Dancer • percussionist • teacher

I am a believer in the philosophy I once saw expressed on a Snoopy poster (from the "Peanuts" cartoon series): "To live is to dance, to dance is to live." Indeed, the word "dance" comes from the Sanskrit tanha, meaning "joy of life."

I first became interested in The Dance in the early 1990s when I learned to play the doumbek, an hourglass-shaped Middle Eastern drum. I became so entranced with the rythms of Middle Eastern music that I decided to study the dancing that so often accompanied it.

I would like to thank two former dance instructors who had a major influence on my style and interpretation of The Dance: Sahra Kent, an internationally-acclaimed performer in the Egyptian/folkoric tradition, for her exquisite physical and personal grace; and Aziza Sa'id for her meticulously-taught classes and mesmerizing dance technique.

I especially enjoy teaching beginning bellydance classes and will occasionally teach a series of these beginner classes, a weekend workshop or private lessons whenever the opportunity presents. I favor fusion styles of dance and costuming, including ATS (American Tribal Style), Egyptian folkloric, Rom (gypsy), Flamenco and East Indian.

I feel that dancing not only connects us to each other and our communities, but it can be a way to communicate with the Divine as well. Anthropologists and historians attribute the origins of dance to religious rituals which were our first attempts to contact and influence aspects of the Divine. For this reason I joined The Sacred Dance Guild and helped to form a local chapter in my area. I am fascinated with trance dancing such as the Sufis and Mongolian shamans perform, and also with the zarik, a Middle Eastern women's dance rite.

There is no civilization on Earth that does not dance. From New York City nightclubs to the jungles of the Amazon, dancing is part of how we express ourselves as human beings; it is truly a universal language.

We are gods in the body of god, truth and love our destinies. Go then
and make of the world something beautiful, set up a light in the darkness.

~From "Hymn to Hathor," Awakening Osiris, by Normandi Ellis