Instructors 2019

Click on each instructor thumbnail (or scroll down) to view bios & workshop descriptions.

FEATURING

Mardi Love * Urban Gypsy * Sahira * Silvia Salamanca * Agni Dance * April Rain * April Rose * Baila Pacifica

Cyndi Cyreigna Elliott * Jasmine Amazing * Jeanette Cunningham * Jerikaye * Lauren Checchio * Lily Shepard * Sonya Taft

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Mardi Love

Mardi Love has been hangin' around for some years now, traveling vast distances to bestow her knowledge of the Art and Craft of Tribal Fusion belly dance upon some of the world's finest characters. In a handful of non-accredited institutions, makeshift studios, private clubs and Russian banquet halls, Mardi honed her craft and formed affiliations with Urban Tribal Dance Company, Belly Dance Superstars, The Indigo, and Lady Goodnight & The VooDoo Lilies. Mardi, a Scorpio, presently hails from Louisville, due to a timely collision of impulsivity and economic depression (national). The Who's Who of elbows she has rubbed in her illustrious career reads like a David Allan Coe song: Heather Stants, Rachel Brice, Zoe Jakes, Sharon Kihara, Lauren Jeanette, Lauren Robbiani, Violet Scrap, Kit Stymee Stovepipe, Lucas Hicks, Mat Jacob, Lamia Barbara, Fiorella Des Ganaches, Windy City Alex, Yasmina, Jillina, Mattie Waters, and Jules Downum.....to name a few. Look for her in the bar. www.mardilove.com

Workshops

Friday, 12:00-2:00 pm - Tek Attack!!! Class of Dum

Ha! Couldn't help it! Oh where have the days of blue fingertips and bleeding eardrums gone? Mardi presents a pocketful of percussive sentences and movement to go with em.

Friday, 3:00-5:00 pm - Slowly...New Sentences

Presenting a grouping of furling, rolling, sultry movements for the slow dances. Why, it’s Mardi’s favorite thing to do. Long and    drawn, undulating and curving, movements will be drilled and executed in beautiful progression.

Saturday, 9:30 am - 1:30 pm - Mini Intensive Combos & Choreography

  • Shiny New Combos (Heavy on Hand Stylization): Here is a combinations class focusing on stylization and nuance in the extremities. If dance is conversing through the body, the hands certainly provide punctuation.
  • Mardi's Choice Choreography: Just like it sounds, we're learning a new piece. Hooray! Movement will be presented in sentences, thoroughly broken down and drilled, while careful attention will be given to the hows and whys and the smaller details in the dance. Side note: When I teach a choreography class, it is my intention not to simply feed you a dance that you take home and repeat on your stage (though that’s certainly one option), but that you 1) may pick up a few movements/sentences of movements/transitions that resonate with you and 2) that you may gain some insight as to how I like to build a dance; that is how I see the music and illustrate it in movement.

 

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Urban Gypsy

Featuring Sahira & Silvia Salamanca

Urban Gypsy is Houston's premiere Tribal Style dance troupe with a combined 50+ years of experience in dance! Urban Gypsy has been bringing the beauty and grace of tribal dance to Texas for seven years, and since their debut in 2003 have been sought after to teach workshops not only around the US, but in Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Egypt. Urban Gypsy teaches weekly classes in Houston, Texas, as well as regular workshops around the country. www.urbangypsy.cc

Workshop

Saturday, 9:30-11:30 am - Ghawazee Influenced Improvisational Tribal Style (ITS) Vocabulary

Take the dance back to its roots! Inspired by the folk dances of Upper Egypt, Urban Gypsy brings you a "brand new" (but really old!) vocabulary of sassy and earthy movement combinations from their time spent with the Ghawazee and folk dancers in Cairo in 2006. Hearken back to the days of dancing in the desert with Urban Gypsy. Don't forget your zills!

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Sahira

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 she had the honor of being the first tribal instructor 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.” In 2011 she teamed up with Silvia Salamanca to release the DVD “Spanish Gypsy Passion.“  Her latest DVD “Urban Gypsy Folkloric Combinations” was released in the Summer of 2013.

When in Houston, Sahira performs four nights a week with Bella Donna, voted Houston ’s Best Belly Dancers by the Houston Press. She is founder and director of Houston’s premiere Tribal Style troupe, Urban Gypsy. www.sahira.cc

Workshops

Saturday 2:30-4:30 pm - Sassy Saidi Technique & Choreography

The Saidi Folklore dance from Upper Egypt is known for its earthy and powerful nature. In performance it can range the gamut from masculine and intimidating to feminine and flirty. Come and explore the many faces of this folklore favorite with a new choreography that will get your canes swinging and your heart pumping!  Bring a cane if you have one. Extras will be available in class.

 

Sunday 10:30 am - 12:30 pm - The Rhythm is Gonna Get Ya (Drum & Dance) with Lauren Checchio

Both drummers and dancers will experience rhythm and movement in this two-hour workshop with Lauren Checchio and Sahira. Together the class will learn to count, recognize, and move to feel the flow of several common belly dance rhythms including Malfuf, Saidi, Maqsum, Karsilimah and more. Dancers and drummers will learn to play the rhythm (bring something you can make noise with!) and then Sahira will teach the dancers (and drummers if they’d like) movement combinations that perfectly accentuate each. The class will end with a big live music and dance throwdown! Drummers, bring a drum or two. Dancers, bring your zills or other percussion instrument!

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Silvia Salamanca

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. www.silviasalamanca.com

Workshop

Saturday, 2:30-4:30 pm - The Fire of the Spanish Gypsies: A Spanish Skirt Routine (a modern twist for an ancient art)

Have you ever wondered how the gitanas (Spanish gypsies) get to leave everyone speechless when they dance with their skirts? Now you have the chance to find out! In this workshop we will break down the skirt work that, united with the arm movements, posture, and expression, will build up a brand new routine designed to catch the room on fire! Bring a skirt and your best ole!!

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Agni Dance

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 at 4 years of age at multiple locations in Austin, Round Rock and Cedar Park areas. 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.

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. The company has also collaborated with other local artists and dance companies to produce full-length shows such including Om Shanti (a Bollywood style musical) and Strings of Time (a musical interpretation of scientific theories). www.agnidance.com

Workshops

Friday, 3:00-5:00 pm - Bollywood Folk

Bolly Raas: Does the high energy music from Indian films inspire you? Then this class is perfect for you! This beginner Bollywood and folk class combines traditional Indian folk from Gujarat which has gained popularity for its invigorating music (the dhol drum).This class is suitable for all levels and since no dance experience is required you will learn technique and choreography that incorporate rhythmic, full-body movement. With music that will keep you energized, engaged and excited, this high-energy, non-stop cardio and strength-building dance class is designed to help you get toned and build endurance. Come learn from the best Bollywood instructors in Austin! You'll be glad you did!

Saturday, 12:00-2:00 pm - Bollywood Masala

Inspired by the high energy music from Indian films, our mixed-level Bollywood class will energize you with the fun movements. Dramatic facial expressions and cinematic pizzazz means any viewer, dance aficionado or not, can follow the story. This class is a combination of a great workout and creative dance movement. With upbeat music to get you in the mood, you'll be smiling as you're dancing and exercising. Taught by a welcoming instructor who encourages beginners and those with past dance experience to participate, you'll feel right at home in no time. Whether or not you're familiar with Bollywood dance, you'll learn so much about it, get that cardio workout you need, and have fun at the same time! The class will include a Bollywood warm-up and yoga postures. Did we mention it's really fun?! :)

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April Rain

April Rain Chinese Dance has been serving Austin for over 10 years. We teach a variety of Chinese dances: Chinese classical, Chinese ballet and contemporary, and most Chinese folk dances. Our mission is to provide a high quality and fun learning environment for kids and adults in our communities, to create proud, confident dancers and leaders, and to pass the Chinese tradition on to future generations.

Xiwei (Sherry) Chen is the founder and director of April Rain. She holds a Master of Education from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Arts from Sichuan University. She started at a very young age taking dance classes in Chongqing Youth Palace and continued to train with Chongqing Opera & Dance Theater. The level of instruction from training and years of stage experience molded her into a well-loved performer, choreographer, and teacher. In addition to dancing, she helped establish the Great Wall Chinese School and taught there for 10 years. She has also directed the Chinese Dance/Language After School Classes at Doss and Zilker Elementary Schools and The Magellan International School for several years. www.aprilrainchinesedance.com

Workshop

Friday 12:00-2:00 pm - Chinese Dance

This workshop is a unique opportunity to explore Chinese culture through dance. It will help you build fundamental Chinese dance skills including movement development, emotions, and picking up on choreography quickly. Technique will focus on the basics such as hand and finger positions, foot work, and the rhymes of body moves. Skills will cover the use of dance props (fans, ribbons, or handkerchiefs). The regional choreography will be Uighur dance which is beautiful and lots of fun!

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April Rose

April Rose is a bellydance teacher & performer living in Austin, TX. Her life's work is to share movement and research that highlights the timeless beauty and modern versatility of bellydance.

She is grateful to have been invited to teach dance in over 20 countries. She has earned a Masters degree in Dance Studies from UCLA, where she investigated bellydance history and was trained in choreographic method, as well as a variety of dance disciplines.

Since her studies in bellydance began at age 11 with Daleela Morad in Sacramento, she has enjoyed touring with many classic and fusion artists, including Bellydance Superstars and UNMATA. Amy Sigil is a great mentor to her and she is honored to boast that she was the first certified teacher of her Improvisational Tribal Style format.

April Rose likes to take a thoughtful, rigorous, and playful approach to teaching. If that sounds like fun to you, please come study with her! She teaches weekly classes and intensives at her dance studio in Austin Texas, Rose Movement Studio. She tours different parts of the globe each year, and you can study with her anytime at Datura Online.

But WAIT! She also wants to share her knowledge of bellydance technique, history, and percussion with you in my brand new dancer development and teacher training program: Bellydance Cohesion. www.aprilrose.dance * www.bellydancecohesion.com

Workshop

Friday 3:00-5:00 pm: Shimmy Soiree

Be our guest! We’re obsessed! Put your shimmy to the test.
Tie your scarf 'round your hips, habibti, and we'll provide the quest.

Three quarter, it’s quite a stir. Why, you know we live to curve.
Release the tension. It’s delicious.
Don't believe me? Try some swishes.
You can shake, you can dance. Ya salaam, take a chance.

(And the playlists here are never second best.)
Go on, you’re no ingenue. Get entranced and then you'll...
Be your best. Decompressed, joy expressed!

You are cordially invited to party hearty with various shimmy techniques to find your most masterful vibration.

 

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Baila Pacifica

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 of 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.

www.facebook.com/bailapacifica/

Workshop

Saturday 9:30-11:30 AM: Polynesian Dance

In this 2-hour class Elisha will be teaching you the basic dance moves from the Islands of Tahiti and Hawaii. You will learn 2 full routines; one beautiful and fun hula from the island of Hawaii, and one fast-paced and exciting Tahitian dance. Music links for the dances you learn will be provided.

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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®. www.irietribal.com

Workshops

Saturday 12:00-2:00 pm - ATS® Dynamic Duo

The joy in your hearts should reflect in your dance! Dancing with your partner should be not only about putting on a great show for an audience, but also about having fun and enjoying the company of the one you are dancing with! This class will teach you how to not only execute ATS® moves with style and grace, but how to truly dance with your partner, so the duet is not only fun for the both of you, but also something that draws your audience in and tells a story. Interacting with your fellow dancers is an art and a skill, one that can be improved and polished!

Sunday 10:30 am - 12:30 pm - Where do I go now? ATS® Smooth Transitions

In this workshop, we will cover when and how to transition from move to move. Bringing the full movements into play, executing full extensions and flourishes to make your performance graceful and fluid! This goes for your fast movements as well as your slow! Knowing where one move ends and the next begins is a very small part of the story. Knowing your dance space and body contours to know how far to draw a move out can add a visual effect that will bring your drilling and performance to a whole new artistic level! We will put together movements that flow beautifully together without a thought as well as some of the moves that you would never think go together! Come with an open mind and open heart and be ready to figure out, where we go from here with our transitions! The possibilities and combinations are endless!

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Jasmine Amazing

Our make-up and henna artist...bio coming soon!

Makeup.Henna.BodyPaint.Costumes

Jasmine.Amazing@hotmail.com

www.facebook.com/Gothess.Jasmine

Workshops

Saturday 2:30-4:30 PM: Amazing Glam Course for Performers!

In this class, we will go over full glam basics: complete eyes including shadows, brows, lashes & liner and how to highlight and contour! The ticket comes with a full 2-hour crash course, a new mirror, a set of lashes, and a color match with an affordable but quality foundation. I also offer packages where I provide more tools and products with the class, for additional cost.

Please email Jasmine or prices and products if you are interested in any of the beauty packages!

  • Package 1: lashes, glue, two lip colors, lip liner, eyeliner, mascara
  • Package 2: liquid foundation, powder foundation or setting powder, concealer, setting spray
  • Package 3: all the above!
  • Glitter and specialty lashes and makeups can be added for an additional fee.

 

Sunday 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM: Amazing Henna for Beginners!

Learn all about henna, its history, and how to do henna art on our your own! This 2-hour course will be on beginner and traditional henna designs. Everyone will have opportunity to create their own henna art, tattoo themselves, and maybe even other participants! All supplies are included!

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Jeanette Cunningham

A captivating dancer of sensual strength and dramatic passion, Jeanette's performance is a melding of American styling with classical Egyptian. Her fiery grace and fluidity of movement is demonstrated in her liguid veil and flamboyant sword numbers. Her sense of humor and play are demonstrated in her “Beledi Stick” and “authentic snake” dances as well as her audience interaction.

Jeanette's greatest influences in dance are those that she most studied with such as Amaya, Bert Baladine, Elena Lentini, and Mahmood Reda. Her first solo performance with on the Mirage Belly Dance Troupe stage at the University of Texas Student Union with veil in hand as she says she needed something to hold to she was so nervous. She has performed fin exotic places such as Ixtapa, Mexico and Dimebox, Texas!

She produced the Shimmy Into Spring and Shimmy Into September Workshops from late 1980s to 2001. She also produces the monthly Carousel Caravan and RaqStars shows.  She teaches classes in her home studio Full Moon Studio and for the University of Texas Informal Classes. Jeanette is also an instructor with Aging Is Cool, a company that is dedicated “to changing the face of aging in our community and our world by showing everyone how cool it can be!”  This matches her philosophy of “Dance Hard. Live Easy!” www.facebook.com/Jeanette

Workshop

Friday 12:00-2:00 PM - Veil

Jeanette will be teaching a veil class which is her dance signature. She says, “For me the veil is more than a prop.  It is a living breathing emotional dance partner, an extension of my presence on stage.” This class will include tips on controlling your veil, veil tricks, and combinations of veil movements that work for both slow and fast music. “Go with the flow” is more than an expression, it is a way of dance.

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Jerikaye

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. www.internationaldanceus.com/jerikaye

Workshops

Friday 12:00-2:00 pm - Swordwork for ATS (R) and Beyond

"Never give a sword to a man who can't dance." - Confucius. Whether you are interested in beginning or perfecting your sword technique, this class is for you. No matter what style of bellydance you practice, there is a rich foundation of swordwork crystallized in the American Tribal Style (R) tradition that any style of dancer can draw upon. Ideal for groups, improvisation, or highly-refined solos, there is something for everyone. After a warm-up specifically designed for gaining the strength and flexibility necessary to handle a sword properly, we will begin with a detailed examination of the basic positions and mechanics of sword handling, carriage, and weilding. Every detail, such as the angle of the blade, the gaze of the eyes, the upper body carriage, and more, will be illuminated as we discover the most strikingly beautiful and powerful ways to handle a sword. Covering everything from handling to balancing, we will see how this refined swordwork is seamlessly layered with classic bellydance movements. Drawn from several sister traditions within ATS (R), this cannon of swordwork is technically refined yet flexible, often offering several different swordwork variations for any given momma move, without breaking technique. We will gain a knowledge of not only the basic movement mechanics, but also the transitions and embellishments that make ATS (R) swordwork so magically seamless and beautifully intimidating. Requirements: bring a sword! For ATS (R) dancers, the recommended type of sword is a hawksbill scimitar, but any sword will work. I will have only a few extra swords so please bring one. Contact Jerikaye with any questions at firemaidens@gmail.com.

Saturday 2:30-4:30 pm - Tambourines for American Tribal Style (R) Belly Dance and Beyond

The tambourine...it's not just a prop, it's a percussion instrument...(and that's why we love it so much!) Cultures from all over the world utilize tambourine or similar instruments in their song and dance. At once a drum and zills, what we call the tambourine is one of the most ancient percussion instruments used by dancers. Over the years, Jerikaye has adapted basic tambourine-playing techniques to fit the American Tribal Style (R) belly dance "fast" or rhythmical format. This tambourine format can easily be generalized to other styles of belly dance or dance. Come learn to enjoy playing this classic instrument in a new and fun way! Your hips can't have all the fun; let's teach your hand how to shimmy too! Any tambourine with a drumhead and zills (i.e., "jingles" or "cymbals") will work. Get yourself a tambourine and come play!

 

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Lauren Checchio

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. www.facebook.com/lauren.checchio

Workshops

Saturday 12:00-2:00 pm - Drumming for Bellydance

Learn four of the basic rhythms to take your drumming to the next level. In this class we will focus on technique and the different styles of playing the doumbek and how to play these rhythms in the open, semi-closed, and closed format  We will also touch on the drum solo and how to best play a solo for a bellydancer.

Sunday 10:30 am - 12:30 pm - The Rhythm is Gonna Get Ya (Drum & Dance) with Sahira

Both drummers and dancers will experience rhythm and movement in this two-hour workshop with Lauren Checchio and Sahira. Together the class will learn to count, recognize, and move to feel the flow of several common belly dance rhythms including Malfuf, Saidi, Maqsum, Karsilimah and more. Dancers and drummers will learn to play the rhythm (bring something you can make noise with!) and then Sahira will teach the dancers (and drummers if they’d like) movement combinations that perfectly accentuate each. The class will end with a big live music and dance throwdown! Drummers, bring a drum or two. Dancers, bring your zills or other percussion instrument!

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Lily Shepard

Lily Shepard is an energetic dancer/choreographer  with over 20 years of experience. She holds a bachelor’s degree in dance from S.U.N.Y Brockport and has trained at Edna Manley School for Performing Arts in Jamaica, University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and Broadway Danve Center in New York City. She spent 11 years in Las Vegas where she danced alongside Beyoncé at the Billboard Awards, was a cast member of the Legends Alive and Dream King shows and was lead dancer/assistant choreographer for the Bang Bang Bombshells Burlesque troupe.  She also worked for Las Vegas' favorite charity Opportunity Village as a dance mentor for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Lily is happy to now call Austin home and has created Body Bloom ATX which offers dance and fitness classes, nutritional guidance, and support for a mindful lifestyle. https://www.bodybloomatx.com/

Workshop

Saturday 9:30-11:30 am: Contemporary Hip-hop Fusion

A blend of contemporary/modern dance styles with the energy, feel, and sound of hip-hop music and sprinkled with movement from the African Diaspora. This class will explore hip-hop from a different vantage point, with a focus on shapes, lines, and modern dance fundamentals while incorporating the nuanced swag of hip-hop dance culture and elements of improvisation.

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Sonya Taft

Sonya has been dancing all her life, but found belly dance in 1997, starting with Austin's own Z-Helene, who became her main influence.  Attending workshops with other notable national instructors widened her range of styles which she draws upon to create her own unique dance.  Finger cymbals are her forte, and her drumming as well as background in tap dance helped expand the possibilities from basic playing to intricate patterns, working up to a capella zill solos where she is her own music. She combines her love of dance and craft beer by producing a monthly show featuring Triangle-area belly dancers in a local taproom and bottle shop in her new hometown, Durham, NC.  Her love of all things fantasy and sci-fi is fulfilled in performing with the League of Extraordinary Belly Dancers, bringing geek-themed belly dance to conventions and local venues, culminating in their yearly show Geektastic! www.facebook.com/sonya.taft

Workshop

Friday 3:00-5:00 pm - Zill Drills & Then Some

"Zill Driils and Then Some!" will set you on the path to confident, creative finger cymbals with your dance.  We'll learn drills to give you maneuverability and speed, go over common patterns and rhythms, and then combine these with some movement, including some Tribal Fusion combos.  This workshop is for all levels; some of the combos will be a challenge to help inspire you to your own new heights.