I started dancing…
because I was hoping it would bring me out of my shell. I was definitely an introvert in high school and a little off-beat… okay, I was a huge nerd. My associations with dancing included memories of embarrassing school functions and ruining peoples’ weddings single-handedly on the dance floor. Like a lot of American teenagers I had some body issues, and I was hoping belly dance could teach me to like more about myself. The women in the videos I had seen were so different- all colors, shapes, and sizes- but they had in common a sense of confidence and femininity that I greatly desired.
I didn’t tell anyone I was taking classes, of course, because I knew I wasn’t going to be good at it. I think this is what let me just relax and have fun. A year later I had a chance to perform in a student choreography at my teacher’s hafla. I invited my parents and a few close friends. It was my “belly dance coming out” party and I was so excited! I knew that I had found something special.
So this hobby became a passion…
and I continued studying in my hometown of Rockville, Maryland with Amara and El Naar Haninah. I joined their student troupe and we eventually turned ourselves into the professional company Sahara’s Treasure. I danced in restaurants, theaters, and festivals, and organized charity fundraisers and haflas. I also studied with master instructors Yasmin, Azhia, Nadirah Nasreen, and Veda Sereem.
I became passionate about teaching. It was a chance to connect with women from all different walks of life and to share life experience. I loved being able to surprise students, many who had come into the classroom with no hope of learning how to dance, with their own successes.
Health and fitness are important to me, so in 2008 I earned certification in Group Fitness from the American Council on Exercise. I’m also certified in Beginner Belly Dance Instruction in the Veda Sereem Technique. I’ve competed nationally and earned third place in the NorthEast Bellydance competition in Pennsylvania (2009), and first in the Personal Best competition of Ohio (2010).
In 2011 I moved to Keene, New Hampshire to work on my master’s in Conservation Biology (my other love) at Antioch University. I enjoyed the fresh air, mountain views, small town charm… and of course teaching belly dance to an amazing community of women. Their enthusiasm and dedication to the art was an inspiration I won’t soon forget! But after completing my degree in May of 2014, I knew it was time to return home.
I live in Frederick, Maryland and am available to perform and teach at venues throughout D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. I love sharing my passion for the art with new people. Let’s make a connection!