/COMPANY
COMPANY 2018-03-18T16:11:21+00:00

THE DESERT FLAMES

FROM OUR DIRECTOR/PRODUCER

We started this journey with innocent eyes, a wonderful nativity and a passion to produce something great – something that would elevate our art form and give voice to dancers around the world so they could share their stories and be heard.

We achieved our goal, and much, much more. We’ve left a noteworthy mark on the history of belly dance in America – producing five full-length major theatrical productions and publishing five tangible books. We won over audiences in Off Broadway NYC, Chicago, Detroit and Kansas City. We’ve opened the minds of people across the nation who had preconceived notions of what belly dance is. We’ve left ourselves vulnerable in the pages of these books and on the stage. We claimed our space, made no apologies, bared our souls and created art.

When Confessions first started so many years ago, there was no way I could have ever imagined the personal, professional and artistic transformation on the horizon. It’s truly been an indescribable whirlwind of the entire spectrum of the human experience. In all honesty, it is hard to comprehend and process.

Like the caterpillar that climbs into her cocoon, then goes through metamorphosis and breaks out as a beautiful butterfly, every person who has been involved in this once-in-a-lifetime experience has fundamentally transformed. The women involved bear testament that it is indeed possible to dream, believe and achieve.

RAKSANNA // Producer/Director

Raksanna’s Egyptian soul shines through her authentic, original style.

She dances like an Egyptian woman. Keep your eye on this rising Oriental star!

Randa Kamel, Oriental Mega Star

There is something uniquely special about Raksanna. She understands the depth and complexity of Middle Eastern music; it is apparent in her choreography, performances and teaching. She is a true artist, one of the most talented dancers, choreographers and teachers today. I consider her a colleague.

Momo Kadous, Oriental Dance Master

An inspiring artist, a powerful performer and an outstanding teacher … Raksanna masterfully brings the music to life through dance with authenticity and excellence.

Faten S., Oriental and Egyptian Folkloric Dance Master

THE CONFESSIONS TOURING COMPANY

RAKSANNA AND THE DESERT FLAMES

 Rox-NEW RAKSANNA (USA, NEW MEXICO) // Director & Producer

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.

Ruth-NEW RUTH MCEACHNIE (CANADA) // Artistic Director

Ruth is the Artistic Director of Raksanna Productions, Inc. 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 Desert Flames for eight years and has been dancing for ten.  Ruth delights in both dancing and creating beautiful choreography that inspires both the dancer and the audience. Her artistic eye has touched every piece of the Confession productions, from the design of the books to the costumes in each show. 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.

  KARRI ANN SOYK (USA, WISCONSIN) // Backstage Operations Manager

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.

Padawan ZORAIDA JAUREGUI | BETSY (PERU)

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.

  MARIA CERVANTES (MEXICO)

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.

Karen AMIRA (SCOTLAND)

Amira is an accomplished Oriental dancer. Her credits include movie parts, member of an award-winning troupe and a recognized soloist. She is known for her technical precision, authenticity and airy style. She is a member of Raksanna’s Desert Flames.

 Kim 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.

 Linda-NEW LINDA ROBERTS (USA, ILLINOIS)

Linda’s passion for dance goes back to the early days of Dick Clark on American Bandstand, when she danced in front of the t.v. with her older brothers.  She’s been dancing for fun ever since, but never forgot her childhood dream to dance on stage. Over five years ago Linda flew into the loving arms of Raksanna’s world of belly dance – the first time that belly dance “saved” her life. The second was more recently, when Linda was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer, and came out the other side happy and more alive than ever. In addition to the support and love of her family and friends, dance played a major role in getting her through it all. It kept her focused on something beyond cancer, kept her active, and filled her with joy. Being surrounded by the sisterhood of dancers has been quite healing and uplifting!

NAN BECK (THAILAND)

Nan’s “day job” is as a research scientist/chemical engineer, however her passion is dancing. Nan is a versatile dancer.  As a youth she was trained in ballet, Thai dance, and music.  She both performed and choreographed for the stage from a young age both as a soloist and in groups.   She started belly dance in 2007 and fell in love with it. She is a member of Raksanna’s Desert Flames.

 Renee3 RENEE (USA, ILLINOIS)

A physical therapist by day and a belly dancer by night, Renee rediscovered her love for dance and joined Raksanna’s Desert Flames in January 2013. 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.

 Sue 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.

  MIA (USA, ILLINOIS)

Mia started ballet at the age of 4. Her true dream was to become a solid gold dancer. She took many types of dancing in her childhood Mexican folk, hula, African and started belly dance at age 12. Mia has been a stay at home mom for over 20 years. She’s taken a break from her baking duties and started dancing again in February 2016.  The Fourth Pyramid is her first full production with the team. Her children are grown and it was time to do something for herself again. Although she still brings the Flames cookies….