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 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.
Final Veil (USA, Missouri)
Cora Camille | At a very early age, Cora officially broke into the music industry as a radio DJ on St. Louis’s legendary radio station, KDHX 88.1 FM, spinning world & experimental music. Simultaneously, she was beginning training as a classical Egyptian belly dancer. Camille began her study of classical Egyptian and Lebanese dance under the instruction of Diana Wolf of Simone’s Seventh Veil when she was a teenager. Never letting go of her passion for belly dancing, she has continued to perform, teach and study. These pursuits have literally led her around the world to many parts of Europe, Asia, Egypt, and the USA. In 2003, Camille attained a masters degree in history, and she has used her research and study of Middle Eastern dance, history, culture, and music to enrich her understanding of the traditional art forms from which she is inspired. Camille composes original music, sings, plays oud and belly dances for her performances. Her art fuses the ancient with the modern in her musical composition, dance style and presentation. She works as a solo artist for some performances, and she also collaborates with club DJ’s and her band Final Veil.
Graybeard | Rick Costa aka “Graybeard” provides the live percussion for Final Veil performances. Costa is a trained percussionist focusing on world percussion; he is an educator, a composer, and a performer. He specializes in Middle Eastern instruments such as Riq, Tar, Doumbek. He has traveled and studied extensively with middle eastern percussionists and is currently mentored by Raquy Danziger.
Final Veil has released their released their second album Arabian Daze on Revealed Recordings. The album is now available on iTunes, Amazon.com, www.hollywoodmusiccenter.com, Rhapsody, Napster and many other distributors (see www.finalveil.com for more information).
Theresa & Eddie (USA, Missouri)
Theresa and Eddie are the first married couple to be on stage with Confessions of a Belly Dancer. Combining her Egyptian Oriental dance and his musical accompaniment, together they bring a dynamic show to the stage.
Theresa’s passion for all styles of Middle Eastern dance has inspired her to travel throughout the Middle East. This has not only furthered her dance knowledge though studying dance in the region, but has also given her a level of cultural knowledge that is essential to understanding and expressing the art form.
As a life-long musician, Eddie’s interest in Middle Eastern rhythms was sparked when he met Theresa, and his natural musical talent shines through in his interpretation of the music. His rich musicality allows him to contribute professional music consultation, as well as musical and rhythmic accompaniment. Theresa and Eddie are the founders of Mosaic Dance and Music of Kansas City. www.mosaicdanceandmusic.com
Alex (USA, Nebraska)
Alex has been drumming for over ten years. He has played for many individuals and troupes around the Midwest as well as teaching both drum classes and workshops for drumming and drum circles. His current project is working with the Doom Tones, a small troupe of drummers and musicians. He would like to thank Barb Sorenson, Jeremiah Soto, and Della for their encouragement.
A’isha | Anca (Romania)
For A’isha, dance was always a part of her life starting with ballet and recreational gymnastics in her native country, Romania, and later on in life ballroom dance, country dance and even Polynesian dance. She started to take belly dance classes nine years ago in Columbia, MO, where she lived at that time, mostly as a way to give meaning to her fitness routine. A’isha owes her first teacher, Asha Diana, her love for Middle-Eastern dance. Then she moved to KS, where she continued to train with local instructors in Lawrence and in Kansas City. She was part of the Lawrence-based troupe Raghsidad directed by Zada, with whom she performed several years at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival, KC Fringe Festival and other venues. A couple of years ago she decided to start a solo career as an Oriental-style dancer. She has created the local monthly show 1001 Arabian Nights and performs regularly in local and national belly dance shows, fundraisers, art shows and private events.
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
Award winning dancer, Ilonka, was born in Chile before immigrating to the US in 1999 to Las Vegas, where she attended high school and college and fell in love with belly dance. She co-founded Serpentine Bellydance of Las Vegas, and more recently Snake Charmers of Lincoln. She has taken classes and inspiration from dozens of renowned and wonderful teachers in this journey, all over the world. She started teaching dance in Lincoln this year, and she is always delighted when she gets the chance to get on a stage.
Naia (USA, Missouri)
Naia ‘Abal is the founder & director of the Malaika Dancers, a belly dance, martial arts, and fitness studio in Springfield, MO. She is most noted for her graceful style and watery, or snake-like, movements. In fact, “Naia” means “to flow like water”. While Naia enjoys studying and performing a variety of modern and traditional Middle Eastern bellydance styles, she feels continuously drawn to her first love of the styles of Egyptian orientale and folkloric bellydance. As a bellydance performer, Naia consistently provides her audience with stunning and vibrant performances that exude grace and elegance. As a bellydance instructor, Naia strives to not only teach students the fundamentals and techniques of bellydance, but to also teach students how to become great dancers. www.malaikadancers.com
Nashid (USA, Kansas)
Nashid’s love for dance began at a very young age. She saw her first belly dancer at the age of 10 and was mesmerized. She has had the extreme fortune to have studied under many sought after International dancers and musicians. She would like to thank her first mentors in the dance, Cathia Krehbiel & Lisa “Gaitri” McNeil for guiding her and sharing their love of this art form with her. She would also like to thank her friends and especially her two children for the support and encouragement they have given along the way. Nashid’s creative style and love for the art draws the audience in with the stories she tells through her dance. Her performances are visually spectacular and emotionally stirring, making each move appear effortless.
Nashid is Director of her local dance troupe, The Eyes of Bastet, and teaches credit and non-credit classes through UFM and Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. www.nashid.org
Zada (USA, Missouri)
Zada Al Gaziyeh is known across the Midwest for her folkloric prowess Ibrahim “Bobby” Farrah dubbed her the “Gypsy from Kansas” and called her approach to dance “organic” in 1996. The following year, Raqia Hassan said her Ghawazee was the best she had ever seen outside of Egypt. A lifelong dancer, in 1995 she founded Gaziyeh Enterprises, Inc., and is the Artistic Director of Raghsidad, a Lawrence, KS based dance company that celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2013. www.gaziyeh.com
Zemfira (USA, Missouri)
Zemfira is a fusion belly dancer with training in cabaret, tribal, and folkloric styles. She is a versatile dancer with an eye towards artistry and grace. Storytelling through dance is her forte and she enjoys exploring music through movement. When not teaching music to K-12 students, she performs and resides in the Kansas City area.