Migrations 2020 InstructorS
Ebony’s playful spirit flavors both her performances and her approach to teaching belly dance since 2003. A combination of strong technique, musicality, and innovation are the foundations of her colorful dance presence. Ebony teaches and performs both traditional raqs sharqi and her own dynamic fusion belly dance style, which is fueled by her background in both oriental and urban dance genres.
Ebony has taught and performed throughout multiple cities in Asia, Canada, Europe and the United States. She has toured internationally with the world famous Bellydance Superstars and Bellydance Evolution and has performed in and choreographed for Zoe Jake’s House of Tarot. She is most honored to be a guest instructor on Rachel Brice’s Datura Online, the leading website for belly dance instructional videos. Ebony has performed onstage with Grammy nominated band Thievery Corporation, with electronic musician and performance artist Peaches, and with Turkish/Electronic fusion recording artist Oojami. She is a member of the award winning troupe Raqs Sahara, has guest performed with Solstice Ensemble, has directed fusion troupes Raquettes ShimmyPop and Raqs Caravan Urban, and is a soloist at a variety of engagements including restaurants, private parties, weddings, festivals, music videos, concerts and numerous theater performances. Ebony is a featured soloist in the upcoming DVD “America’s History of Bellydancers of Color“.
Along with her love of dance, Ebony is in love with teaching. A founding instructor of Sahara Dance – Washington DC’s Center for Middle Eastern Dance, her students describe her as “approachable” and her classes as “fun” and “challenging”. She teaches weekly classes in both traditional and urban fusion formats and has choreographed for Raqs Sahara, Sahara Tribal, Raqs Caravan West and Raqs Caravan East. Newcomers to belly dance are Ebony’s favorite students, as they are a major source of inspiration to her. Ebony continues her own regular dance studies and has trained with world-renowned master instructors from traditional raqs sharqi and tribal fusion circuits.
AGNI DANCE COMPANY
Bollywood dance may seem like the latest craze, appearing to mainstream audiences after the release of Slumdog Millionaire in 2008. But this dance form has been evolving over the last century in the Hindi film industry based in Mumbai. Innovative choreographers have been combining classical and folk Indian styles with disco, jazz, and jive. At cultural events across North America, South Asians have borrowed the movement from the screen and combined them with styles they have learned in the diaspora: hip hop, salsa, and modern. Bollywood is an eclectic style with a distinctly global flair--Bollywood dance is for everyone!
Starting in 2007 as a small group of dancers, Agni dance ensemble now features 35+ dancers that have performed at major venues, various festivals, musicals, schools, corporations , studios and private events. The ensemble's repertoire ranges from folk styles such as garba and bhangra, classical techniques such as kathak and Bharatanatyam, to shoulder-shimmying feel-good medleys, and poetic interpretations of sufi music.
In 2008, Agni opened its dance academy, offering classes starting 4 years of age at multiple locations in Austin, Round Rock and Cedar Park areas. Agni is actively committed to building community in the greater Austin area. The company not only performs at city-sponsored events such as Diwali celebrations at Zilker Park, but also annually organizes Bollywood Day in central Austin. Most recently, Agni has introduced AgniFit, an opportunity for people of all ages and body types to get healthy while rocking out to Bollywood songs with trained and competent instructors. We continue to extend our reach into the community by offering performances, choreography, and workshops at schools, companies, and private events.
Bahaia’s life-long passion for dance began as a child enrolled in the Scottish Dance program St Thomas Episcopal School in Houston, Texas. She attended daily dance classes and was surrounded by Scottish culture and the music of bagpipes and drums. Years of disciplined training, strict choreographies, and dance competitions followed. The work was rewarding, but offered no room for personal expression or individuality.
At the age of 15, she found belly dance. As the youngest and only teenager at the Sirrom School of Belly Dance in Houston, Bahaia enjoyed the freedom, creativity, and improvisational nature of the dance. College life brought Bahaia to Austin, and in 1996, she hosted her first bellydance event featuring Rhea of Athens, Greece. From that first event, a business was born, and Bahaia went on to sponsor over 35 large-scale events with a national pull; most notably The Austin Belly Dance Convention and Cabaret Dance Camp.
Bahaia is the owner of Austin Bellydance where she teaches weekly classes and private lessons. She also offers workshops throughout the United States, and in Jamaica, and Canada. As a teacher, coach and contest judge, Bahaia offers a discerning eye for talent and artistry, over 20 years of experience in the field of belly dance, and true passion for seeing dancers achieve their personal best.
Bahaia’s style can be classified as Egyptian, with primary influences from Golden Era and Baladi. Over the years she has studied under many notable masters, the most impactful of those being Aida Nour of Cairo. With a love and respect for Arab music and dance, Bahaia became a favorite with Arab audiences throughout Texas. She was lucky to meet and work with many talented musicians, eventually producing her own music CD “Ya Bahaia” with Samer Issa.
Bahaia is a featured video artist of Cheeky Girls Productions, appearing in 3 solo instructional titles and six additional performance and instructional productions. She was a judge on the bellydance reality show, “Project Belly Dance” Season 2.
Elisha Sarrosa is the co-owner and artistic director for a Polynesian Dance and Fire group called Baila Pacifica Entertainment in Harker Heights TX. They have been providing Polynesian entertainment throughout all of Texas for 10 years and currently has 60 active dance members. She is also the co-owner of Tahitian Fitness Class. TFC’s workout is based on the basic dance moves from the island of Tahiti accompanied by Polynesian music and different genres of fast-paced dance music. Tahitian Fitness Class was created to provide her community with a fun, cardio-packed, Tahitian workout. Elisha found her passion for Polynesian dance 27 years ago and she has not stopped dancing yet. She has performed for and with a few different Polynesian dance groups and she has travelled all over Texas, and out of state to Kansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi for performances. Today, she continues to travel and perform year round to provide and share the knowledge of Polynesian dance.
In 2004, while in college, Laura (a.k.a. Crimson Vagabond) was first introduced to Belly dance classes at the campus gym. It became a habit in 2008 after taking an Urban Gypsy class from the very talented Silvia Salamanca. Since then Laura has poured her heart and soul into absorbing everything related
to the art of Belly dance with the understanding that "once a student always a student". Now she finds even more enjoyment by performing with her percussionist husband, Brent Hurter aka Jam Boss Mr.B, the Hands of Fatima at Sherwood Forest Faire and producing events such as The Crimson Vagabond Roadshow and Jam-A-Thon.
CYndi Cyreigna Elliott
Cyndi Cyreigna Elliott has been studying American Tribal Style® Bellydance, as created by Carolena Nericcio, director of FatChance Bellydance®, since 1995. She first saw American Tribal Style® (ATS®) performed at an open air market in California, and immediately fell in love. ATS® is an artistic expression of a woman's power, confidence, and femininity. For over 20 years, Cyndi has worked and studied to master this dance and bring it to others. Through her performances and classes, Cyndi strives to teach the full strength, friendship, and unity found in this dance. Cyndi Cyreigna Elliott became Kansas's Premier FatChance Bellydance® Sister Studio in 2011 and now, in 2016, has achieved her Advanced American Tribal Style® Teacher Certification and is now a Sister Studio Continuing Education Instructor. She only wishes to plant the seed that Carolena has given her and watch it grow.
Her dance company name, Irie Tribal, is derived from the Rastafarian saying, 'Irie,' which stands for 'I Respect I Eternally,' and is a word that conveys hope and happiness--exactly the emotion Cyndi endeavors to create through ATS®.
In 2004, DeAnna met Megha, Director of Devyani Dance Company, and fell in love with American Tribal Style® (ATS®) belly dance. She joined Devyani Dance Company’s professional troupe in the fall of 2004 and in 2007 she was in the very first group to receive Sister Studio and Teacher Certification outside of FatChance BellyDance®. For the past ten years, DeAnna has dedicated her dance career to receiving the highest level of training and establishing herself as a leading professional in the ATS® community.
DeAnna is one of less than 20 Tribal Pura International Sister Studio Continuing Education instructors in the world and was one of the instructors accepted into the inaugural ATS® Advanced Teacher Training Certification. She’s had the pleasure of teaching and performing throughout the United States as well as India. She has appeared in FatChanceBellyDance® Tribal Basics Volume 7, Volume 9, in multiple performance DVDs and as an instructor in Indian Temple Poses and Yoga for ATS®. Her love of dance, movement and anatomy eventually led to her immersing herself in yoga study and teacher training. She became a registered Yoga Alliance Teacher (200hr RYT) in December 2013 with a focus on Ashtanga and Vinyasa flow.
DeAnna’s continuous ATS® and yoga training creates a unique teaching style while remaining true to ATS® roots and tradition.
Although Elizabeth’s interest in the arts started at an early age, through drawing, painting, photography, and dance, she discovered Middle Eastern dance purely by chance. After attending a few SCA events - the drumming, the dance, the campfire, the acceptance of all, the freedom and joy of movement - she was hooked! Elizabeth has since trained with local teachers and visiting master performers and instructors, as well as traveling to train with many extraordinary instructors including Rachel Brice, Moria Chappell, Donna Mejia, Lacey Sanchez, and Megha Gavin. She continues to explore different styles and techniques, developing and evolving her own style along the way. Not only does she continue pursuing knowledge and instruction, she is dedicated to the safe practice of belly dance, and strives to always reinforce the goal of listening to, and taking care of yourself. Elizabeth emphasizes that belly dance is for EVERY BODY - no matter size or age or limitations. Known for her elegant lines, deep curves, and friendly approach, she is honored to be able to share her knowledge and experience with you!
Gitane began studies in Middle Eastern Dance in 1994. She is a passionate student of Romani dance and studies with a variety of instructors specializing in Flamenco, Turkish, N. African, and other Romani and Folkloric styles. She directs and performs with Indigo Rose Belly Dancing. Gitane's unique style has granted opportunities performing and teaching to dancers who share a passion for her "Rom-antic" style. She currently teaches at Crescent Moon Belly Dance Studio in Fort Worth, TX.
Hands of Fatima
The Hands of Fatima is a music and dance group from Sherwood Forest Faire and beyond. You will hear combined talents of musicians from across the state of Texas. Sharkbait, Jam Boss, and Charles make up a powerful percussion section and are accompanied by the musical talents of Paco and Jerry on melody. Each performer brings a wide variety of musical backgrounds and sweet jams!!!
JamBoss Mr B
Mr.B first discovered Middle Eastern drumming in 2010 at 3rd Coast Tribal, a festival featuring live music and belly dancing. He immediately began his search for a doumbek, practice DVD's and workshops with internationally renowned doumbek performers. He sets time aside almost every day to practice and improve his understanding of Middle Eastern music and percussion techniques.
You can also find Jam Boss, Mr.B performing in the Texas area including drum solos with his wife, The Crimson Vagabond, and the Hands of Fatima at theSherwood Forest Faire during the months of March & April.
Bio coming soon!
The dance is a most elegant and mesmerizing form of expression for this gypsy-at-heart. Jerikaye’s repertoire of dance styles tells stories of places near and far, ancient and modern. Lifelong training in contemporary western dance styles only enriches her understanding and appreciation of the richly meaningful and mysterious dance styles of the Orient.
Her stylistic span can be described as both “modern” and “tribal.” Her chief specialty is American Tribal Style® Belly Dance – a formalized modern fusion of dance styles from all along the Great Gypsy Trail including classical Indian dance, Spanish flamenco dance, North African tribal dance, and Middle Eastern belly dance which has a group-oriented improvisational structure. Known as the Fire Maiden, Jerikaye is one of the pioneers of fire dancing on the Gulf Coast, planting fire communities in the various cities she's lived and frequented, ever drawn to the hypnotizing flame in an effort to truly exude grace under fire. She specializes in fire poi – a form of object manipulation which originated with the Maori people of New Zealand, migrated to the Pacific islands, and then to the West Coast of the United States in the twentieth century. She specializes in fusing this form with modern tribal dance, also utilizing other fire and flow props in a variety of creative ways. She is a performing artist, teacher, creative director, and event coordinator.
Kamrah is Chicago’s first trans masculine belly dancer. They have been dancing since 2001, and have traveled all over the country to teach and perform in multiple styles of belly dance. Kamrah is known for their killer isolations, creativity, and theatrical pieces, and for being a soloist in Chicago’s premiere geeky belly dance and fire troupe, Raks Geek. Kamrah is dedicated to the safe and effective practice of belly dance, and passes their knowledge as a scientist, a martial artist, and massage therapist on to their students.
Lauren Checchio is an acclaimed world percussionist, bringing audiences to their feet with her passionate, graceful, and joyful performances. Lauren has studied under Grammy award winning percussionist Glen Velez and Zakir Hussian. Lauren often surprises audiences worldwide with her knowledge and virtuosity of Middle Eastern and Indian drumming.
LEIGH ANN MOYA
A former band director turned fusion belly dancer, Leigh Ann Moya has lived a life full of music, dance and performance. Her diverse training in contemporary dance, martial arts, aerial arts, and flexibility contributes to her unique and evolving dance style.
Liora is a Middle Eastern, Tribal Fusion, & American Tribal Style (R) instructor, performer, choreographer, and costumer based in Austin, Texas. She has toured with Bellydance Evolution and is a founding member of the Austin Tribal Collective and Migrations.
Trained early on in ballet and jazz, she has studied extensively Egyptian and Turkish bellydance, ATS (R), tribal fusion bellydance, and Hot Pot ITS. She has earned her ATS (R) Generals Skills (Classics & Modern) Certificate. Liora also regularly trains in a variety of world dance styles including Polynesian, Bollywood, and Bharatanatyam. She proudly counts Isabel Crunk, Diane Adams, Zi'ah Ali, April Rose, and the Natyalaya School as her greatest and most influential teachers.
Liora currently dances as a soloist, teaches bellydance classes, and directs Mayura Blue, a fusion bellydance company. She has taught bellydance and costuming workshops throughout the southern US including Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Louisiana. She was an inaugural member of Perennial Dance Company under the direction of April Rose out of Rose Movement Studio and is a veteran member of the Hands of Fatima at Sherwood Forest Faire.
Liora was a frequent tribal cast member with Bellydance Evolution in 2017, performing in “Fantasm – Odyssey of Dreams” in Atlanta, GA, on the US East Coast Tour, and the European Tour. Most recently, she had the honor of directing and choreographing the bellydance team for Agni Dance's 2018 revival of "Om Shanti: Once Upon a Time in Bollywood."
Mahogany Campbell is a fusion artist with a style all her own. Outside of formal dance training in ATS and American Cabaret, she grew up dancing traditional West African and Hip hop. It wasn’t until her introduction to tribal fusion that she realized she could incorporate the dance styles of her youth with the oriental dance she came to know and love.
Melissa Corpus is a dancer, teacher, and choreographer in Austin, Texas. Since 2010, she has been teaching "Samba no pé," focusing on footwork, technique, and the joy of the Brazilian spirit. Melissa has worked with Austin Samba, the largest samba school in the United States, as a choreographer, director and principal dancer. She has traveled to Brazil and throughout the United States to study Samba. She has taught at the International Samba Congress in Los Angeles and has paraded in Rio de Janeiro with the legendary G.R.E.S. Estação Primeira de Mangueira. In 2016 Melissa founded, MeliSamba, a professional performance entertainment company.
Sahira was practically born on stage, having studied music, drama, and dance since the age of two. The musicality instilled within her as a classically trained flautist and singer infuse her dance with a sophisticated quality that is admired by dancers around the globe. Her extensive training in Middle Eastern as well as Tribal, Modern, and West African dance gives her performances an intense and earth energy that has captivated audiences’ hearts and minds.
In 2005, Sahira released her first instructional DVD, "Arabian Spices," and has since then been invited to teach and perform across the USA as well as Mexico, Indonesia, Australia, Germany, Canada, and Taiwan. In 2006 Urban Gypsy had the honor of being the first tribal instructors ever invited to teach at the largest belly dance festival in the world: Ahlan We Sahlan, in Cairo, Egypt. In 2007 Sahira released two more instructional DVDs: "Ali" and "Bella Donna Ya Helwa." When in Houston, Sahira performs five nights a week with Bella Donna, voted Houston ’s Best Belly Dancers by the Houston Press. She is founder and director of Urban Gypsy as well as a founding member of Empyrean Fire Tribe. In addition to dance, she performs regularly on flute and vocals with the award-winning world fusion music group Moodafaruka, as well as early music ensemble Istanpitta.
Sarah is an Austin-area performer and designer. She is one half of the duo Sage and Steam, a long-time member of Mayura Blue, and a soloist known for her creative choreography and poi work. She is the co-founder and -designer of Resin d’Etre and a founding team member of the Austin Tribal Collective.
Silvia Salamanca, the artistic director of Shunyata, is an internationally acclaimed performer and instructor from Mallorca, Spain. A life-long dancer, she graduated at the age of nineteen as a major in ballet and performed professionally as a modern dancer in major Europe festivals with the contemporary dance company of the University of Barcelona.
She started her career as a belly dancer in 2001 when realizing the enormous benefits that this art form brings to women in both body and soul. In her own studio, she keeps observing how women can get closer to their self-identity and discover oneself at a new level, increasing self-esteem, and getting deeply in touch with the feminine essence in their soul through bellydance.
As a natural evolution in her journey, Silvia discovered tribal fusion in the USA and combined it with a deep research into her own cultural roots: Spanish gypsy and Arabic, hence with her work in the field of Zambra Mora (spanish gypsy-oriental dance fusion). Silvia gained international recognition and is currently invited to teach workshops and perform as a headliner in major festivals world-wide.