Confessions – Location Cast

/Confessions – Location Cast
Confessions – Location Cast 2017-10-08T17:32:21+00:00

Catherine Barros (USA, Texas) – Featured in the Debut Chicago show

Catherine started to take belly dance lessons in her 30’s and has been obsessed ever since (that would be nearly 30 years of dance insanity).  This obsession with dancing eventually turned into a deep fondness and appreciation for Egyptian style with Balady Style becoming the most pleasurable of all for Catherine.  Her love of Middle Eastern music and culture led to frequent trips to Egypt to study and watch dancing, which is an on-going pursuit and lifelong passion.

Cora Camille (USA, Missouri) – Featured in the Debut Chicago show

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 bellydancer.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 led her literally around the world to many parts of Europe, Asia, Egypt, and the USA.

  Rebecca Dharma (USA, Missouri) – Featured in the Debut Chicago show

Rebecca Dharma is a professional Oriental dance artist currently residing in her hometown of Kansas City, MO. She is also the newest member of Raksanna’s award winning dance company, Raksanna’s Desert Flames. Her training in Oriental dance began a decade ago and has taken her around the world, including Egypt, to study with some of the most highly respected and sought-after dance instructors this art has to offer. She is greatly fascinated with world folk dances and feels strongly that a greater understanding and tolerance of world cultures comes directly through the appreciation of that culture’s music and dance.

Sabrina (USA, California) – Featured in the Debut Chicago show

Sabrina has performed for the Royal Families of the Middle East and headlined in nightclubs and restaurants of Los Angeles, California. She has worked with the top Middle Eastern musicians in the USA including nightly shows with Issam Houshan, Gamal Goma, Amir Sofi, Mohamed Salem, and John Bilezikjian. Sabrina performs in concert with internationally renowned bands such as Stellamara, Middle Earth Ensemble, is a featured belly dance performer and instructor on The Flying Carpet TV, and was a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG)  while based in Los Angeles. She is the author of the international best seller Energy and Extension for Belly Dancers training mediation CD and the acclaimed costuming manual Build A Better Bra.  Sabrina tours both nationally and internationally, presenting specialty belly dance workshops and performing in gala shows. Sabrina taught belly dance at Cuyamaca College and is currently the instructor of group and private belly dance classes in her multiple studio spaces throughout San Diego.

Tracy (USA, Illinois) – Featured in the Coming Home Chicago show

Tracy is the newest member of Raksanna’s Desert Flames. A series of synchronicities brought her back to engage in her love of music and dance. A course of miracles opened her eyes to the wonder and joy of a life seemly forgotten but not lost. Tracy is remembering how magical the world can be and feels a deep sense of gratitude for the instruction she is receiving from Raksanna and her dance family. Tracy is currently studying Energy Healing, Yoga, and Voice and looks forward to sharing love and healing throughout her life. It’s show time, let’s play!

  Vanesa Culasso (Argentina) – Featured in the Debut Chicago show

Vanesa Culasso is an award-winning Oriental dancer and choreographer. Her accomplishments include winning numerous belly dance competitions, including “Best Choreographer” in the Belly Dance fusion category, as well as performing with Mario Kirlis and the Al-Kamar orchestra. Vanesa’s passion for dance inspired her to move to the United States in search of a better dance career. To that end, she is the recipient of  the highly sought after dance scholarship at College of Lake County. Her choreography work was showcased at the college’s recent 13th/14th Fear No Art. She is a current member of Raksanna’s Near East Dance Ensemble as a member of Raksanna’s Desert Flames.

  Steve | The Chisler (USA, Illinois) – Featured in the Debut Chicago show

Steve is a Point of Sales Analyst for a Fortune 500 company who was asked to join the Confessions cast partially because of his own inspiring confession:  “When I graduated high school, I was about 275 pounds, and I’ve weighed as much as 321 before turning over a new leaf.  I’m currently in the 220’s and dropping due to a combination of healthy eating and exercising that I plan to continue for the rest of my life. Steve is known for his sharp wit and his annual pilgrimage to Lollapalooza every year.  He is also an avid skier.

A’isha | Anca (Romania) – Featured in the Kansas City and Coming Home Chicago shows

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.

Bridget | Isis (USA, Michigan) – Featured in the Detroit show

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.

Carin Lugo (USA, Illinois) – Featured in the Coming Home Chicago show

Carin is an optical frame representative who works with doctors during the day … but her exhibitionist side returned (after 40 years) when she discovered belly dancing. Carin was a go-go dancer in the late 60’s/early 70’s but life and many surgeries got in the way. Thanks to finding Raksanna and her troupe, her youth is back!

Draconis (USA, Texas) – Featured in the Kansas City, Detroit, and Coming Home Chicago shows

Draconis is an androgynous entity wit 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. www.draconisdances.com

  Jeanie (USA, Illinois) – Featured in the Detroit and Coming Home Chicago shows

Jeanie has been involved in Middle Eastern Dance since 1995. She is recognized as a passionate contemporary artist of Middle Eastern dance, specializing in the classical Egyptian style. Jeanie has performed in cultural centers and educational venues throughout Chicago. She has also performed for not-for-profit organizations that promote unity through the arts. Jeanie has attracted media attention, such as the Chicago Sun Times, ABC Channel 7 News and Fox News in the Morning, for her teachings and performances of her art. Today Jeanie teaches public and private classes. She also serves as a consultant and choreographer for local and national belly dance troupes and soloists. She is a firm believer in furthering her own education and experience by studying with national and internationally famous dancers and choreographers such as Momo Kadous, Mahmoud Reda, Yousry Sharif, Abeer Will, Jillina, Rachel Brice, Samara Adell, Bozennka and Leila Gamal.

Juliana (USA, Michigan) – Featured in the Detroit and Coming Home Chicago shows

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. www.shringarastudios.com

Lacey (USA, Texas) – Featured in the Kansas City, Detroit, New York City and Coming Home Chicago shows

Lacey is an instructor and performer based in South Texas who fell in love with the art of Middle Eastern dance over a decade ago. Known for her butterfly like grace and elegance on stage, Lacey is a dynamic and captivating performer who has delighted crowds across the US at numerous festivals and events including the Off Broadway debut of Confessions of a Bellydancer in New York City. She has competed in a number of prestigious competitions across the country receiving many accolades including being a finalist in Project Bellydance Season 2, 1st runner up Queen of Raks Sharki 2013, and the title of 2013 Houston Oriental Dance Superstar. In a addition to traveling to continue her dance studies, Lacey is also the co-producer of the Houston Oriental and Folklore Dance Festival which strives to provide a full weekend authentic dance education, shows and competition in Houston, TX. When not dancing Lacey loves to spend time with her husband and number one fan-her son.  wwbellydancewithlacey.com

Lady India (USA, Illinois) – Featured in the Debut Chicago and New York city shows

Lady India DeMinuit is widely known in Chicago for her fusion dancing, but her foundation was set with 10 years of classical Raks Sharqi training under Sophia Gates, a student of Jamila Salimpour. Lady India’s style is inspired by the keen exploration of myth, legend, silk road herstory, the discipline and understanding of “self”, and the different facets that entails. She has since expanded and expounded on friends and contacts alike and orchestrated the spectacles in her own productions known as Carnal Carnivale which include fire, sideshow, burlesque and belly dance and had the honor on July 20, 2013 to open for Drowning Pool. Lady India can be seen dancing in October at the Kiss Kiss Cabaret, The Chicago Independent Horror Film Festival for the new movie Dark Realm, The Glint, and now Confessions of a Belly Dancer in NYC.

Mahsati (USA, North Carolina) – Featured in the Detroit and Coming Home shows

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.

Sahben | Jodine (USA, Illinois) – – Featured in the Debut and Coming Home shows

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 continued her dance career with Raksanna’s Near East Dance Company and was 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.

Theresa & Eddie (USA, Missouri) – Featured in the Kansas City, Detroit, New York City and Coming Home shows

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.

  Adira Elham (USA, Michigan) – Featured in the Detroit show

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.

Katherine (USA, Detroit) – Featured in the Detroit show

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”. Facebook.com/illgatomuerte

  Nashita (USA, Detroit) – Featured in the Detroit show

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) – Featured in the Detroit show

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 (USA, Michigan) – Featured in the Detroit show

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.

  Alex (USA, Nebraska) – Featured in the Debut Chicago and Kansas City shows

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.

Ilonka (Chile) – Featured in the Kansas City show

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 Belly Dance 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) – Featured in the Kansas City show

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) – Featured in the Kansas City show

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) – Featured in the Kansas City Show

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) – Featured in the Kansas City show

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.

Carol Tandava Henning (USA, New York) – Featured in the New York City show

Carol Tandava Henning has worked on and around New York stages as an actor, director, writer, producer, bellydancer, theatrical improviser, and stand-up comic. Theater: T. Schreiber, the RSC’s Lisa Harrow, Sande Shruin, Workshop Theater, New Directions. Stand-Up: Comedy Cellar, NY & Bwy Comedy Clubs, Comic Strip. Improv: PIT, Magnet, the Groundlings’ founder Gary Austin, and Second City’s Michael J. Gellman. She has been devoted to bellydance since 2004 and has studied with countless teachers in the US and abroad. She is certified in: AFAA, ACE, Shar­Qui, Suhaila Salimpour L1. She studies meditative dance with Sufi teachers Dunya, Nahari, and Adnan Sarhan, stage combat with Combat Inc., Bollywood with Bolly­woodFunkNYC, and mime with Richmond Shepard. She is a longtime member of the Jung Foundation’s Analytical Psychology Club and actively applies archetypal principles to her work. www.bloodonaveil.com

Elena Beck (USA, Illinois) – Featured in the New York City show

Elena learned to belly dance when she was in her 20’s and was hired to do the occasional part-time gig in a few establishments in Chicago.  She was reintroduced to the art form in her late 60’s and now joins the cast to share how the dance has given her youth back at the age of 72!  She is an inspiration to us all!

  Elisheve (USA, Connecticut) – Featured in the New York City show

Elisheva is a bellydancer based out of Hartford, Connecticut, performing and teaching for the past two years. Recognized for her feminine, earthy style, Elisheva combines emotive interpretations with technical acumen. In addition to her dance career, she is also a published freelance writer.

  Queen Esma (USA, New York) – Featured in the New York City show

Esma started out as a ballroom dancer. Due to a foot injury, she tried belly dance at the local gym and has been completely mesmerized to this day. She has danced in hotels in Las Vegas, for the Ambassador to Morocco, NY1, Atlantic City, Club El Morocco, the Copacabana, Latin Quarter, and three cruise ships (one of which was down the Nile in Egypt). Esma, who is half-Egyptian and half-Russian, was formerly a model/actress in the 80’s. She appeared in countless commercials, billboards and magazines. Today, Esma owns a photography agency representing some very fine worldwide talent. She holds a Master’s degree in education

  Jehan Kamal (USA, New York) – Featured in the New York City show

Singer, Songwriter, Dancer, Choreographer: Jehan’s lyrics are spiritual poetry – tales of dance, love, passion, women’s awareness and empowerment. Her music is a magnetic blend of sensual vocals, exotic melodies and driving rhythms creating a diversity of song from meditation/trance to pulsing dance grooves. Jehan has recorded music from traditional Arabic songs to world beat fusion. A renowned bellydancer, Jehan has performed and taught worldwide. She is the founder and director of the Temple of Jehan dance school dedicated to sacred bellydance – preserving Middle Eastern dance traditions and exploring evolutionary styles.

  Katrina Eady (USA, New York) – Featured in the New York City show

Katrina Eady Kay Kizi’ah is an award-winning soloist, who has been featured in several dance companies and frequently performs in NYC. She has danced in and coordinated Off Broadway shows and recently studied and performed in Egypt. Her unique style is a blend of extensive training of Cabaret, Ballet and Modern Egyptian. She holds a Masters in Special Education, teaches high school and is a college adjunct teacher in Psychology and Bellydance. Katrina is honored to be part of the Confessions of a Bellydancer, NYC Cast.

  Sabbi (USA, Massachusetts) – Featured in the New York City show

Sabbi has been a smitten student of Middle Eastern dance ever since she saw video of Sohair Zaki and fell in love. Since then, Sabbi has worked with troupes and as a soloist in NYC and Boston, dancing as much as possible from the sands of Coney Island to the grass of Harvard Common. She is excited, amazed and honored to be part of this amazing cast and project.

  Serpentessa, with Apprentice Syrena (USA, New York) – Featured in the New York City show

Serpentessa is rebirthing the ancient serpent wisdom into the world today through the teachings of her live gentle snakes in a variety of workshops, performances and ceremonies. Her (red tail) boa constrictors are very good-natured around multitudes of people and occasions. Additionally, she is a professional belly dancer. Her early Middle Eastern dance education included study under Serena, Ibrahim Farrah and others. Today, she takes private lessons with Jehan Kamal. Theatrical collaborations include, but are not limited to Gilgamesh: The Quest, Horse’s Mouth Productions, and Jehan’s GODDESSDANCE, which first featured her as a belly dancing Snake Priestess. Enjoy her in the 2014 movie release of SPLiT, again in her real life role as a 21st century Snake priestess with her Snakes as teachers and dance as her prayer.