Thursday, October 13, 2016

Motif, Chillspace, Community & Shopping!

In a few short hours, Waking Persephone Year 5 officially kicks off with Motif!  Motif has been an integral part of the events Tempest has produced for nearly a decade.  It's designed to bring everyone together - teachers, students, volunteers, vendors - all forming new friends and family - and welcoming the familiar faces along the new!  Motif will take place at El Norte Lounge in Lake City Seattle, just north of the LCCC.  Gathering starts at 6pm, things kick off a little later, so come on down, order some tacos and a fabulous drink, and mingle with like-minded folks in a relaxed and fun format!

THEN - have we mentioned the shopping???  We have THREE days of shopping at Waking Persephone for all of your dance needs and desires!  Vending during the festival is open to the public! AND we are welcoming our second year of the Chillspace - a wonderful area where you can relax, have some tea and snacks, color, interact, or be quiet!

And also in its 5th year, on Sunday during our lunch break, we'll be holding our community roundtable.  It's open to all, free, and everyone is welcome!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Teacher Feature: Tempest!

Last - but not least-  is Waking Persephone producer Tempest!  Tempest will be giving one workshop on Friday, and tag-teaming with Artemis on Sunday for another workshop, as well as leading the Community Cleanse Workshop (also on Sunday).

Tempest is the most recognized name associated with Gothic & Steampunk Fusion Bellydance in North America and across the world. She is often referred to as the "Goth Mutha" for her groundbreaking work in dark fusion. Tempest pulls from her visual arts background, literary tendencies, and global inspirations to create dance that crosses the boundaries of time and culture. Her compellingly artful performances exemplify her distinctively theatrical, unique, and expressive style that are rooted in oriental dance technique with a transcendent approach. Tempest's fascination with sacred and ritual dance lead her to bellydance over 15 years ago, and the exploration of Myth is an important and recurring theme in her work.

Tempest strives to create and teach dance that maintains the essence of bellydance; balancing tradition, inspiration, and innovation. She brings her dynamic interpretation of the dance to her workshops with a sense of fun, a strong foundation in technique, and a deep-hearted goal to aid students in developing their own sense of self within the dance.

She is the producer of Waking Persephone - an annual dark dance event, and Tapestry Dance Retreat, which focuses more on the sacred and folkloric aspects of the dance. Tempest is the founder and primary author of The Gothic Bellydance Resource, which tracks the progress of the movement as it develops worldwide, and was co-producer of the largest festival devoted to Gothic Bellydance in North America - Gothla US from 2008-2010.

In addition to dance, Tempest is a professionally trained visual artist, receiving her BFA in Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and having trained at Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia and the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts. Her artwork has received awards and honors worldwide, and has been published in numerous books and magazines. Her costume designs have revolutionized the look of modern bellydance, and continue to inspire new and old generations of dancers alike.

She lives in Seattle, WA with her husband, musician Nathaniel Johnstone, and works full-time as an artist, designer, and dancer.

Friday: 2:45-4:15pm: A Teacher's Workshop - How To Give More To & Get More Out of Your Students
Not only is bellydance itself an art that takes years to develop and refine, but teaching it is also an art that takes skill to really reach your students. Are you giving your students the most out of your own experience, fostering positive habits and really connecting with them? In this workshop, we will cover key concepts and exercises that will help you teach core movements and accents, stage presence, fluidity and grace with more effectiveness to a variety of students. There will also be question/answer discussion time, focusing on professionalism and working with the community. Whether you're thinking of teaching, or have been teaching for a while, you'll gain a lot of new perspective!

Sunday: 1:30pm-3:00pm (with Artemis) Tagteam Timeline: History of Belly Dance
Join Artemis and Tempest as they cover the History of Belly Dance! As with all things in life, you have to know where you came from so that you will understand where you are now and where to go from here. This ancient art form has been much misunderstood. Its origins came from prehistoric worship, then to the Temples of Hathor and it has flourished for thousands of years in its various permutations, finally makings its way into cabarets worldwide. We will explore the many roots of the dance - sacred and secular. Dance was used to invite, entice and communicate with divinities and mortals alike. Dance was carried along the Romany (Gypsy) trail from India to the world. The Almees, also known as "the wise women...the learned females" entertained and educated the people of North Africa. Public performers made their ways to the cabarets of the Middle East and eventually to Europe. America and beyond. Egyptian, Turkish, Lebanese and American styles of Oriental belly dance have flourished. A new art form was born - American Tribal style and in its turn, that gave birth to many other wonderful newer art forms. Regardless of your style or level of dance, you are bound to enjoy many "Ah Ha! Moments" as this workshop connects the dots and fills in the gaps.

Sunday: 3:30-5pm: Community Cleanse: Rinse, Ground, Grow, Repeat

This workshop wraps up our weekend with a ritual that will help you learn how to shed the layers and issues that you don't need, illuminate your own dance path and place within/without the larger community, retain the best parts of your experience, use them to grow the chart your journey further, while assisting you in finding ways to keep the high going all year long. Processes will include energy work, trance, and zar techniques. Wear comfortable clothing!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Featured Teachers & Musicians: The Ghosts Project

The Ghosts Project are a band that are near and dear to our hearts.  They were part of the very first (and second) Waking Persephone (back in Providence, RI), and we're thrilled to have them return for Year 5.

Formed in 2006, The Ghosts Project is comprised of Paul Mercer on violin and Davis Petterson on percussion. The band, which is located in Atlanta, features an ever changing lineup of special guest musicians from all over the country.

Paul Mercer began studying violin at age 8, and has performed professionally for over twenty years, His current and past projects include The Changlings, Jill Tracy's Malcontent Orchestra, Faith and the Muse, DP3, Brass Knuckle Surfer and The Sweet Meat Love and Holy Cult. Davis Petterson has been a percussionist for twenty years and has performed with bands such as The Changlings, The Hellblinki Sextet, Strezo, Abney Park, The Nathaniel Johnstone Band and Soriah. They will be joined in Seattle by multi-instrumentalist Nathaniel Johnstone.

The band frequently works with a variety of dancers, pulling not only from their own songs, but creating live improvised music on the spot. This is their third year performing at Waking Persephone, and each year as part of the Gala Shows, the performing dancer gives the band 3 words or phrases, which inspires the music they create right then and there.

Their workshop takes place on Friday 4:30-6pm Dancing To & With a Live Band
Learn the art of improvisation and how to perform with a live band from The Ghosts Project. The percussion, violin & guitar trio will teach you how to adapt your belly dance moves to the spontaneity of live musician with an emphasis on communication between dancer and musician.

And don't miss them making musical magic live at BOTH Gala Shows and dance with them yourself at the Underworld Ball!

Teacher Feature: Somni!

We are pleased to welcome back Somni - this year as Core Instructors offering TWO workshops - one on Friday and one on Sunday!

Somni is Letty Limbach and Sarah Kate Moore. They strive to create dynamic, mischievous tribal fusion that draws from many forms of world dance. Having completed Rachel Brice's 8 Elements Phases I and II, both members of Somni have also trained extensively with their dance mentor Lacey Sanchez of Florida Tribal Dance. Well known in Seattle for their dynamic, surprising performances, they are inspired by diverse forms of dance including Raks Sharki, ATS and ITS, tribal fusion, hip hop, modern/contemporary, tango, and Middle Eastern and North African folkloric forms.

Friday: 10:30-12pm Contemporary Stylizations
Many of us love the rich aesthetics of belly dance that draw from the past - the Victorian, the Art Nouveau, the tarnished but still sparkly shinies - but what if you want to look towards the present or even the future for inspiration? In this workshop, we'll explore contemporary stylizations in both movement and costume. Drawing inspiration from hip hop and modern dance forms, we'll first look at how we can adapt shape, structure, posture, and attitude to create a contemporary aesthetic using the vocabulary of belly dance. You'll then either create your own combination using these concepts or we'll teach a combination that illustrates these concepts. We'll then move to the costuming realm to discuss how you can adapt these same ideas to creating a unique costume that complements/accentuates the contemporary aesthetics of the movement, while still honoring the costuming lineage of our dance form. This will be a combination movement and discussion class and will include take-home handouts and direction toward relevant resources.

Sunday: 1:30pm-3:00pm Intentional JuxtapositionThis thoughtful article by fusion dancer Hilde Cannoodt has been making the rounds: We love what Hilde has to say about the importance of avoiding unintentional juxtaposition. It also made us wonder--what does intentional juxtaposition look like?--and how can we use it to create motivated, inspirational, badass fusion dance? Get ready to explore any and all movement and dance forms you have experience with to create your own "intentionally juxtaposed" combination. This will be a combo discussion/movement class with a focus on personal exploration, including take-home handouts and direction toward relevant resourc

Friday, October 7, 2016

Teacher Feature: Sara Beaman!

Another familiar face to WP is the multi-talented Sara Beaman! Based in Raleigh, North Carolina, Sara Beaman has a passion for contemporary bellydance in all its forms. She performs as a soloist and as a member of the League of Extraordinary Bellydancers, a geek-themed bellydance troupe, and stars in two instructional DVDs, "Fluid Transitions" and "Swordplay for Bellydance". Her style is always emotional, often dark, and usually improvised.

This year Sara is presenting the challenging art of floorwork on Friday from 4:30-6pm: Get On The Floor - Floorwork and Levels. This workshop demystifies the art of bellydance floorwork. Through a series of flowing combinations, we’ll explore basic and advanced floorwork techniques as well as the transitional elements between them. We’ll discuss conditioning, safety considerations, how to integrate props into floorwork, how to ascend and descend gracefully, and how to do floorwork in different kinds of costuming. You’ll come away from the workshop with skills you can put into practice right away. Please bring kneepads, or expect to have very sore knees by the end of the workshop.

She is also vending her gorgeous jewelry as Hazel Planchette in our wonderful marketplace!

Teacher Feature: Samara!

We are pleased to having Samara joining us again from the East Coast!

Samara is a Salem MA-based performance artist who has performed and taught bellydance at events across the US. She earned her Bachelor's in Theatre Arts from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and her Master's in Theatre Education from Emerson College, and has been studying Middle Eastern dance and performing as a living statue since 2006. Samara is the producer of several Boston-area events, including the Geeky Bellydance Show at the Arisia convention each January, and is the resident bellydancer for the burlesque collective Geek Girl Boston. She is the dance child of Neylan in Providence and Tempest wherever she roams and has combined her dance, theatre and performance art training into her own unique style of snaky, statuesque, pop-and-lock bellydance.

Samara will be presenting her workshop "All the World's a Stage: Theatre and Theatricality for Bellydancers" on Saturday at 5pm. While actors and dancers often share the same spaces, shared knowledge between art forms is a precious commodity. This workshop has a twofold focus: theatre terminology, history and concepts useful for dancers; and theatrical techniques to enhance a dancer's stage presence and engage their audience. Prepare for dramatic flair!

Check out her dramatic performance from Arisia!

Teacher Feature: Poppy Maya!

Teaching for her first time at WP is third-generation belly dancer and co-author of "Becoming a Belly Dancer" is the wonderful Poppy Maya! She is bringing to our extensive workshop schedule "Your Perfect Belly Dance Wardrobe" which focuses on the crucial topic of putting together the right look and costuming for your dance, regardless of level or style!

Poppy Maya is an international belly dancer and costume designer. As a third-generation belly dancer, she grew up surrounded by Middle Eastern music and dance. Dancers choose to have their custom costumes designed and made by Poppy because she brings her knowledge of performance to the design and construction of her costumes. Her pieces stand up to the strongest shimmy. UK born, Poppy’s belly dance career has taken her to three continents. Poppy performed professionally throughout India for eight months. She was the featured entertainer at Bollywood weddings, beach hotels and cruise ships. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area CA, performing at private events and restaurants. She is known for her exquisite shimmies, dynamic staging, bright smile and sparking eyes. Her family legacy of dance shines through her interpretations of the music.

Saturday 10/15: 5-6:30pm Poppy Maya: Your Perfect Belly Dance Wardrobe
Do you have lots of costumes pieces but nothing to wear? Are you just starting to perform and need to expand or upgrade your wardrobe, but don’t know where to start? In this workshop, Poppy will teach you how to get what you want from your costumes based on your budget, performance style and opportunities. We will review your existing costume collection and evaluate how it aligns with your goals.Poppy will share techniques for getting the most out of your wardrobe and how to complete your performance look. This is a lecture type workshop. Details of preparation work will be sent ahead of the class.

Check out her website at

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Teacher Feature: Nawal Doucette

Waking Persephone is pleased to welcome back Nawal as a guest instructor. She will be teaching the following workshop:

Rock N Roll Finger Symbols
Sunday, October 16th 9:00-10:30PM

In this workshop We will talk about and hear some of the different styles of music other than Traditional “bellydance music “ where we can play finger cymbals as percussionists and Dancers. These types of music include Folk, Celtic, Blue Grass, Rockabilly and event straight up ROCK! We will play Cymbals and learn a few combos that go well when improvising dance with cymbals to non-traditional music. We will explore Nawal’s approach to playing finger cymbals- Nawal originally learned to play finger cymbals as accompanying percussion as she became too busy with her bellydance business to keep up with her cello parts in Wet Grow Light- and started playing her cello parts with Cymbals. Rather than playing learned patterns over the music she creates patterns live on the spot- “jamming” or “riffing” with the music and complementing the drummer- locking in not only with the rhythm section but also the melodies and playing off the other band members. The Cymbals are written in to the music then the dance is worked in around the primary responsibility of accessory percussion.We will learn: using traditional cymbal patterns vs ‘composed’ patterns | When to back out and let the music breathe How to communicate with your band mates when dancing/ playing | Great warm ups and exercises to prepare for intense cymbal playing. This workshop is suitable for people new to finger cymbals or even experienced cymbal players.

More about Nawal

Nawal teaches finger cymbals, muscular technique , American Tribal Style®, and Salimpour format bellydance. She is Level 1 and Level 2 certified in both the Jamila and Suhaila Salimpour formats, and is currently working towards her teaching certification in both formats. She is also a FatChanceBellyDance® ATS® teacher and Certified Sister Studio; the first person to bring authentic American Tribal Style to New Brunswick, Canada.

Nawal has had her work as a pioneer of west coast bellydance styles in eastern Canada recognized with much praise and support. She has received multiple provincial arts’ grants in order to pursue her studies at the Suhaila Salimpour School of Bellydance in Berkeley, California.

Nawal is also an Experienced Yoga Teacher (E-RYT200) Registered through YOGA Alliance, blending her own practice into classes. She is a also a member of the Psycadelic Rock Group WET GROW LIGHT, playing percussion, keys , or belly dance."

Monday, October 3, 2016

Teacher Feature: Mahin

Waking Persephone is pleased to welcome Mahin as a guest instructor. She will be teaching the following workshop

Belly Dance Anatomy & Injury Prevention
Saturday, October 15th 3:00-4:30 PM

Learn to dance safer and stronger! We’ll cover muscles important to belly dance with regard to great arm flow, posture, juicy core movement and safe hips, knees and ankles. Material covers anatomy, strengthening, stretching and the application of biomechanical principles to belly dance movement. Mahin holds a B.S. in Exercise & Wellness and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer.

More about Mahin

Mahin is a performer and instructor based in Phoenix, AZ and author of the internationally-acclaimed "Bellydance Quickies" email and videos. As a performer she is known for her classic style and expertise with zills. As an teacher, Mahin combines the art of Middle Eastern dance with her academic background in Exercise Science to provide thorough and detailed instruction for her students.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Teacher Feature: Leigh Anne Shaw

Waking Persephone is thrilled to welcome Leigh Anne Shaw as a guest instructor this year! She will be teaching the following workshop:

The Shape of the Sun: ATS® Basket Dialect by Al-hambra Tribal Dance
Saturday, October 15th 1:15-2:45PM

Learn an exciting new movement dialect for American Tribal Style® Belly Dance that seamlessly integrates baskets into slow and fast ATS® vocabulary. The shape of the basket fused into the ATS® vocabulary recalls iconic postures and ancient symbols while remaining totally improvisational and ready to enhance any ATS® set. Created and taught by an FCBD Sister Studio, this movement dialect requires familiarity with the FatChanceBellyDance® instructional series through Volume 9. Please bring a round basket or object suitable for balancing and manipulating, appropriate headwrap, and knee protection. A limited number of baskets will be available for use and sale.

More about Leigh Anne:
Leigh Anne Shaw is grateful to have discovered American Tribal Style belly dance in 2004. After performing with student troupe Nefer Tem and FCBD® sister troupe Saiidi, Leigh Anne received her FCBD® General Skills and FCBD® Teacher Training certification in 2010 and became an official FCBD® Sister Studio, teaching ATS® on the San Francisco peninsula. Her troupe, Al-hambra Tribal Dance, performs in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to the years of instruction at the ATS® Mothership, Leigh Anne credits the development of her personal style to her studies with Ariellah, Nanna Candelaria, Malia DeFelice, Asia Arabesque, Andrea Sendek, and Wendy Marlatt. Leigh Anne performs world fusion belly dance on occasion with Wendy Marlatt in a sassy duet known as Rashani.

Teacher Feature: Kryss

Waking Persephone is excited to include Kryss as one of our guest instructors! She will be offering the following workshop:

Raqs Duende (Flamenco Fusion)
Saturday, October 15th 10:45AM-12:15PM

Flamenco is intense passion and deep immersion into the soul. To fuse Flamenco and Belly Dance is to cross a small strip of water that divides two amazingly beautiful cultures. By taking the upper body stylings of Flamenco, the signature turn, “vuelta que brada”, paseos and marking steps and layering with the hip, chest and torso isolations of Belly Dance there is a fusion that comes from the depths of the body and soul. Workshop focus is on arms, posture & attitude..

More about Kryss
We all come to dance from different places on the planet, in our hearts and in our minds. We come here because something stirs in our Souls when we hear the music all around us. I started in the rigidity and conformity of Ballet, was pulled back to dance in college to add Modern and Jazz to my body's vocabulary, and once the pre-requisites of early adulthood were fulfilled, I found my way to Middle Eastern Dance. My cells hold information about Flamenco and the Indian Classical style, Mohini Attam. When I dove into Dance meditation as a dance and personal practice, I figured out that Dance was basically painting with breath and that so much could be learned about Self and Community through Dance and I feel great Joy in seeing these connections created in others.

My stats... Dance Minor from Newcomb College, trained at Boston School of Ballet and Walnut Hill School of Performing Arts. Soloist with Betty Karam & the Desert Dancers, and !Ole Flamenco Ole! in New Orleans. I'm the director of NOLAmazigh and owner of Crescent Lotus Dance Studio. I hold a Teacher Certification in Dancemeditation from the Dervish Society of America. I've studied dance on 2 continents with some truly amazing people.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Teacher Feature: Kelly Holder

Waking Persephone is excited to have Kelly Holder as a guest instructor. Kelly will be teaching the following workshop:

Healing in Dance
Saturday, October 15th 5-6:30PM

Ever notice that dance can make your feel better and not just physically. Well, there is a reason for that! In this workshop we will cover the How, What and Why? of movement and dance. You will learn how dance can be helpful physically and psychologically. We will talk about everything from characteristics of movement to dance therapy techniques to brain stuff...yes, brain stuff to enhance your practice and performance.

More about Kelly

Kelly is a Tribal Fusion Belly Dancer based in Milwaukee, WI. She began her belly dance career with the Improvisational Tribal Belly Dance Troupe, Barika Belly Dance in 2003. In 2007, she became a soloist and studied various forms of Belly Dance as well as Eastern European Romany (Gypsy) Folk Dance from her teacher Elaina Qureshi. The fusion of these elements allowed for Kelly to create her own unique style which is a combination of belly dance, folk dance and skirt work. In 2011, Kelly began learning traditional Russian Gypsy Dance from Viktoria Mitlyng and this further expanded Kelly’s dance repertoire and style. Kelly completed Tribal Style Belly Dance training, Collective Soul Level One, with Paulette Rees-Denis in 2007 and completed a 14 hour Belly Dance Intensive with Zafira Dance Company in 2008.

Kelly continues to learn and teach. Kelly has taught and performed at events throughout the Midwest and has taught at events such as Tribal Revolution and Ooky Spooky. She is known for her spirited performances and use of a big skirt. In her other life, she is a counselor and has taken additional coursework in Movement and Dance Therapy. Kelly incorporates therapeutics aspects of movement and dance into her performance, practice and teaching modalities. Kelly has also been featured in Fuse magazine and the book “I Bellydance Because”.

Teacher Feature: Katrina

We are happy to welcome Katrina Ji as a guest instructor at Waking Persephone this year. She will be teaching the following workshop:

Spice Box: Intro to Indian Dance
Sunday, October 16th 3:30-5:00PM

India is the spice capital of the world enriched with awe inspiring dances. Spice up your dance repertoire with Katrina Ji as she intertwines a variety of Indian dance steps from classical to folk laced with mudras and coy facial expressions. A series of steps will be taught utilizing a variety of steps with cultural references along with mudras (hand poses) and special facial expressions in the form of a mini choreography. Katrina Ji has been dabbling in Indian Dance since 2001 when she first fell in love with Rajasthani Folk Dance. Since then, she has spiced up her dance with steps from the classical dances of southern India: Kuchipidi, Bharatnatyum, Odissi and Kathak and the folk dances of Northern India: Lavani, Garba, Kalbelia Gypsy, Bhangra and more!

More About Katrina Ji
Katrina Ji, Artistic Director of Culture Shakti Dance Company & Rajasthani Gypsy Caravan

She has appeared on several TV programs in India & the USA in addition to podcasts and magazines. She has performed with some of the worlds most famous dancers!

Katrina Ji tours internationally with Rajasthani Gypsy Caravan and teaches Bollywood Dance at her studio, Culture Shakti in Seattle in addition to a variety of public and private schools.

She specializes in Bollywood, Rajasthani Folk Dance & ATS® Belly Dance.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Teacher Feature: Kamrah

Waking Persephone is excited to welcome back Kamrah as a guest instructor. They will be teaching the following workshop:

Beyond Basic Sword
Friday, October 14th 2:45-4:15 PM

This workshop is not for the faint of heart! Take your sword work to the next level by learning how to dance with your sword…and with an attitude! Balancing is NOT the focus of this workshop. We will be working on other techniques to make your sword performances interesting, dynamic, and bold! A short combo is offered to integrate concepts and for further practice of these amazing techniques.

More About Kamrah 
Kamrah is a Chicago belly dancer that has performed tribal fusion, American cabaret, Lebanese, and Egyptian belly dance since 2001. Noted for their creativity and theatricality, they currently perform throughout the country as a soloist and is a member of Raks Geek, a geek belly dance and fire company based in Chicago. They are a trained massage therapist, and their knowledge of anatomy enables them to teach students how to dance both powerfully and safely.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Teacher Feature: Jaidra DuRant

We are pleased to welcome Jaidra DuRant as a guest instructor this year! She will be teaching the following workshop:

Basic of Poi
Sunday, October 16th 9:00-10:30AM

The word Poi comes from the Maori, and means ""ball on a cord."" Much like dance or music, the art of spinning poi has evolved over time to have many different forms. Today, we spin fabric poi, glow poi, fire poi, and more in intricate patterns mixed with movement to create a dance style that can be meditative or mesmerizing for the dancer and/or the audience. In this workshop, Jaidra will introduce you to the art of spinning poi. We will begin with simple concepts, moves, and circles and build to turns and patterns layered over simple dance isolations. No experience is necessary.

More About Jaidra

Jaidra is a fusion dance performance artist, instructor, and visual artist located in Greenville, SC. She is Co-Director of the captivating theatrical fusion performance group, Discordia Arts. Jaidra has been involved in theatre her entire life and began belly dancing in 2002. Her foray into the fire and flow arts began in 2006 when she picked up fire palms and fans for the first time and fell in love. As a lifelong pyromaniac, the ability to set things on fire and dance around with them is both spiritual and extremely joyful for Jaidra. Her fascination with large dangerous objects and off beat music combine with her background in theatre to create her unique style of dance that often features swords, fire, and intensely engaging imagery.

Finding belly dance was a life altering and healing experience for Jaidra. As a dancer, she loves to work with props as an extension of the body. As an instructor, Jaidra aims to equip her students with the tools to find their personal joy in movement.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Teacher Feature: Troupe ‘Hip’notic

We are excited to welcome Troupe ‘Hip’notic to the guest instructor roster! They will be teaching the following workshop:

Birds of a Feather: Collaboration and Group Dynamics
Sunday, October 16th 10:45AM-12:15PM

There are many reasons to collaborate with other dancers, either in a troupe or as short-term partnerships. However, working together can be difficult, requiring vulnerability and compromise. Troupe ‘Hip’notic has learned and adapted techniques to incorporate members’ thoughts, ideas, and talents throughout the entire process of creating and performing thought-provoking and emotional dances. This collaborative development results in strong pieces which are truly owned by each dancer.

Taking cues from nature, this workshop will explore effective collaboration and group dynamics using simple rules exhibited by flocking birds. Troupe ‘Hip’notic will provide tips and tools for effective communication, criticism, and creation. Movement will focus on dynamic staging, group movement, and creative use of space; all essential parts of conveying emotions and stories through choreography. The troupe will also teach formations and movements that are effective to convey a mood or an idea, as well as some sample combos from troupe choreography that demonstrate various storytelling techniques.

More About Troupe "Hip"notic
Known for their charismatic, creative, and emotive performances, Troupe ‘Hip’notic has been performing their eclectic belly dance fusion throughout Maryland and the mid-Atlantic since their formation in 2004. Troupe ‘Hip’notic is a collective of women who respectfully borrow from traditional music and belly dance, while incorporating contemporary music and dance styles into their performances. As a purely democratic entity, everyone’s thoughts, ideas, and talents go into the entire creative process – from conception to costuming, from storyboarding to stage. For them, the entire artistic process is just as important as the final developed choreography. Over the years, their style has evolved to be increasingly more theatrical. They love to tell a story through characters, emotivity, and movement, and especially, to evoke specific, strong emotions from their audiences. They aim to envelope you in the world of their piece, and to lead you on a journey through their stories.

The troupe members have studied a variety of Middle Eastern dance styles (ATS, ITS, Egyptian, orientale, folkloric, etc.) that all tend to be incorporated into our choreographies, and all end up influencing their dancing. They continually pursue instruction with nationally and internationally renowned teachers to grow as artists and dancers. Their regular instructors include Belladonna (Washington, DC; tribal fusion) and Latifa (Annapolis, MD; Egyptian orientale and folkloric). Troupe members have taken workshops and short intensives with Zoe Jakes, Mira Betz, Mardi Love, Sera Solstice, Kim Leary, Donna Mejia, Shems, and Asharah, among many others. The troupe has performed at shows including Art of the Belly, Raven’s Night, DCTribal Cafe, Moonlight Tribal Lounge, 3rd Coast Tribal, Waking Persephone, TribalCon, and the Maryland Faerie Festival, among many others.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Teacher Feature: Hilary Pierce

Waking Persephone is very excited to welcome back the 2015 Jeniviva Mia Memorial Scholarship winner Hillary Pierce as a guest instructor. She will be offering the following workshop:

Neutral Mask: Fundamental Technique for the Dramatic Performer
Sunday October 16th 1:30-3:00 PM

This workshop will look at the self as an external attribute that can be studied and manipulated to produce precise, compelling, universally communicative movement. All character is a deviation from neutrality. How do you find and remove the infinite subjectivities of yourself in order to become something else— or— how do you detach from you in order to learn, understand, and perform yourself with deeper understanding and effectiveness? Neutral Mask is a traditional set of exercises designed to awaken our awareness of the body as a platform for silent communication. It explores a state of pure presence, a blank slate, upon which performers of all genres can discover the building blocks of expression and character. This workshop will use a series of traditional exercises to introduce new questions to thoughtful choreographers. It is a tool kit for dancers who feel compelled to embody something or someone when they dance, whether it be a goddess, a force of nature, a character, or an animal. No experience is necessary. Yes, there will be an actual mask. I know this is a stretch for Waking Persephone but— please wear black or dark clothes

More About Hilary: 
Hilary Pierce is an artist currently based in Virginia. She graduated magna cum laude from Bryn Mawr College with a BFA in sculpture and a minor in dance in 2014. After completing her undergraduate work she attended Headlong Performance Institute in Philadelphia, a graduate intensive where she studied experimental and avant-garde performance, along with Commedia dell’Arte, Character Mask, Neutral Mask, Red-nose Clown, Butoh, and Dramaturgy.
A performing artist since 2010, she is deeply inspired by Tribal Fusion Belly dance as well as African art and dance, Kabuki theatre, Butoh, theoretical physics, Jane Austen, space, mythology, and art nouveau. She believes in using her talents to bring as much beauty and goodness into the world as she can.

Hark! She has a website!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Teacher Feature : Henna Crone

Waking Persephone is thrilled to have Henna Crone as one of our core instructors. She will be offering the following workshop.

Henna Adornment for Dancers 101
Friday, October 14th 1-2:30 PM

The basics of henna application with a focus on adornment for dancers and performers. We will cover all of the basics of mixing and applying - and talk about effective designs and placements which can enhance costuming and performing and be visible from the stage.

More about Henna Crone

I discovered the ancient art of henna back in 1999 and I've been passionately pursuing it ever since. I'm primarily a festival henna artist, vending at hundreds of festivals over the years, including the Upland Lemon Fest, Cairo Caravan, Cairo ShimmyQuake, Bhakti Fest, the Vista Viking Fest, the Fallbrook Avocado Fest, the Big Bear Renaissance Fest and many, many more! I've also had the privilege of teaching and vending at Tribal Fest, 3rd Coast Tribal, and teaching at several conferences such as the Henna Intensive & Retreat, Henna Chai, and Henna Con, as well as several libraries. Henna is a huge blessing in my life!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Teacher Feature: Heather Powers

We are excited to announce Heather Powers as one of our guest instructors! Heather will be offering the following workshop.

CORE Values: Pilates for Belly Dancers
Friday October 14th 10:30 AM -12:00 PM

Boost your belly dance technique and posture by cross training in Pilates. Develop a core connection that can help improve balance, articulation and range of motion influencing moves like belly rolls, undulations and posture. As belly dancers, it is so important to strengthen the front body to protect and support the back body after many repetitions of moves such as hip movements (shimmies, figure 8's) or back extensions (body wave,back bends). Pilates is a great tool to be integrated into any dancers' personal conditioning practice.Please bring a mat, water and have a notebook handy.

More about Heather

Heather Powers is a devoted belly dance performer and instructor based in Portland, Maine. Her style is heavily influenced by her experience as a visual artist. Heather's desire is to create a transformative experience by filling space with strong, clean graceful movements captivating audiences.

She diligently trains worldwide with renowned belly dancers. Heather contributes to the New England belly dance community as a host of workshop weekends and as a producer of local shows. Her most recent achievements include: completing Rachel Brice's 8 Elements™ Phase I & II, cross-training as a personal trainer,  Pilates mat and yoga instructor and joining the management team at Bright Star World Dance, Maine's sole dance studio focusing in belly dance.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Teacher Feature Delilah

We are thrilled to have Delilah returning as a guest instructor and offering the following workshop:
The Meaning of Body Movement
Friday, October 14th 1-2:30PM 

In this workshop we will explore the work of master Francois Delsarte as applied to dance. His system of body language was aimed at oratory during the 1800’s and later put to work in modern and ethnic dance by Ted Shawn, Ruth Saint Denis, Le Meri (and others) in the early 1900’s. “Arabesque Magazine” introduced it to the evolving American belly dance community in the 1970’s through a series of articles. In this work shop we will explore Delsarte’s universal communication principals. Hint; It is the secret of all powerful dances compositions. Open to all levels of dance who are not familiar with this work, and to teachers and even photographers and artists will find this class inspiring

More about Delilah
Delilah here: "I started in the 70’s at age 18 and have dedicated my life to belly dance. Wearer of many hats! World Traveled, Award winning, visionary performer, known as being a pioneer of contemporary stylization of American belly dance. Featured performer of over 80 professionally produced and marketed videos on many labels; concerts, documentaries, instructional programs, fusion art works . Well established performer in American cabaret as well as leader and innovator in many style variations; Belly Dancing with Nature, Belly Dance Underwater, Parade Style, Ritual Dances. . .Director of the Neighborhood Temple Priestesses dance group. Tour and retreat leader, author, music promotor & producer, director, product producer."

Friday, September 9, 2016

Teacher Feature: Celeste

We are excited to have one Celeste as one of our core instructors!  She will be offering the following workshop:
Help! I'm stuck! - Getting out of a rut in your performance prep
Sunday October 16th, 10:45 AM - 12:15PM

We've all been frustrated by the first minute of a choreography coming out easily but the rest is a struggle. Or, when preparing for a more improvisational piece, feeling like we do the same moves over and over. This dance preparation rut is very common. This workshop aims to help you move past those moments more easily by providing some exercises that will prompt your creative brain to kick back into gear and get you past that road block. This workshop is also good for anyone who wants new ideas for choreographing/prepping for pieces. All skill levels welcome.

More about Celeste
Celeste is a dark belly dance performer and instructor. She has been performing all over the Midwest since 2006 and has recently relocated in Seattle in the fall of 2015.
Celeste has always loved dancing. She took 2 years of modern dance classes and taught Medieval and Renaissance dancing through the SCA (Society for a Creative Anachronism) for about 10 years. However, it wasn't until she discovered belly dance that she found a dance form that was truly satisfying for her. She started taking classes in her hometown of Quebec City, Canada in 1995, with Francine Morneau. She learned a blend of Egyptian and Turkish belly dance for the next 5 years. Celeste took a 4-year break from belly dance, during which she moved to Indianapolis IN. In the Fall of 2004, the belly dance bug bit her again and she started taking formal classes with Jaleela Saleem.
The ITS and tribal fusion aesthetics attracted Celeste and she was delighted when Jaleela did a session on tribal style and created a troupe, which later became Black Rose Caravan. After Jaleela retired from Black Rose Caravan due to health reasons in 2005, Celeste became director of Black Rose Caravan and started teaching the troupe members. In the Spring of 2006, Celeste expanded her teaching and started offering classes and has been teaching ever since.
Celeste considers herself a constant student of this dance form and, as such, has taken countless workshops over the years and is currently being mentored by Tempest. She loves to share elements from the workshops with her students and incorporate some elements into her own dance. Celeste loves to have at her disposal any item from her personal toolbox within her reach, which means learning many different ways of executing movements and being able to pick whichever one is more appropriate for the performance. Having a strong technical background, Celeste adds artistry to the physical execution of belly dance in her performances.
In the classroom, Celeste combines her dark sense of humor with structured technique to foster a positive learning experience that helps students remember material quickly and naturally. She currently teaches tribal fusion from her knowledge of fusion technique as well as her personal repertoire of dark belly dance.
Celeste has taught workshops at Tribal Revolution, Midwest Mayhem, Angels and Absinthe 2, and has been a featured instructor at Waking Persephone since its inception.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Teacher Feature: Carrie Meyer

We are delighted to announce that Carrie Meyer of The Dancer's Eye will be offering a wonderful workshop plus photo sessions at Waking Persephone!

Basic Digital Photography with The Dancers Eye
Saturday October 15th 9:00-10:30am 
Register here:

The Basic Digital Photography is an instructional course designed to help you learn about YOUR camera. Carrie will break it down so that you feel more at ease with your camera and ability to use it! We all need the ability to take sharp and clear photos for classes, events and products. During the course students will learn how to locate and use the manual settings on their cameras to get better photos.

This course has been designed to fit within a 2-hour time frame and covers three basic areas:

1) The Photographer's Toolkit
2) Basic Understanding of Exposure
3) Choosing Camera Settings

More about Carrie:

Carrie Meyer, Photographer/The Dancers Eye, has had an interest in cameras and photography from a very young age, when her parents first allowed her to experiment with several of their cameras. She fondly remembers her first Polaroid Instamatic, and the variety of fun shots she was able to capture with it.

Carrie began bellydancing in 2001, after losing 100 pounds. She sought to find a workout that would inspire her to keep the weight off, while not being tied to the gym. Little did she know at the time that this was just the beginning of a love affair with dance that has now spanned a decade for her. In this period of time, she has learned traditional Egyptian, ATS and Fusion, and has danced in groups that have featured all these styles. Carrie is currently doing further studies in ATS and has actively danced in several St. Louis based performing groups for over 10 years.

Regardless of the photographic subject matter, Carrie’s work shares certain commonalities. The clarity of the images represented, thoughtful composition, and the meaning of the moments in time that she captures characterize her work. The foundation of her work builds out from the strength and power of the basic images, and the personality, of her subjects. Having married her love of bellydance with her love of photography, Carrie offers her dancer subjects a unique opportunity to work with an artist who truly understands the dance, and how dancers want themselves to be portrayed.

Carrie's work has been featured on the covers of Fuse, Jareeda and Zagareet and in the pages of Yallah, among other publications. Carrie is also a Staff Photographer for Fuse Bellydance Magazine.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Teacher Feature: Bevin Victoria

We are pleased to announce Bevin Victoria as one of our guest instructors! Bevin will be offering:

Music Maps: An Atlas for Performance
Saturday October 16th 10:45-12:15 PM

A great piece of music can be explosive and dynamic, gentle and soothing, whimsical, magical, dark, soaring or the unwonted combination of all of the above. Sometimes the more inspired you are by the piece the more daunting the task of dancing to it can be. Knowing the piece like the back of your hand can help but it takes something extra to create your masterpiece.

In this workshop we will work with different pieces of music and create a “music map” that can apply to improvisations or choreography and that will translate to any piece of music. Please bring something to write with and on. A portion of the class will be lecture but we will be doing lots of improvisation work and working with choreography.

More about Bevin:

Bevin Victoria began her studies in Tribal belly dance at Gypsy Caravan Studio in 2006. She soon after began performing with Gemini Project Dance Co. and from there was introduced to the wonderful world of fusion bellydance. Drawing inspiration from dance greats like Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, the pioneers of Tribal Fusion, her extensive study in classical ballet, hip hop, samba, flamenco, and from her years as a competitive gymnast and martial artist, Bevin Victoria aspired to bring an athletic and dynamic approach to her dance. Since then she has had the chance to study with some of the greatest artists in the field, co-founded and directed Urban Nomad Dance Company, and has been fortunate enough to tour the US and Europe multiple times. She is currently a member of Portland’s premier busking group- Baksana, Portland's Vaudville Experience-Sepiatonic and frequently performs as a soloist, teaches workshops and is a certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist and Low Back Injury Prevention Specialist, offering private training and corrective exercise to dancers throughout the country.

For more info please visit:

Monday, August 29, 2016

Teacher Feature: Asharah

Asharah, one of Core Instructors, will be returning this year to teach two fabulous workshops!

Let's Make a Show! Cabaret-Style Sets for Contemporary Belly Dance
Friday October 14th 10:30-12:30 PM

Create an exciting set, using music from your library, based in the templates of the American Cabaret 3/5/7-part show. Music can be Middle Eastern, or not, and we'll explore how non-Middle Eastern music can have analogues to the songs found in the classic cabaret sets of both North America and the Middle East. Students should bring a collection of music that they might wish to dance to or are already using in performance. Bring at least: two fast/up-tempo songs, two medium songs, and two slower/softer songs.

Watching Dance to Make Dance
Saturday October 15th 1:15-2:45 PM

When we are watching dance, how do we know what we’re watching and how we’re interpreting what we see? Being able to describe dance and how we see it is an essential part of watching and making dances. Using Laban Movement Analysis and other methods, this experiential lecture-workshop will give participants basic tools for looking at, describing, and interpreting dances. Wear comfortable clothes, as we will do some moving. Do bring your dance journal!

More about Asharah:

Abigail "Asharah" Keyes is a dancer and dance educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. With a background in Middle Eastern studies, her focus is on belly dance and Middle Eastern folk dances, as well as their Euro-American fusions. She has taught throughout the Americas, Canada, Europe, and Asia; and her 2008 instructional DVD, Modern Tribal Bellydance with Asharah, is still considered by many dancers to be one of the best instructional belly dance DVDs on the market for belly dancers of all styles and levels. She wishes to foster curiosity, a strong work ethic, creativity and individuality, as well as an overall improved sense of physical and mental well-being in all of her students. Exchanging knowledge—physical, historical, cultural, and creative—is the ultimate goal of every class, for beginners and experienced dancers alike.

She is currently earning an M.A. in Dance at Mills College in Oakland, with focus on history and pedagogy. She is certified Level 4 in the Suhaila Salimpour Format—the first ever tiered certification program in belly dance—Level 3 in the Jamila Salimpour Format, and is working towards the Level 5 teaching certification in both programs. Additionally, she holds a B.A. from Princeton University in Near Eastern Studies. She is a staff instructor at the Salimpour School of Belly Dance, has appeared with Zoe Jakes’ Bhoomi Project and Beats Antique to audiences of over 3,000 people, and performs regularly with Bal Anat and the Suhaila Dance Company.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Teacher Feature: Artemis

We are SO excited to have Artemis return to Waking Persephone as a Core Instructor! Artemis will be offering an array of workshop that you do not want to miss!

Romany (Gypsy) Music, Dance and Culture Workshop
Saturday October 15th 1:15-4:45 PM
Register here:

This lecture workshop separates fact from fiction about Romany music, dance, history and culture from many different Romany cultures throughout the world. We compare and contrast features of the dances and music. There is ample DVD footage. We discuss the truth about Romany culture and history and how it is quite different from the false stereotyped fantasies and biases that abound.

Sacred Dance Workshop with Artemis
Sunday October 16th 9:00-10:30 AM
Register here:

Using ancient traditions, we will can connect and reconnect with why we dance. The ancient ones used movement and dance to create changes in their lives. Through movement, they communicated with their deities and with the forces of nature. They healed the sick, they asked for what they needed, they praised their deities, they sought their protection, they banished what they wanted to be rid of and sometimes they used themselves as vessels so that the deities could dance through them. This workshop and the accompanying ritual includes a brief orientation to sacred dance and a one hour movement based ritual. Come and experience the joy and power of using movement and dance to create changes in your lives. We welcome people from all spiritual backgrounds. It is our hope to inspire, empower and enlighten all participants.

For the ritual, we ask that you make two separate lists on two pieces of is a wish list of what you want to bring into your lives and one of what you want to get rid of. You will then copy over the things you want to get rid of onto flash paper which you will burn during the ritual. This is a powerful and purposeful act and the more time you put into these list, the better. Think of it as a New Year's Resolution only with the power of group prayer behind it. These lists are for your eyes only. You will take your wish list home with you. Please dress for comfort and freedom of movement. You may wish to wear attire or jewelry that is of spiritual significance to you. We very much look forward to your presence. Artemis has been participating in and sharing sacred dance with others for over 40 years.

Tagteam Timeline: History of Belly Dance
With Tempest AND Artemis
Sunday October 16th 1:30-3:00 PM
Register here:

Join Artemis and Tempest as they cover the History of Belly Dance! As with all things in life, you have to know where you came from so that you will understand where you are now and where to go from here. This ancient art form has been much misunderstood. Its origins came from prehistoric worship, then to the Temples of Hathor and it has flourished for thousands of years in its various permutations, finally makings its way into cabarets worldwide. We will explore the many roots of the dance - sacred and secular. Dance was used to invite, entice and communicate with divinities and mortals alike. Dance was carried along the Romany (Gypsy) trail from India to the world. The Almees, also known as "the wise women...the learned females" entertained and educated the people of North Africa. Public performers made their ways to the cabarets of the Middle East and eventually to Europe. America and beyond. Egyptian, Turkish, Lebanese and American styles of Oriental belly dance have flourished. A new art form was born - American Tribal style and in its turn, that gave birth to many other wonderful newer art forms. Regardless of your style or level of dance, you are bound to enjoy many "Ah Ha! Moments" as this workshop connects the dots and fills in the gaps.

Core Instructor Ritual Guides, Community Cleanse: Rinse, Ground, Grow, Repeat
With all Core Instructors
Sunday October 16th 3:30-5:00 PM
Register here:

This workshop wraps up our weekend with a ritual that will help you learn how to shed the layers and issues that you don't need, illuminate your own dance path and place within/without the larger community, retain the best parts of your experience, use them to grow the chart your journey further, while assisting you in finding ways to keep the high going all year long. Processes will include energy work, trance, and zar techniques. Wear comfortable clothing!

More about Artemis:

Artemis has been dancing, teaching and researching dance history in the United States and abroad for over 40 years. She is best known for her work with Oriental dance and Turkish Romany dance. But she was first drawn to Middle Eastern dance in the 1970s because of the spirituality of it. In those days, she had to be self taught because there were very few dancers who talked about their spiritual connection to the dance. However, she traveled extensively to gather information and illustrations of the sacred dances of Egypt, Greece, Crete and Rome. She believes that we can all use art to build bridges across cultures. And when doing sacred dance, we can use music and dance to build a bridge across time to connect with the ancient ones who danced before us. Artemis has an M.A. in psychology, an M.S.W. in social work (with specialized studies in cross cultural awareness) and has done postgraduate work in dance movement therapy. She has lectured, taught and/or performed for Cornell University and Princeton University, National Public Radio (NPR), Voice of America and in Spain, England, France, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Canada, Japan, Greece, Turkey, Australia and in 33 states within the United States. Artemis is listed in the International Dance Council (CID) Who's Who of Dance. Her photograph can be found in the International Encyclopedia of Dance under the listing for "danse du ventre" (translates to "belly dance") which is produced by the Oxford University Press. She has won the "Ethnic Dancer of the Year Award" presented by the International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance (IAMED) and has won the "Most Popular Ethnic Dancer Award" from Zaghareet Magazine twice. Artemis has also won their "Lifetime Achievement Award."

Friday, August 19, 2016

Teacher Feature: Annwyn Avalon

Give a big welcome to guest instructor Annwyn Avalon!

On Saturday morning, October 15th, she is presenting: "How to create Sacred Dance space and a Sacred Dance practice" 
Description: Dance is sacred and can be turned into a daily practice by creating sacred space and choreography. However many might not know where to start! In this class we will explore the elements that make up a sacred dance practice including the basics of setting up space, different cleansing methods, energetic prep work and how to create a dance altar. We will explore things such as music selection, working with Deity or spirits in devotion, creating vision boards, dance talisman, and even using henna as part of your dance practice. We will also discuss creating sacred space for others and what to take into consideration when hosting a Sacred Dance Ritual for others. By the end of the class the student should have a good understanding of a Sacred Dance practice and should have the confidence to create their own practice at home, merging dance and spirituality.

More about Annwyn:
Art, in various forms and media, has shaped Annwyn into the woman she is today. Whether it is through painting, dancing, henna, spell craft, or even Priestessing, Annwyn uses the wellspring of creative forces within her Divine Feminine to birth and transform thought into reality. Annwyn Avalon is a Priestess, Artist, Dancer and Witch recently relocated to Portland, Oregon from Phoenix, Arizona. Through the power of her watery nature, Annwyn is driven to constantly grow and transform through her love of the Esoteric and Dance. Through Oriental Fusion, Annwyn focus’ much of her esoteric devotional practices using Sacred Dance. She believes that the power of dance also contains the power of healing and that by combining dance and magic, people everywhere can bring deep nourishment to the mind, body and spirit. She is the founder and creatrix of Triskele Rose Witchcraft and Water Magic Course on Witchcraft. She is a Priestess of many Goddesses and uses her Sacred Dance Practice to show devotion to the Deity’s she serves.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Teacher Feature: Ami Amore'

Returning to Waking Persephone this year is the unparalleled Ami Amore'. One of our Core instructors, she will be teaching 2 diverse workshops this year. "How to build a successful bellydance show" Friday from 4:30 - 6:00 PM, and "Elemental Combos" Saturday from 3:00-4:30 PM.

You can register now at

Get advice and essential knoweldge for how to make your show a hit with "How to build a successful bellydance show." As a show producer for over 7 years and a show 6 years in the making "Ami Amore's Urban Cabaret" did not become an over night success without much labor and trial and error. This seminar will provide insight and ideas into producing a long-term running or a one-time bellydance show geared towards bellydancers and the general public alike. How to use social media to the best of your ability without spending a ton of cash. How to scout and pick out venues, communication with venue owners, etc. What to avoid, what to look for, what to do or not do. What kinds of fees to expect, where to spend your money and where to save it. But make sure to bring notebooks and writing implement and be prepared to take notes and ask questions.

Open your mind and train your body with Ami's popular workshop "Elemental Combos". Learn 4 distinctly different combos embracing and embodying the elements with moves influenced by and channeling these elements as well as the elemental intention behind these combos and movements. Bring a notebook and an open mind!

More about Ami:
Ami Amore' is a lifelong artist. Starting with drawing, painting, fashion, B&W photography and finally, her discovery of bellydance in 1999. From her first class with Serena of Aalim, she was hooked and knew this was going to be a life long journey. She joined Aalim Dance Co. in 2002. Then, in 2006, forming Chuvani Bellydance with some like-minded individuals. She fell in love with tribal fusion in 2006 after seeing a Bellydance Superstars show in St. Louis. Her style is ever-changing and ever evolving and currently borders on the stylings of dark fusion, hip hop and cabaret and could often be considered theatrical.
Ami has been practicing yoga since 1996, so it’s only natural that she would incorporate her two passions, bellydance and yoga, into her career. Ami has been teaching yoga consistently for over 4 years now since she earned her 200hr ryt in 2010.  Ami believes yoga and bellydance are both the union of spirit, mind and body and incorporates a love yourself and listen to your body approach to all her classes.

Even though she has been teaching bellydance since 2006, she constantly continues her bellydance education through taking workshops in all styles around the country, because she believes she has something she can learn from everyone and one never should stop learning. Through thick and thin, Ami has come back to dance as her form of creative expression, her passion. No matter what is going on in life, dance is always there.
Ami has a wide list of accomplishments, but she is most proud of her drive to make her many passions a sustaining career. With years of hardwork and determination, she currently  boasts 2 dance troupes – Exotic Rhythms (started 2006) and Mosaic (in 2012), monthly sold-out “Bellydance Bootcamps”, teaching 9 classes per week (6 dance and 3 yoga), being a sought after performer, workshop presenter and a successful bellydance show producer and event host.

When Ami isn't out taking the bellydance world by storm she enjoys collecting junk, making jewelry and headpieces under the moniker of Amorticous, tending to “the beetles”, taking her snake "little boo-boo" out for long walks, reading, writing, painting, biking, hiking, running, doing yoga or cooking delicious food.