Sahara Dance

Our Faculty

The faculty at Sahara Dance is committed to a shared vision of teaching belly dance as an art form. Our faculty works from a standardized curriculum, emphasizing strong technique, individual expression and contextual awareness of Middle Eastern dance and music. While each teacher has a unique style, our shared syllabus ensures a comprehensive approach to belly dance instruction.

We uphold the highest standards for the study and practice of belly dance as a cultural dance form and an emerging experimental genre. All faculty members teaching the Sahara Dance curriculum have completed the following professional training:

* Sahara Dance Foundations Teacher training with Rachel Kay Brookmire, Karim Nagi and guest artists (80 hours)
* Journey through Egypt 1 (JtE) certification with dance ethnologist, Sahra Saeeda, MA, UCLA (20 hours)
* Journey through Egypt 2 (JtE) certification with dance ethnologist, Sahra Saeeda, MA, UCLA (20 hours)
* Sahara Dance Teaching Assistantships
* Continuing Education: weekly training and ongoing master classes

Alilyah

Alilyah
Alilyah has a welcoming and fun spirit that helps put her beginner students at ease and enjoy each others' company, the music, and the spirit of the dance.

Allyson

Allyson
Allyson hopes to share with her students the joy of belly dance and the unique, individual expressions it generates. Years of experience as a college instructor have shaped her energy and flexibility in the classroom. and she is honored to be part of the artistry of Sahara Dance.

Amar Gamal

Amar Gamal
Adjunct Faculty
Amar Gamal's elegant and unique style has made her a sought after performer and instructor worldwide. She has had the privilege to be an invited guest teacher and performer all over Europe, Asia, and North and South America.

Ami

Ami
Ami has studied dance for more than ten years and brings an understanding of balance, rhythm and energy to American Tribal Style belly dance and Raqs Sharqi. She is the co-director of Sahara Tribal and the director of Raqs Caravan West and Raquettes Tribal. She is currently teaching 5 weekly classes in tribal, tribal fusion with sword and raqs sharqi.

Brianne

Brianne
Brianne sought out belly dance classes after experiencing the beauty and unique expressiveness offered through this art form. She has been studying and dancing at Sahara Dance ever since.

Candra

Candra
Candra enjoys sharing her passion for dance and her love of sisterhood with everyone in the Sahara community.

Cecelia

Cecelia
Cecelia is pleased to be able to share the joy and art of belly dancing with others and strongly believes that we're never too old to start -- or continue -- learning the ancient art of belly dance.

Chiaki

Chiaki
Chiaki is a professional dancer who specializes in modern Egyptian belly dance. Drawing on her background in classical ballet, she brings grace and musicality to her dance and choreography.

Colleen

Colleen
Colleen is a member of Raqs Sahara, former member and company manager of Raqs Caravan East, and a former member of Jazz Dance DC.

Dee Dee

Dee Dee
Drawn to the grace and beauty of raqs sharqi and the spontaneity of American Tribal Style, Dee Dee teaches and performs both traditional and tribal belly dance. She brings an understanding of balance, posture and alignment to her teaching from years of training in Anusara yoga...

Ebony

Ebony
Ebony's playful and sharing spirit flavors both her performances and her approach to teaching. A combination of strong technique, musicality, and innovation are the foundations of her colorful dance presence. Ebony performs both traditional raqs sharqi and her own dynamic urban fusion belly dance style.

Elysa

Elysa
Elysa has been with Sahara Dance since its founding in 2003. In addition to a choreographing and performing regularly with Raqs Sahara, Elysa co-directs

Gabrielle

Gabrielle
Gabrielle's style includes a blend of Egyptian and American influences, and her personality contributes a dynamic and spontaneous energy to every class, workshop, and performance.

Jen Mallow

Jen Mallow
Jen Mallow is one of a small group of handpicked teachers trained to teach Amy Sigil’s improv format HPITS (Hot Pot Improv Tribal Style), and she is honored and excited to bring it to Sahara Dance.

Jennifer

Jen
Jennifer has danced all her life, though she found her home with the soulful richness of belly dance (raqs sharqi). In addition to her raqs sharqi studies, she has trained extensively in classical ballet and jazz as well as intensive study of Sivinanda & Vinyasa yoga.

Julie

Julie
Julie has been an active belly dance performer since 2004. Before undertaking her journey into belly dance, she studied and performed Latin and ballroom dance, as well as Mexican folklore for several years.

Kandice

Kandice
Kandice brings her passion for belly dance to her students, promoting authenticity, intention, and home-based practice.

Karim Nagi

Karim Nagi
Adjunct Faculty
Karim Nagi is a native Egyptian who specializes in traditional Arabic music. Karim developed and currently performs Turbo Tabla : a music and dance show that combines traditional Arabic and Turkish music with modern Electronica and Techno.

Kelly

Kelly
Kelly considers dance an integral part of life, and haflas a necessity for everybody! In her classes, she shares her knowledge of belly dance technique, culture, and history, and draws upon her musical experience to show the many ways in which students can enjoy belly dance.

Laura

Laura Kelch
Laura finds joy in spontaneous, soulful, and playful expressiveness in belly dance. She seeks to share this joy and lightness with her students.

Leila

Yvette
Leila has been performing and teaching with Sahara Dance since its inception and has enjoyed the various roles she has had as part of the studio. She is dedicated to sharing the joy of belly dance with her students and helping them achieve their goals for performance, health, and having fun.

Lisa Johnson

Lisa
As a professional modern dancer, Lisa is fascinated by the integration of western and world dance, healing movement and functional anatomy.

Lisa Zahiya

Adjunct Faculty
Lisa is a alumni of the University of Maryland Dance Team and has a background in musical theater, jazz and hip hop.

Lotus Niraja

Lotus Niraja
Adjunct Faculty
Admired for her modern, yet passionately Arabic approach to belly dance, Lotus features classical and contemporary movement, haute couture costumes, and a love for a performance well done!

Melissa

Melissa
Melissa has studied belly dance for several years with Rachel Kay Brookmire and founding members of the Sahara Dance faculty. Sahara Dance’s community of rich and soulful women has drawn her further into this beautiful art form.

Michele

Michele
Michele looks forward to sharing her love of belly dance with her students and strives to make her classes both fun and instructive. Michele is inspired by the graceful, expressive styling of Raqs Sharqi as well as the experimental and ethnic fusion styling of American Tribal Style belly dance.

Monica

Monica
Born in Colombia, Monica's desire to study belly dance started out of curiosity and has evolved into an exploration of dance interpretation and femininity.

Na’la

Na'la
Na'la teaches an eclectic tribal-fusion style, with an emphasis on troupe interaction, Fat Chance Belly Dance tribal roots with UNMATA stylization, and dramatic theatrical elements. She also has created African Tribal Belly Dance, specializes in blending African, Tribal and theater with a fierce industrial edge.

Omoladun

Omoladun
Omoladun is dedicated to sharing with her students the contextual and historical knowledge surrounding the dance. She believes every person has the ability to become a "belly dancer extraordinaire" when embracing an art that gives such confidence and joy.

Rachel Brice

Rachel Brice
Adjunct Faculty
Rachel Brice is a contemporary innovator in Tribal Fusion Style Belly Dance based in San Francisco. She is the co-director (with Mardi Love) for The Indigo Belly Dance Company and a frequent performer with the Bellydance Superstars.

Rachel Kay Brookmire

Rachel Kay Brookmire
Rachel Kay Brookmire is the founder and director of Sahara Dance. She specializes in modern Egyptian raqs sharqi for stage. Rachel has performed extensively at theaters, embassies, weddings, and with live bands as a headliner in Arabic nightclubs. Her playful performance style is shimmy-rich and lyrical.

Ramona

Ramona
Ramona has been dancing since 2000, and is a perpetual student of the dance. She dances with Raqs Caravan East, and strives to get as many people hooked on belly dance as she can!

Randa

Randa
Randa encourages her students to celebrate the beauty and joy of belly dance, enjoy the richness of Middle Eastern music, and develop their personal expression.

Randy

Randy
Randy is a member of Sahara Dance's percussion ensemble, Sahara Tabla, which drums with dancers in performance companies and community events. He teaches Beginner Tabla at Sahara Dance.

Sahra Saeeda

Sahra Saeeda
Adjunct Faculty
Sahra has performed and taught Egyptian-style Orientale and Folkloric dance on five continents. Originally from the Los Angeles, California area, Sahra lived, danced, and researched in Egypt from 1989 to 1995. Since then, she has been teaching and performing Egyptian and Folkloric dance around the world.

Shahrzad

Shahrzad
Shahrzad is an award winning dancer who travels extensively to teach and perform for all kinds of cultural and dance events. Her goal is to help students and audiences discover and understand the beauty, culture, and art that make this dance so great.

Sonia

Sonia
Sonia has been dancing professionally and teaching the art and magic of samba for 17 years. Her patience, energy, devotion, and unique teaching techniques make her samba classes fun and easy to follow. Sonia infuses samba with her heart, mind, body and soul.