Kim Cassidy (USA, Virginia)
Kim holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Dance & Theater from the University of North Texas. She performed Perfectly Frank at Dallas Repertory Theater and Artistic License at the Bailiwick Director’s Festival in Chicago. Other favorite roles include 3rd Actress, The Dining Room; Mavis Johnson, The Rimers of Eldritch; and Sophie, The Star Spangled Girl.
Renee (USA, Illinois)
A physical therapist by day and a belly dancer by night, Renee rediscovered her love for dance and joined Raksanna’s Near East Dance Ensemble in January 2013. Recently, she was accepted into Raksanna’s Desert Flames. Since she was a little girl, Renee has dreamed about dancing Off Broadway. Now, she is very excited about fulfilling her dreams and touring with this wonderful cast.
Susan Jaquez (USA, Illinois)
Susan is the newest member of Raksanna’s Desert Flames Near East Dance Ensemble. Susan has had a love for dancing since she was a little girl. Her passion for dance ignited when she lived in Colombia where dancing is almost the national past time. Susan had her first belly dance class in April 2014 where she was instantly hooked by the exotic sounds and movements of the dance as well as the fabulous, welcoming women who teach and attend classes at Raksanna’s. As a novice dancer Susan is eager to learn and explore how belly dancing will strengthen her as a dancer and woman.
Susan Wagner (USA, Michigan)
Susan has been belly dancing since 2001, and has been dancing with Raksanna since 2004. Her philosophy is that learning oriental dance is a complicated experience and takes a long time to master. She sees herself as still being on that road and views dancing as one of the ways she keeps fit and healthy.
Zoraida Jauregui | Betsy (Perú)
Zoraida is currently studying Psychology and works as a Spanish Interpreter. One of her goals is to pursue a Master’s degree in Cognitive Psychology. Zoraida’s passion for dance started when she was five years old. She was a Peruvian Folkloric dancer for 10 years before moving to the United States. She became a member of Raksanna’s Near East Dance Ensemble in January 2013. For her, dancing is power, freedom and happiness. Zoraida is very happy to be able to dance again and be part of this great production.
Adira Elham (USA, Michigan)
Adira Elham was a Detroit area dancer for several years before relocating to Florida, the Sun Shine State. She has studied Lebanese Cabaret for over eight years. Studying under Aziza Ammar, whom she playfully calls her belly dance mom, Adira has learned cabaret belly dance in its most pure form. While taking classes and going to conventions like ( B.O.C.A., Wiggles of the West, Las Vegas Intensive, and Detroit Raks to name a few) she has taken classes with international instructors like Rachid, Lotus, and Dr. Sunyatta. As a dancer she is known for her gracefulness and her ability to light up the stage with joy! She believes that all women are beautiful and can experience a fulfilling joy in belly dance, so she was inspired to use her knowledge of teaching to begin bringing that love for dance to her own community. With a Master’s Degree in Education from Eastern Michigan University in Curriculum Design, she began designing classes that would focus on the individual needs of her students.
Bridget | Isis (USA, Michigan)
By day Bridget is a Senior Claims professional in the insurance profession. Bridget’s passion for dance goes back to the day of the hippest trip in America, Soul Train on Saturday mornings and The Scene every day at 5:00 on Channel 62 in Detroit. Dance has been a part of her of life going back to when she was young watching her parents dance together in the living room and kitchen
Bridget answered the belly dance call through a belly dance DVD she purchased 12 years ago. That DVD fueled such a passion and love for the dance that she sought out instruction to learn more. Bridget has studied Lebanese Cabaret under her dance mom Aziza Ammar for over seven years and through other many other instructors and workshops over the years. Bridget’s belief is that dance has a calming effect on the mind, body and spirit just the same as music, they go hand in hand.
Draconis (USA, Texas)
Draconis is an androgynous entity with a passion for Middle Eastern dance. His journey in dance started in elementary school with the conventional ballet and jazz class, and he currently continues his dance education through college. He discovered his talent for belly dance in 2008 with the Isis Studio in Bedford, Texas. Since then he’s stayed true to his art and the studio where he grew from student to teacher, becoming beloved as a local favorite in the area with his unique style and stage presence. A rising star, Drake works hard every day to further his dance career and imprint on the community. His style is a complex mixture of modern, hip hop and West African dance, and he holds multiple first-place titles in fusion belly dance. He’d like to thank his mentor Isis for always pushing him, and Raksanna for taking a chance on him. www.draconisdances.com
Jeanie (USA, Illinois)
Juliana (USA, Michigan)
Juliana began her formal dance and movement training at the age of four and began studying Middle Eastern belly dance in 2001. Her studies have led her to study with a variety of dancers and explore a variety of dance styles. Aside from belly dance, Juliana is a practicing artist and a certified yoga teacher specializing in prenatal and mama and baby yoga.
Belly dance and yoga are a way of life for Juliana. As a new mother, she is committed to living her life with compassion and awareness, in order to create a strong foundation for her family and the global community to flourish.
Please visit www.shringarastudios.com for current workshops and classes.
Katherine (USA, Michigan)
Katherine is a radical libertarian and conspiracy theorist. She has studied music, business, and fire eating. Formerly a burlesque performer with the Blackheart Burlesque troupe, Katherine’s passion for stage performance has been a medium for her self-expression nearly all her life. She has frequented metro Detroit coffee shops and art galleries as a performance artist and a spoken-word poet. As a musician, Katherine was afforded the humbling opportunity to sing at Ground Zero in New York for the one year commemoration of September 11th. As of late, Katherine is recording her first studio album and has performed alongside Detroit based hip-hop artists such as Refugeezus, Complxx, and Four Unique Mindz. She is an alternative pin-up model and was recently featured in the Motor City Vagabonds’ music video for their song “Hell Yeah”. Formerly a featured columnist for the comic book review website www.TheGeekality.com, Katherine now writes for the on-line fashion magazine www.TheStyleNote.com. Katherine is half-Lebanese and grew up with a healthy appreciation for her culture. She has experienced and expressed middle eastern dance all her life. Although she grew up mostly studying traditional belly dance styles, Katherine became fascinated with tribal fusion style belly dance and has recently begun studying the beautiful art form. Katherine can be reached through her artist page at www.Facebook.com/illgatomuerte
Mahsati (USA, North Carolina)
Mahsati Janan is an instructor and performer based in Asheville, NC, specializing in the dances of Egypt, the Middle East, and North Africa, but she always considers herself first a lifelong student and annually attends multiple professional and teacher-level training sessions with top dancers and researchers in her field.
Mahsati began her journey in belly dance in 1996 and has studied and performed throughout the US. She specializes in the classical and modern Egyptian styles, but also enjoys many other traditional and contemporary belly dance forms. Her background in anthropology with a focus on cultural traditions is strongly represented in her performances and classes. In addition, Mahsati’s instructional dvds, Fabulous Fan VeilZZ I & II and Foundations of Raqs Sharqi Level 1, continue to be valuable resources for dancers around the world.
Nashita | Pamela (USA, Michigan)
Nashita is a captivating performer, skilled in the art of classical Egyptian Belly Dance with an American flair. Dancing internationally and locally, she began her love of Middle Eastern dance, music, and culture in 2001 with Detroit Belly Dance, and continues to dance with that troupe as a soloist and troupe member. Throughout the years, Nashita has enjoyed cultivating her technique with the guidance of additional instructors including but not limited to nationally known Sadie, Aida of San Francisco, Jeanie of Chicago, Hadia, Virginia, Amel Tafsout, Cassandra Shore, Denise Enan, Sahra Saeeda, and various members of The Belly Dance Superstars. Nashita continues feeding her knowledge of Middle East dance techniques by studying traditional Chaldean folk dances, performed often at fabulous Chaldean weddings and events. A glamorous dancer on stage, Nashita is skilled in veil work, zils, wings, cane and specializes in shamadan (A fabulous way to start your wedding reception!!) Whatever your event entails, from lesson parties to weddings, you will enjoy the fun, authentic, traditional beauty of belly dance with Nashita!
Sandra Li (CANADA, Ontario)
Sandra Li is a Belly Dancer from Windsor, Ontario, Canada who has been dancing since 2008. Sandra remains a dedicated instructor, student and member of her dance community in her home city. Sandra has trained with many master teachers such as Cassandra Shore, Zahra Zuhaire, Raqia Hassan, Hossam and Serena Ramzy, Nourhan Sharif, Karim Nagi and Yasmina Ramzy to name a few, and won first place in the Cincinnati Belly Dance Convention competition in August 2014. Sandra’s true happiness is found through dance and the stage, where her freedom resides.
Rocky Raquel | Jennifer (USA, Michigan)
Jennifer is a 200 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher, world fusion belly dancer, and fire performer in the Detroit area. After many years in a high stress career she has found these activities to be forms of healing, stress relief, and self-expression. She has performed with some of the most notable troupes in the area and enjoys sharing the practices that have helped her to lead a happier and more balanced life.