in 2001, after losing 100 pounds. She sought to find a workout that would inspire her to keep the weight off, while not being tied to the gym. Little did she know at the time that this was just the beginning of a love affair with dance that has now spanned a decade for her. In this period of time, she has learned traditional Egyptian, ATS and Fusion, and has danced in groups that have featured all these styles. Carrie is currently doing further studies in ATS and has actively danced in several St. Louis based performing groups for over 10 years.
Regardless of the photographic subject matter, Carrie’s work shares certain commonalities. The clarity of the images represented, thoughtful composition, and the meaning of the moments in time that she captures characterize her work. The foundation of her work builds out from the strength and power of the basic images, and the personality, of her subjects. Having married her love of bellydance with her love of photography, Carrie offers her dancer subjects a unique opportunity to work with an artist who truly understands the dance, and how dancers want themselves to be portrayed.
Carrie's work has been featured on the covers of Fuse, Jareeda and Zagareet and in the pages of Yallah, among other publications. Carrie is also a Staff Photographer for Fuse Bellydance Magazine.
Celeste- Core Instructor
Celeste is a dark belly dance performer and instructor. She has been performing all over the Midwest since 2006 and has recently relocated in Seattle in the fall of 2015.
Celeste has always loved dancing. She took 2 years of modern dance classes and taught Medieval and Renaissance dancing through the SCA (Society for a Creative Anachronism) for about 10 years. However, it wasn't until she discovered belly dance that she found a dance form that was truly satisfying for her. She started taking classes in her hometown of Quebec City, Canada in 1995, with Francine Morneau. She learned a blend of Egyptian and Turkish belly dance for the next 5 years. Celeste took a 4-year break from belly dance, during which she moved to Indianapolis IN. In the Fall of 2004, the belly dance bug bit her again and she started taking formal classes with Jaleela Saleem.
The ITS and tribal fusion aesthetics attracted Celeste and she was delighted when Jaleela did a session on tribal style and created a troupe, which later became Black Rose Caravan. After Jaleela retired from Black Rose Caravan due to health reasons in 2005, Celeste became director of Black Rose Caravan and started teaching the troupe members. In the Spring of 2006, Celeste expanded her teaching and started offering classes and has been teaching ever since.
Celeste considers herself a constant student of this dance form and, as such, has taken countless workshops over the years and is currently being mentored by Tempest. She loves to share elements from the workshops with her students and incorporate some elements into her own dance. Celeste loves to have at her disposal any item from her personal toolbox within her reach, which means learning many different ways of executing movements and being able to pick whichever one is more appropriate for the performance. Having a strong technical background, Celeste adds artistry to the physical execution of belly dance in her performances.
In the classroom, Celeste combines her dark sense of humor with structured technique to foster a positive learning experience that helps students remember material quickly and naturally. She currently teaches tribal fusion from her knowledge of fusion technique as well as her personal repertoire of dark belly dance.
Celeste has taught workshops at Tribal Revolution, Midwest Mayhem, Angels and Absinthe 2, and has been a featured instructor at Waking Persephone since its inception.
Delilah - Guest Instructor
Delilah here: "I started in the 70’s at age 18 and have dedicated my life to belly dance. Wearer of many hats! World Traveled, Award winning, visionary performer, known as being a pioneer of contemporary stylization of American belly dance. Featured performer of over 80 professionally produced and marketed videos on many labels; concerts, documentaries, instructional programs, fusion art works . Well established performer in American cabaret as well as leader and innovator in many style variations; Belly Dancing with Nature, Belly Dance Underwater, Parade Style, Ritual Dances. . .Director of the Neighborhood Temple Priestesses dance group. Tour and retreat leader, author, music promotor & producer, director, product producer."
Heather Powers - Guest Instructor
Heather Powers is a devoted belly dance performer and instructor based in Portland, Maine. Her style is heavily influenced by her experience as a visual artist. Heather's desire is to create a transformative experience by filling space with strong, clean graceful movements captivating audiences.
She diligently trains worldwide with renowned belly dancers. Heather contributes to the New England belly dance community as a host of workshop weekends and as a producer of local shows. Her most recent achievements include: completing Rachel Brice's 8 Elements™ Phase I & II, cross-training as a personal trainer, Pilates mat and yoga instructor and joining the management team at Bright Star World Dance, Maine's sole dance studio focusing in belly dance.
Henna Crone - Core Instructor
I discovered the ancient art of henna back in 1999 and I've been passionately pursuing it ever since. I'm primarily a festival henna artist, vending at hundreds of festivals over the years, including the Upland Lemon Fest, Cairo Caravan, Cairo ShimmyQuake, Bhakti Fest, the Vista Viking Fest, the Fallbrook Avocado Fest, the Big Bear Renaissance Fest and many, many more! I've also had the privilege of teaching and vending at Tribal Fest, 3rd Coast Tribal, and teaching at several conferences such as the Henna Intensive & Retreat, Henna Chai, and Henna Con, as well as several libraries. Henna is a huge blessing in my life!
Hilary Pierce - Guest Instructor
(& Recipient of the 2015 Jeniviva Mia Memorial Scholarship)
Hilary Pierce is an artist currently based in Virginia. She graduated magna cum laude from Bryn Mawr College with a BFA in sculpture and a minor in dance in 2014. After completing her undergraduate work she attended Headlong Performance Institute in Philadelphia, a graduate intensive where she studied experimental and avant-garde performance, along with Commedia dell’Arte, Character Mask, Neutral Mask, Red-nose Clown, Butoh, and Dramaturgy.
A performing artist since 2010, she is deeply inspired by Tribal Fusion Belly dance as well as African art and dance, Kabuki theatre, Butoh, theoretical physics, Jane Austen, space, mythology, and art nouveau. She believes in using her talents to bring as much beauty and goodness into the world as she can.
Hark! She has a website! http://cargocollective.com/hilarypierce
Troupe 'Hip'notic - Guest Instructors
Known for their charismatic, creative, and emotive performances, Troupe ‘Hip’notic has been performing their eclectic belly dance fusion throughout Maryland and the mid-Atlantic since their formation in 2004. Troupe ‘Hip’notic is a collective of women who respectfully borrow from traditional music and belly dance, while incorporating contemporary music and dance styles into their performances. As a purely democratic entity, everyone’s thoughts, ideas, and talents go into the entire creative process – from conception to costuming, from storyboarding to stage. For them, the entire artistic process is just as important as the final developed choreography. Over the years, their style has evolved to be increasingly more theatrical. They love to tell a story through characters, emotivity, and movement, and especially, to evoke specific, strong emotions from their audiences. They aim to envelope you in the world of their piece, and to lead you on a journey through their stories.
The troupe members have studied a variety of Middle Eastern dance styles (ATS, ITS, Egyptian, orientale, folkloric, etc.) that all tend to be incorporated into our choreographies, and all end up influencing their dancing. They continually pursue instruction with nationally and internationally renowned teachers to grow as artists and dancers. Their regular instructors include Belladonna (Washington, DC; tribal fusion) and Latifa (Annapolis, MD; Egyptian orientale and folkloric). Troupe members have taken workshops and short intensives with Zoe Jakes, Mira Betz, Mardi Love, Sera Solstice, Kim Leary, Donna Mejia, Shems, and Asharah, among many others. The troupe has performed at shows including Art of the Belly, Raven’s Night, DCTribal Cafe, Moonlight Tribal Lounge, 3rd Coast Tribal, Waking Persephone, TribalCon, and the Maryland Faerie Festival, among many others.
Jaidra DuRant - Guest Instructor
Jaidra is a fusion dance performance artist, instructor, and visual artist located in Greenville, SC. She is Co-Director of the captivating theatrical fusion performance group, Discordia Arts. Jaidra has been involved in theatre her entire life and began belly dancing in 2002. Her foray into the fire and flow arts began in 2006 when she picked up fire palms and fans for the first time and fell in love. As a lifelong pyromaniac, the ability to set things on fire and dance around with them is both spiritual and extremely joyful for Jaidra. Her fascination with large dangerous objects and off beat music combine with her background in theatre to create her unique style of dance that often features swords, fire, and intensely engaging imagery.
Finding belly dance was a life altering and healing experience for Jaidra. As a dancer, she loves to work with props as an extension of the body. As an instructor, Jaidra aims to equip her students with the tools to find their personal joy in movement.
Kamrah - Guest Instructor
Kamrah is a Chicago belly dancer that has performed tribal fusion, American cabaret, Lebanese, and Egyptian belly dance since 2001. Noted for their creativity and theatricality, they currently perform throughout the country as a soloist and is a member of Raks Geek, a geek belly dance and fire company based in Chicago. They are a trained massage therapist, and their knowledge of anatomy enables them to teach students how to dance both powerfully and safely.
Kat Welsh - Guest Instructor
Kat dances, teaches, and produces shows in Tacoma, WA. She is known for her stage presence, humor, and her famous belly dancing boa, Antonio. Having trained for over 7 years intensively with Washington State’s finest dancers, Kat strives for excellence in technique. This is also recognized by many as she has won many titles at competitions including: Bellydancer USA, La Danse Orientale’, and International Ambassador of Belly Dance Competition.
She is the producer of multiple shows. Her monthly hafla, the Tacoma Belly Dance Revue showcases dancers from the Pacific Northwest and is now into a successful 2nd year. She has also hosted “Homes for the Holiday’s” an animal rescue benefit, "Fables”, "8-Bit", and "Horrific".
In addition to dance, Kat also hosts the podcast, Shut Up! and Shimmy! A free interview show dedicated to giving education, advice, and memorializing dancers careers each week. You can listen at www.suaspodcast.com.
Katrina Ji - Guest Instructor
Katrina Ji, Artistic Director of Culture Shakti Dance Company & Rajasthani Gypsy Caravan
She has appeared on several TV programs in India & the USA in addition to podcasts and magazines. She has performed with some of the worlds most famous dancers!
Katrina Ji tours internationally with Rajasthani Gypsy Caravan and teaches Bollywood Dance at her studio, Culture Shakti in Seattle in addition to a variety of public and private schools.
She specializes in Bollywood, Rajasthani Folk Dance & ATS® Belly Dance.
Kelly Holder - Guest Instructor
Kelly is a Tribal Fusion Belly Dancer based in Milwaukee, WI. She began her belly dance career with the Improvisational Tribal Belly Dance Troupe, Barika Belly Dance in 2003. In 2007, she became a soloist and studied various forms of Belly Dance as well as Eastern European Romany (Gypsy) Folk Dance from her teacher Elaina Qureshi. The fusion of these elements allowed for Kelly to create her own unique style which is a combination of belly dance, folk dance and skirt work. In 2011, Kelly began learning traditional Russian Gypsy Dance from Viktoria Mitlyng and this further expanded Kelly’s dance repertoire and style. Kelly completed Tribal Style Belly Dance training, Collective Soul Level One, with Paulette Rees-Denis in 2007 and completed a 14 hour Belly Dance Intensive with Zafira Dance Company in 2008.
Kelly continues to learn and teach. Kelly has taught and performed at events throughout the Midwest and has taught at events such as Tribal Revolution and Ooky Spooky. She is known for her spirited performances and use of a big skirt. In her other life, she is a counselor and has taken additional coursework in Movement and Dance Therapy. Kelly incorporates therapeutics aspects of movement and dance into her performance, practice and teaching modalities. Kelly has also been featured in Fuse magazine and the book “I Bellydance Because”.
Kryss - Guest Instructor
We all come to dance from different places on the planet, in our hearts and in our minds. We come here because something stirs in our Souls when we hear the music all around us. I started in the rigidity and conformity of Ballet, was pulled back to dance in college to add Modern and Jazz to my body's vocabulary, and once the pre-requisites of early adulthood were fulfilled, I found my way to Middle Eastern Dance. My cells hold information about Flamenco and the Indian Classical style, Mohini Attam. When I dove into Dance meditation as a dance and personal practice, I figured out that Dance was basically painting with breath and that so much could be learned about Self and Community through Dance and I feel great Joy in seeing these connections created in others.
My stats... Dance Minor from Newcomb College, trained at Boston School of Ballet and Walnut Hill School of Performing Arts. Soloist with Betty Karam & the Desert Dancers, and !Ole Flamenco Ole! in New Orleans. I'm the director of NOLAmazigh and owner of Crescent Lotus Dance Studio. I hold a Teacher Certification in Dancemeditation from the Dervish Society of America. I've studied dance on 2 continents with some truly amazing people.
Leigh Anne Shaw - Guest Instructor
Leigh Anne Shaw is grateful to have discovered American Tribal Style belly dance in 2004. After performing with student troupe Nefer Tem and FCBD® sister troupe Saiidi, Leigh Anne received her FCBD® General Skills and FCBD® Teacher Training certification in 2010 and became an official FCBD® Sister Studio, teaching ATS® on the San Francisco peninsula. Her troupe, Al-hambra Tribal Dance, performs in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to the years of instruction at the ATS® Mothership, Leigh Anne credits the development of her personal style to her studies with Ariellah, Nanna Candelaria, Malia DeFelice, Asia Arabesque, Andrea Sendek, and Wendy Marlatt. Leigh Anne performs world fusion belly dance on occasion with Wendy Marlatt in a sassy duet known as Rashani.
Mahin - Guest Instructor
Mahin is a performer and instructor based in Phoenix, AZ and author of the internationally-acclaimed "Bellydance Quickies" email and videos. As a performer she is known for her classic style and expertise with zills. As an teacher, Mahin combines the art of Middle Eastern dance with her academic background in Exercise Science to provide thorough and detailed instruction for her students.
Nawal Doucette - Guest Instructor
Nawal teaches finger cymbals, muscular technique , American Tribal Style®, and Salimpour format bellydance. She is Level 1 and Level 2 certified in both the Jamila and Suhaila Salimpour formats, and is currently working towards her teaching certification in both formats. She is also a FatChanceBellyDance® ATS® teacher and Certified Sister Studio; the first person to bring authentic American Tribal Style to New Brunswick, Canada.
Nawal has had her work as a pioneer of west coast bellydance styles in eastern Canada recognized with much praise and support. She has received multiple provincial arts’ grants in order to pursue her studies at the Suhaila Salimpour School of Bellydance in Berkeley, California.
Nawal is also an Experienced Yoga Teacher (E-RYT200) Registered through YOGA Alliance, blending her own practice into classes. She is a also a member of the Psycadelic Rock Group WET GROW LIGHT, playing percussion, keys , or belly dance."
Poppy Maya - Guest Instructor
Poppy Maya is an international belly dancer and costume designer. As a third-generation belly dancer, she grew up surrounded by Middle Eastern music and dance. Dancers choose to have their custom costumes designed and made by Poppy because she brings her knowledge of performance to the design and construction of her costumes. Her pieces stand up to the strongest shimmy. UK born, Poppy’s belly dance career has taken her to three continents. Poppy performed professionally throughout India for eight months. She was the featured entertainer at Bollywood weddings, beach hotels and cruise ships. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area CA, performing at private events and restaurants. She is known for her exquisite shimmies, dynamic staging, bright smile and sparking eyes. Her family legacy of dance shines through her interpretations of the music.
Samara -Guest Instructor
Samara is a Salem MA-based performance artist who has performed and taught bellydance at events across the US. She earned her Bachelor's in Theatre Arts from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and her Master's in Theatre Education from Emerson College, and has been studying Middle Eastern dance and performing as a living statue since 2006. Samara is the producer of several Boston-area events, including the Geeky Bellydance Show at the Arisia convention each January, and is the resident bellydancer for the burlesque collective Geek Girl Boston. She is the dance child of Neylan in Providence and Tempest wherever she roams and has combined her dance, theatre and performance art training into her own unique style of snaky, statuesque, pop-and-lock bellydance.
Sara Beaman - Guest Instructor
Based in Raleigh, North Carolina, Sara Beaman has a passion for contemporary bellydance in all its forms. She performs as a soloist and as a member of the League of Extraordinary Bellydancers, a geek-themed bellydance troupe, and stars in two instructional DVDs, "Fluid Transitions" and "Swordplay for Bellydance". Her style is always emotional, often dark, and usually improvised.
Somni - Core Instructors
Somni is Letty Limbach and Sarah Kate Moore. They strive to create dynamic, mischievous tribal fusion that draws from many forms of world dance. Having completed Rachel Brice's 8 Elements Phases I and II, both members of Somni have also trained extensively with their dance mentor Lacey Sanchez of Florida Tribal Dance. Well known in Seattle for their dynamic, surprising performances, they are inspired by diverse forms of dance including Raks Sharki, ATS and ITS, tribal fusion, hip hop, modern/contemporary, tango, and Middle Eastern and North African folkloric forms.
Tempest - Core Instructor & Event Producer
Tempest is the most recognized name associated with Gothic & Steampunk Fusion Bellydance in North America and across the world. She is often referred to as the "Goth Mutha" for her groundbreaking work in dark fusion. Tempest pulls from her visual arts background, literary tendencies, and global inspirations to create dance that crosses the boundaries of time and culture. Her compellingly artful performances exemplify her distinctively theatrical, unique, and expressive style that are rooted in oriental dance technique with a transcendent approach. Tempest's fascination with sacred and ritual dance lead her to bellydance over 15 years ago, and the exploration of Myth is an important and recurring theme in her work.
Tempest strives to create and teach dance that maintains the essence of bellydance; balancing tradition, inspiration, and innovation. She brings her dynamic interpretation of the dance to her workshops with a sense of fun, a strong foundation in technique, and a deep-hearted goal to aid students in developing their own sense of self within the dance.
She is the producer of Waking Persephone - an annual dark dance event, and Tapestry Dance Retreat, which focuses more on the sacred and folkloric aspects of the dance. Tempest is the founder and primary author of The Gothic Bellydance Resource, which tracks the progress of the movement as it develops worldwide, and was co-producer of the largest festival devoted to Gothic Bellydance in North America - Gothla US from 2008-2010.
In addition to dance, Tempest is a professionally trained visual artist, receiving her BFA in Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and having trained at Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia and the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts. Her artwork has received awards and honors worldwide, and has been published in numerous books and magazines. Her costume designs have revolutionized the look of modern bellydance, and continue to inspire new and old generations of dancers alike.
She lives in Seattle, WA with her husband, musician Nathaniel Johnstone, and works full-time as an artist, designer, and dancer.
The Ghosts Project - Core Instructors
Formed in 2006, The Ghosts Project is comprised of Paul Mercer on violin and Davis Petterson on percussion. The band, which is located in Atlanta, features an ever changing lineup of special guest musicians from all over the country.
Paul Mercer began studying violin at age 8, and has performed professionally for over twenty years, His current and past projects include The Changlings, Jill Tracy's Malcontent Orchestra, Faith and the Muse, DP3, Brass Knuckle Surfer and The Sweet Meat Love and Holy Cult.
Davis Petterson has been a percussionist for twenty years and has performed with bands such as The Changlings, The Hellblinki Sextet, Strezo, Abney Park, The Nathaniel Johnstone Band and Soriah.
They will be joined in Seattle by multi-instrumentalist Nathaniel Johnstone.
The band frequently works with a variety of dancers, pulling not only from their own songs, but creating live improvised music on the spot. This is their third year performing at Waking Persephone, and each year as part of the Gala Shows, the performing dancer gives the band 3 words or phrases, which inspires the music they create right then and there.
1 - 30