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
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
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.
Engaged and ebullient, dedicated and diligent, Alyssum Pohl teaches and performs nationwide. Lauded for her personal style of tribal belly dance, she integrates a comedienne's wit with improvisational storytelling, strong isolation technique, and authentic, soulful expression.
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 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 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 enjoys sharing her passion for dance and her love of sisterhood with everyone in the Sahara community.
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 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.
Donna Mejia is a professor of transnational fusion dance at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and affiliate faculty for Gender and Ethnic Studies. She is the 2011 recipient of the Fulbright Association's S.J.C. Honor for international dance scholarship. Donna balances her time teaching and touring throughout the U.S. and abroad.
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 has been with Sahara Dance since its founding in 2003. In addition to a choreographing and performing regularly with Raqs Sahara
, Elysa co-directs Raqs Caravan West
Eugenia is excited to spread the "gospel" of pure FCBD American Tribal Style to Sahara Dance. She also performs raqs sharqi and tribal fusion, and has a background in hip hop, flamenco, and Chinese dance.
Farrah came to dance after years of training as a competitive athlete. She immediately fell in love with belly dance and the supportive, empowering community she found at Sahara Dance. She enjoys the global connection that music and dance creates, and hopes to share her contagious joy of dance with her students.
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.
Gretchen has been belly dancing at Sahara since 2010, where she studies and performs multiple styles including Egyptian cabaret, folkloric, ATS, and tribal fusion. She appears on stage regularly as a soloist and with Raqs Caravan East and Sahara Tribal.
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 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
Kandice brings her passion for belly dance to her students, promoting authenticity, intention, and home-based practice.
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 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.
Inspired by the passionate drama and intricate story lines of classical Indian dance, Lasha Nazira draws from this ancient dance vocabulary to tell new stories.
Laura finds joy in spontaneous, soulful, and playful expressiveness in belly dance. She seeks to share this joy and lightness with her students.
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.
As a professional modern dancer, Lisa is fascinated by the integration of western and world dance, healing movement and functional anatomy.
Lisa is a alumni of the University of Maryland Dance Team and has a background in musical theater, jazz and hip hop.
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!
Lynne enjoys the beauty of raqs sharqi, the mystery of tribal belly dance, and the excitement of fusion.
Megan discovered her love for belly dance after many years studying various forms of dance. A member of Raqs Sahara, Megan brings her graceful stylization, smooth spins, and love of Middle Eastern music to every class.
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 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.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
Rooted in twenty years of diverse dance training, Rin Ajna has experimented with jazz, ballet, contemporary, hip hop, and several fusion dances. Rin has toured internationally as a soloist, and as a performer and contributing choreographer for Jillina's theatrical production, Bellydance Evolution.
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 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 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.