Rachel Kay Brookmire is the founder and director of Sahara Dance and a professional Oriental dance artist. A sought-after performer in the Washington DC region, Rachel specializes in modern Egyptian raqs sharqi. Her playful performance style is shimmy-rich and lyrical. Rachel has performed at theaters, embassies, weddings, private functions and festivals throughout the DC metro area, as well as regularly in Arabic nightclubs.
Rachel also directs Raqs Sahara, Sahara Dance’s professional performance ensemble, and Raqs Caravan East and West, two student performance companies in residence at Sahara Dance. Seeking to elevate and develop Oriental dance as a theater performance art, Rachel and Raqs Sahara create several annual theater productions highlighting both traditional and experimental belly dance.
Rachel has taught belly dance to hundreds of students. 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).
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 precise and intentional movement execution, musicality 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 diligent training and has traveled 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.
“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.”