2017 Instructors

*Rachel Brice * Serena Spears * Baksana * Khadijah * Claudia * DeAnna Freeman * Razia Star * Ashley Lopez * Mardi Love * Ruby Beh * Nazaneen * Sabine * Darshan * Roving Horse Henna * Sarah Ebert

Portland, OR * Website * Datura Online * Video

Master instructor Rachel Brice first fell in love with Belly Dance at 16 years old, when she saw The Gypsy Moor Dancers (who later became Hahbi'Ru) at a Renaissance Faire, and started classes with Atesh immediately. A decade later she discovered Carolena Nericcio's American Tribal Style, which shifted her aesthetic from nightclub to nomad, and Jill Parker became her technique inspiration. She then studied several world and contemporary dance forms as she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Dance Ethnology. The fresh immersion in these dance forms and exposure to San Francisco culture began to mix with her 10 years as a restaurant dancer, and she (unwittingly) started to blend these influences and create something new.

In 2001 she was accidentally discovered by rock mogul Miles Copeland, and toured for several years with his company, The Bellydance Superstars. Through The BDSS, Rachel had the opportunity to work with the incredible Mardi Love, who quickly became her hero and muse. Mardi had also started with Cabaret before discovering Tribal, and as they made dances and costumes together for BDSS, a new style, influenced by the late 1800s to 1920s, emerged.

Read Rachel's extended bio

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Brooklyn, NY * Website * Video

Serena Spears is an internationally renowned and award-winning fusion dance performer, teacher, and choreographer from Brooklyn, NY. As a solo artist and choreographer, she integrates decades of training in hip-hop, modern, African, ballet, and Latin dance forms with bellydance. Known for her boundless energy, athleticism, precise technique, and commanding stage presence, Serena focuses on creating exciting, seamless fusion that fascinates audiences around the world. In addition to her solo work, she has performed across the country as a principal dancer of Solstice Tribe, directed by Sera Solstice, as a satellite member of Sepiatonic, based out of Portland, OR, and in recent collaborative projects with fusion dancers and choreographers including Ebony Qualls, Sharon Kihara, Rin Ajna, and Sekou McMiller.

As a teacher, she brings her students extensive dance and music theory knowledge, clear explanations of steps and techniques, and a warm, encouraging personality. Serena has taught workshops across the US and in China at festivals such as Art of the Belly, Bridge the Gap in Portland, the Maryland Bellydance Convention, and the Oriental Dance Super Stars and she remains a beloved substitute teacher for Sera at Solstice Studio in New York City.

In addition to her six years of deep training and collaboration with Sera Solstice, Serena has studied intensively under the leading ladies of fusion bellydance including Suhaila Salimpour, Rachel Brice, Zoe Jakes, Donna Mejia, Mira Betz, Sharon Kihara, and Jill Parker. Serena completed Rachel Brice's 8 Elements: Initiation in 2013 and attained her Suhaila and Jamila Level 1 Certifications in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Serena continues to expand her movement studies outside of bellydance with regular classes and intensives in ballet, Afro-Latin, modern, hip-hop, salsa, tango, poi, and aerial arts.

Denver, CO * Website * Video

Khadijah is an artist of Middle-Eastern dance based out of Denver,Colorado. Khadijah is known for her upbeat and energetic style of various genres of Arabic modern and folk style dances. Khadijah has been featured in Bellydance magazine, Hafla TV, Univision spanish TV and other world wide Middle-Eastern publications. When Khadijah is not traveling she is teaching and performing across the world, she performs in many 5 star establishments all over Colorado. Khadijah comes from a musical family. Because of her culture and Gulf upbringing, this has led Khadijah to promote and teach the world about the Gulf region and beyond. When Khadijah isn’t traveling and shaking around, she has a successful career in Veterinary Medicine and busy saving the lives of pets one by one! Some of her many hobbies include Mixed  martial arts, raising chickens, gun collecting/shooting  , organic gardening, motorcycle racing, horses, reading, cooking, running and heavily involved with Muslim community on interfaith sessions.


Louisville, KY * Website * Datura Online * Video

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.

...Did you know?

Favorite colour or non-colour: Black

Favorite move: Invert Figure Eight

Least Favorite Move: Shimmies While Not Standing

Favorite evening drink: Reposado with Meyer lemon and mezcal float

Bit by how many wild animals outside, to draw blood, to date: Two


Eugene, OR * Website * Video

Razia Star believes in the power of sequins and glitter, in dance as an act of elegant rebellion, and that belly dance in particular is the one of the most beautiful expressions of life in all its undulations.

As a belly dancer with nearly 20 years of experience, Razia has taught and entertained throughout the Pacific Northwest as well as in England, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Canada. She considers herself “a modern dancer with an old soul’’ and specializes in classic belly dance with a focus on Egyptian stylization. She is a regular performer in Eugene and Portland (Oregon) and a proud mentor to several up-and-coming dancers in her community. Razia is known for her warmth and enthusiasm both onstage and in the classroom, and has been a featured artist at countless dance festivals, seminars, cultural events, weddings, and family celebrations.

When she’s not dancing (or as she likes to call it, facilitating magic) you can find Razia with her nose in a cookbook, killing it at the gym, or smiling politely as someone exclaims for the millionth time, "Wow, your hair sure is RED!”


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Portland, OR * Website * Video

Paul Evans is a professional musician of over 25 years specializing in woodwinds, piano and percussion, focusing on improvisation and playing music for/with dancers. Danielle Elizabeth has been performing dance since age 7 and teaching and touring world-wide professionally for nearly a decade. She has a love of folkloric belly dance, contemporary improvisation, and precise yet expansive musicality. Together they started Baksana in the summer of 2013.

Baksana is a live music and folk-fusion dance ensemble, focusing on improvisation and the connection between musician and dancer. Inspired by belly dance groups such as Bal Anat, Rachel Brice's Datura Projects, and FCBD© as well as Second-Line jazz bands of New Orleans, Baksana was founded to bring music and dance to the streets (and also stages) in their signature celebratory style!


Portland, OR * Website * Video

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.


Portland, OR * Website * Video

Claudia has been a belly dancer in the Portland area for nearly 20 years. Her unique and passionate style has led her to perform and teach in places such as Turkey, Lebanon, and Japan. Wherever in the world Claudia finds herself dancing, audiences agree that her dance is highly expressive and powerful.

In addition to her achievements as a performer, instructor, and choreographer, Claudia hopes to expand her contribution to dancers and non-dancers alike, inspiring understanding and appreciation of this sacred art.


Portland, OR * Website * Video

Darshan has traveled nationally and internationally to perform and teach bellydance, fusion dance, yoga, and injury prevention. Starting her bellydance practice in 1991, she danced for 9 years with Gypsy Caravan before moving to NYC for 10 years to delve more deeply into the craft, dancing in the Dalia Carella Dance Collective off Broadway, continuing her training in many world and modern dances and healing modalities, co-founding dance activism network PURE, and choreographing for her company Petrichor

Darshan, aka Dr Cammi Vance, DC (Chiropractor as of March 2017) is also a massage therapist, certified corrective exercise trainer, BS in human biology, and yoga instructor. As a health professional and movement coach, she relishes the opportunity to help dancers improve their practice longevity. She loves to teach dance and share her gratitude for what the body can do, to move energy, deepen presence, and stir joy.

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Portland, OR * Website * Datura Online * Video

Based out of Portland Oregon, Ashley López is an internationally touring artist and instructor.  She holds a bachelor of music in vocal performance/opera, is an 8 Elements™ Datura Style teacher, a Registered Yoga Teacher, a certified Pilates, cycling and fitness instructor and has performed in over 20 countries worldwide.

Portland, OR * Website * Video

TRAINING AND BACKGROUND: Nazaneen is an award winning dancer and life-long learner of Middle Eastern dance best known for her authenticity of feeling, musicality and dynamic stage presence. Born to a Persian mother, she began her dance training in Persian classical and folkloric dance, but like most Persians, also had a great appreciation for raqs sharqi and grew up practicing this dance in a social setting. Having been exposed to this dance at an early age, she then sought out professional training in raqs sharqi in her teens, which has come primarily from Egyptians and Egyptian-styled teachers, including Mahmoud Reda himself. 

DANCE PHILOSOPHY: To her, this dance is first and foremost a medium of personal expression, and in the Egyptian cabaret sense, this expression is feminine, sensual and often infused with a healthy sense of humor. The word authenticity is thrown around a lot in reference to being true to the roots of middle eastern dance, and a deep understanding of culture, music and history are undoubtedly vital to this art. However, authenticity is more than that. It's a foundation of technique and skill that gives to the confidence to be honest and vulnerable on stage and the courage to show your audience who you are. It's a connection with the culture, the music and your audience that lets you tell stories of love, joy, passion, and pain while being unapologetically feminine.


Portland, OR * Website * Video

Sabine has been studying, loving, and living the art of Middle Eastern Dance since 1988, when she took her first class in Lebanese Cabaret style belly dance with Bianca. Since then she’s followed her dance muses to pursue extensive studies in ATS and Tribal Improvisation, Egyptian, Am-Cab, and Turkish; folkloric dances such as Guedra and Tunisian, and even Indian Bollywood, Bhangra, and Kalbelia dance styles. But her true love is swords: for over 25 years she has been passionate about sword dance, fusing movements from classic Raks Sharki and a tribal aesthetic with martial arts to create a unique and dangerous dance style with her 3-foot long Turkish Scimitars. Sabine has created an entire repertoire of cued sword dance combinations to be able to lead her tribal belly dance troupe, Tribalation, in cued improvisational sword dance performances. She now travels to share her love of swords, and teaches sword dance intensives at her home studio and around the world.

Sabine lives in Eugene, Oregon where she owns and manages Celebration Dance Studios, teaches 6 classes a week, directs her tribal belly dance troupe Tribalation, and student troupes Azhaar and Sister Celebration, and volunteers as president of the local Middle Eastern Dance Guild of Eugene. She balances her right and left brains by also working as a manager and analyst in social research, and balances THAT craziness by hiking, bike-camping, and skiing with her husband and their two young adult children.


Portland, OR * Website * Video

Ruby Beh is internationally recognized for her passionate, untamed dance style.  She is truly a powerhouse of energy.  Her background of American Classic Bellydance and Turkish Oriental make her performances stand out with a raw, individual interpretation.  Her love of Turkish culture drew her strait to the source with multiple years of study in Istanbul.  In addition to being an award winning performer Ruby won the prestigious title of "Instructor of the year" in both 2013 and 2016.  She is featured on 9 instructional and performance DVDs including her own instructional series: Deadly Drum Solo, Perfect Practice, All About Arms, Totally Turkish and Flawless Floorwork.  Ruby has an active touring career, bringing her joyful and energetic style to workshops and performances around the globe.


Portland, OR * Website * Instagram

Official JamBallah NW henna artist Wendy Rover has made henna her profession for the last ten years. She is the owner and principal artist for Roving Horse Henna in Portland, Oregon, where she does all the henna gigs she can and specializes in concept body art photographic work and her own “Americana/ Rock’n’Roll” style of henna design work. Wendy’s greatest love is teaching and she is gearing her future personal work toward teaching in schools, libraries, retreats and art centers, community colleges, private classes, and artist  residencies.

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Eugene, OR * Website

Sarah Ebert is an Instructor in the School of Music and Dance at the University of Oregon, adjunct faculty Lane Community College, and director of the contemporary dance curriculum at the Eugene Ballet Academy. As a performer, she has worked with numerous independent choreographers including Alito Alessi, Asimina Chremos, Brad Garner, Linda K. Johnson, Gabriel Masson, Shannon Mockli, Mary Oslund, and Minh Tran, among others. As a choreographer, she has been commissioned by the Eugene Ballet Company, the Eugene Youth Ballet, Columbia Dance and the University of Idaho. Ebert is also a certified teacher of Embodied Anatomy and Yoga through the School for Body-Mind Centering®. She holds a B.F.A. in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Oregon.

As an educator, Ebert has taught modern, ballet, jazz and hip-hop dance classes at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Robert Morris College in Chicago, Lane Community College and the University of Oregon. She is currently faculty at the Eugene Ballet Academy as well and choreographs regularly for the Eugene Youth Ballet. Ebert is an Embodied Anatomy and Yoga teacher, certified through the School for Body-Mind Centering ®




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To assist in future promotion, we will have professional photographers working throughout the event, at the workshops, shows, and other festival-specific gatherings.  Photographs of festival participants and their guests will be taken and posted on the JamBallah Northwest website, and/or the JamBallah Northwest Facebook page.  There is a possibility that your photograph may be taken and so used. We believe that this will enhance the overall experience of festivalgoers, and allow us to properly convey the atmosphere and awesomeness of the festival to the rest of the bellydance community! By attending the JamBallah Northwest festival, both workshops and events, you give your consent to the posting of such photographs by us and waive all rights and claims with respect to the posting of such photographs.

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