One of the most versatile oriental dance artists today, Raksanna is known for her entertaining, dynamic and powerful Egyptian style dance featuring veil, zil work, stick (raqs al-assaya), Melaya and Saidi/Beledi folkloric dances. In addition, her creative works have showcased sword work as well as a unique blend of Middle Eastern dance with contemporary American music. Each piece Raksanna creates and performs looks and feels dramatically different, while capturing the beautiful essence of Oriental dance. She is a popular workshop presenter and is a frequent instructor and performer at the world renown Ahlan Wa Salan festival in Cairo, Egypt. In addition to teaching, Raksanna is the artistic director of The Desert Flames, and The Near East Dance Ensemble which performs a large variety of traditional and modern choreographies. Confessions of a Belly Dancer is a dream in the making staring an international cast: Egypt, Germany, Scotland, Thailand, Canada, Mexico, Argentina and the following states of California, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri and Texas.
Ruth is the Assistant Creative Director of Raksanna’s Production Company and for Confessions of a Belly Dancer ©. Dance has always been an outlet for her to express her emotions, but oriental dance, and the many different folkloric dances of Egypt, touched a deep chord with her. She has been a member of Raksanna’s award winning Raksanna’s Desert Flames for three years and has been dancing for five. With a flair for fun, a passion for dance and a love for all things sparkly, Ruth delights in both dancing and creating beautiful choreography that inspires both the dancer and the audience. Her goal is to assist Raksanna in realizing her vision of elevating the art of Oriental dance and encouraging women to always express themselves through the arts, to pursue excellence and to reach for the stars.
A dancer from the early age of twelve, Jodine began her journey in Middle Eastern Belly Dance, Hawaiian and Polynesian dance with her mom. They took classes together with Virginia Daveran from the Chicago area. Since then, she has continued her dance career with Raksanna’s Near East Dance Company and is also a member of the award winning Desert Flames. She has realized her dream of being a dance instructor and believes that dancing can literally change your life for the better. The increased self-confidence, the knowledge that you are a beautiful woman regardless of your age, size or shape and increased self-awareness are among the most powerful changes that transpire when you dance. Sahben is a mother and a grandmother and wishes to represent all women over forty who feel like they’ve only just begun.
Karri Ann Soyk (USA, Wisconsin)
Karri received a BFA in Theater Performance from UW-Whitewater where she performed in productions such as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Maggie), Twelfth Night (Olivia) and James and the Giant Peach (Aunt Spiker). She has been dancing with Raksanna’s Near East Dance Ensemble since February 2012 and joined Raksanna’s Desert Flames. in March. She is truly grateful to be part of such a wonderful project and would like to extend a BIG thank you to her family, friends and the team for all their support.
Maria has a Bachelor’s of Science in Cultural Anthropology from Northern Illinois University. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Computer Science. She was a Mexican Folkloric dancer for 7 years during which she has performed throughout the Chicago and Chicagoland area including the Rialto Theater in Joliet and the Paramount Theater in Aurora. She became a member of Raksanna’s Desert Flames in March 2012. Before she found belly dancing, she was a shadow of her former self. Belly dance has brought her back and now she expresses her passion and her past through the dance.