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.
Rachel directs Raqs Sahara , Sahara Dance’s professional performance ensemble, and Raqs Caravan East, a student company in residence at Sahara Dance. Seeking to elevate and develop belly dance as a theater performance art, Rachel produces and directs several annual theater productions highlighting both traditional and experimental belly dance.
Since 2000, Rachel has taught belly dance to thousands of students throughout the Washington DC area. In addition to her weekly classes, she has taught as a guest instructor with the Chautauqua Institution (NY), Mercersburg Academy (PA), The National Cathedral School (DC), Washington Area Independent School Dance Education Association (DC), The Women of Selket (VA), Hadouni Dancers (PA), and the Madeira School (VA). She is also the creator of Sahara Dance Foundations, an intensive program for training belly dance teachers.
Her teaching style emphasizes postural alignment, contextual awareness of Arabic music and culture and a celebration of femininity. Recognized for her detailed, structured teaching approach, Rachel’s classes focus on community, quality movement execution, musicality, joyfulness and individual expression through a range of stylizations.
Before launching a full time dance career, Rachel completed a two-year course of intensive training with Autumn Ward. Rachel continues training and has traveled several times to Egypt and throughout North America to learn from native and Egyptian style teachers. Prior to studying Middle Eastern dance, Rachel practiced yoga and trained in modern and West African dance. She received her B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Boston University.
“Rachel is a warm and nurturing instructor and she makes you feel like you can do anything.”
“Rachel’s classes are always inspiring and challenging.”
“Rachel makes you feel relaxed and comfortable regardless of your skill level.”
“Rachel is great at coming up with combos that challenge us and show us how the basics can be layered in a ton of ways to create new looks. I feel pushed outside of my comfort zone on most classes and that’s good!”
“I enjoy that Rachel pushes you to reach a higher level of dance.”