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MEET OUR INSTRUCTORS | FOTN 2024

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JILLINA

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With a background in Middle Eastern, Folklore, Jazz, Ballet, and Hip Hop, she creates a colorful Middle Eastern fusion repertoire that has inspired collaborations with some of the world’s leading instructors and performers. Traveling extensively to create productions and teach seminars that embody her unique style of dance and dance education, Jillina also advocates a local dance community, owning the creative hub, Evolution Dance Studios in North Hollywood, California. Whether on stage, coaching one-on-one, or teaching a group of 1,000 students, Jillina’s vibrant ability to connect with people on and off the dance floor continues to influence dancers and entertain audiences worldwide.​​

​In 1999 Jillina established her own dance company, Jillina’s Sahlala Dancers, currently LA’s premier Middle Eastern and world-fusion dance entertainment company. From 2003-09 she served as Artistic Director and Main Choreographer for the Bellydance Superstars, performing with them in over 700 shows across a dozen countries. Highlights include the main stage at Lollapalooza, The Follies Berger in Paris, The Queen’s Theater in London and Theatre Mohammed V in Rabat, Morocco. 

In 2009 Jillina created Bellydance Evolution with the goal to take Middle Eastern dance to a higher level.  Bellydance Evolution has appeared in over 20 countries and was a featured company at the Mawazine festival in Morocco, performing for the Queen of Morocco.  In 2016 Jillina & Bellydance Evolution were commissioned to produce “Le Voyage de Scheherazade,” a multi-national, multi-discipline collaboration between Moroccan, European and American Oriental and ballet dancers with the Orchestra Philharmonique de Maroc.

Jillina has won numerous awards from International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance and the Giza Academy, including Best Modern Egyptian Dancer, Best Instructional Video, Best Dance Company and Dancer of the Year. Jillina has appeared on several television programs, including, “Dancing with the Stars” & “Tsukiri,” a widely-viewed show in Japan. She has co-produced 12 instructional DVDs, now offered in five different languages and distributed by Universal Records. In the summer of 2009 and 2010, Jillina was the first American to be invited as a featured performer in the prestigious Closing Gala at Ahlan Wa Sahlan in Egypt.

In the United States, Jillina owns Evolution Dance Studios located in North Hollywood, California. The studio provides rehearsal space to some of Hollywood’s top artists, including Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, and choreographers from “So You Think You Can Dance,” and serves as a focal point for the Los Angeles Dance Community.

Omaris Bio
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ZIZI ZABANEH

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ZiZi Zabaneh is the director of Fusion Gitana.  She is an international instructor, performer, and choreographer, a professional dancer with over 28 years of experience.

Born in Bogota, Colombia of Lebanese descent. 

 

ZiZi has provided entertainment for celebrities including Tom Arnold, Elizabeth Shue, Chris Evert, Alonzo Mourning, Dwyane Wade, Alan Thicke, and many more.

 

Her international performances and workshops include Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Italy, Dubai, and Puerto Rico to name a few.

 

Currently, ZiZi teaches locally in Central Florida (Winter Park) and via Zoom.  She teaches workshops nationally and internationally.  She is the producer of Caravan of Dancers, the only Flamenco and Middle Eastern dance festival in the United States.

 

Precision, strength, and stamina characterize her dance style and make her a favorite amongst audiences of all ages.  

www.fusiongitana.com

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Zizi
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OMARIS

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Omaris, "The Dominican Rose" will sweep you away with her Passion, Authentic Spirit, and Magical Technique.  She is a Multi Award-Winning dancer,  teaches all over the world, and is embraced in her local dance community by beginning to advanced performers alike.  With almost two decades of Teaching and Performing, Omaris is loved by studios, students, and audiences.  Internationally sought-after, Omaris has taught and performed in the USA, Puerto Rico, Mexico, South Korea, Brazil, Guadeloupe, Serbia, Japan, Italy, The Czech Republic, and of course in her home country, the Dominican Republic.

 

Omaris holds a BA in Advertising and a Technique Course Certification in Photography. She owns her own clothing line called RedButterfly by Omaris sporting artistic athleisure to empower and inspire women.

 

Many say Omaris is Art in Motion. To watch her dance is not just a passive event; Omaris touches everyone's soul when she performs.  A true artist, Omaris evokes from her audience the emotion she wants them to experience: passion, longing, pain, and joy just to name a few. Omaris possesses a strong technical foundation to back up her artistry. Her classes are extremely popular because she fuses techniques with insights on showmanship that are priceless for any dancer. An often overlooked but extremely important facet of Omaris’ dance is her deep understanding of musicality. Her specialty is expressing the melodic lines in pieces seamlessly and with intense feeling. 

www.omarisdancer.com

Omaris Bio
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BELLADONNA

Bohemian Belly Dance is the umbrella name and descriptor of Belladonna’s belly dance business, production company, and system of modern tribal and fusion belly dance. Bohemian Belly Dance is committed to providing high quality and creative dance instruction, events, performances and products.

As a business owner, artist, instructor, and director, Belladonna is driven by her desire to make creative expression easily available to those who may find it hard to tap into on their own, due to work, family, busy schedules and responsibilities. Her focus is on creating classes, educational programs, music and training that are safe, meaningful, well researched and fun. She uses her dance education and training, as well as her hunger for knowledge and experience in art, design, and energy healing, to help make her programs authentic and one of a kind.

The goal of Bohemian Belly Dance is to inspire and cultivate the seeds of enlightenment, healing and self-expression, and self-awareness that can grow from the practice of tribal and fusion belly dance. Bohemian Belly Dance aims to provide high-quality instruction and create spaces and opportunities for dancers to find, develop and express their personal truth and creative voice. Bohemian Belly Dance was founded in 2009 by Belladonna. In true bohemian style, we are not constrained by the social norms, we are driven by creativity, freedom, the beauty in the world, passion, performance, art, music, nature, culture, truth, and of course love.

Bohemian Belly Dance believes in fueling the belly dance spark inside of every dancer and aims to share that light with others. We dig deep and experience the full spectrum of human emotions and channel them into dances that are full of life, healing and expression.

Embrace • Freedom • Beauty • Truth • Love

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EBONY QUALLS

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Ebony has taught and performed in multiple cities throughout Asia, Canada, Europe, South America and the United States. She 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. 

She is the co-creator of the Black Bellydance Bundle, a project that increases diversity and inclusivity in the bellydance community. She 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'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.

 

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 online in both traditional and urban fusion formats. 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 fusion bellydance circuits.

Ebony Qualls Bio
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ZHOR

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Zhor, Began his studies of dance in classical ballet with accomplishments as a principle dancer for the Scottish American Ballet.

 

His journey into the world of Middle Eastern Belly Dance began in 1985 under the tutelage of a Turkish dance artist. Zhor continued as a Performance and workshop artist with 4 International tours. In 1992 he released his international video “Zhor’s Magical Tour of the Ancient Art of Bellydance” following performances with the Bindelstiff Circus, Belly Dance Superstars and numerous other performance showcases. Zhor left the performance stage to teach and work in 2002 after a near death experience and began dancing again and performing as dance has always been his one true passion in life. Zhor’s performances are legendarily known for his veil, flair, and vintage style.

Please visit guilfoildanceartscenter.com for more information about Ballet and Belly Dance classes, group classes, pre-professional training, and coaching from beginner, pre-professional, and professional dancers, workshops, and events.

www.guilfoildanceartscenter.com

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Zhor Bio
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SUSU PAMPANIN

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Susu Pampanin is a dynamic percussionist of exceptional strength and sensitivity. Daughter of prominent San Francisco belly dancer, Amina Goodyear, she was surrounded by Arabic music before she could walk or talk. She studied under master drummers, Vince Delgado, George Dabai, Yousef Mustafa El Effendi, and Nagib Al Bahri; honing her skills by accompanying her mother’s dance classes, rehearsals, and performances with her dance troupe, the Aswan Dancers.


Having earned the respect of the Arab community, she performed regularly in various musical ensembles for celebrations such as Arab weddings, festivals, concerts, and cultural events. She continued performing and touring with other world music groups, which led to an invitation by Mickey Hart to perform with him on his Planet Drum tour. Susu's talent and passion for percussion and rhythm enabled her to create an innovative style and sound, uniquely her own. In 1991, ‘Susu and The Cairo Cats, Dancing Drums, Live at the Giza Club’ was released. The recording featured her drum compositions and drum solos. Through this work, she became known internationally for her virtuosity in Arabic drumming. 


Her love of Arabic music, along with her quest to continue to improve her musical knowledge and drumming skills have inspired numerous trips to North Africa and the Middle East, over the years.  In 2013, she went to Egypt to record, Nostalgia, Susu Pampanin, and the Cairo Cats with Safaa Farid. More recently, in January of 2020 she returned to Egypt to record with Reda Henkish on the collaborative release, Reda Henkesh Live with Susu Pampanin.

Susu Pampanin
TerriAnne
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TERRIANNE GUTIERREZ

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TerriAnne Gutierrez has been the featured performer at many prestigious San Francisco Clubs and restaurants, as well as performing frequently at Middle Eastern weddings and events. She has made several television appearances and had the honor of being asked by the San Francisco Egyptian community to dance for their Egyptian Consulate to the United States on his visit to San Francisco. 

 

TerriAnne is the director of award-winning, international dance company, Troupe Joweh R.A.W. who has been voted, “Best Performing Dance Company”, (Sonoma County) for the last three years in a row and the producer of Sirens Fest and the owner of Sirens Studio in Sebastopol, CA.

She has been playing music since a young age and is accomplished on a number of instruments. She enjoys playing Deff and Riq with Susu Pampanin, and other musicians, and is well known for her Zill playing. She put out a book and DVD on the subject called, ZILL DRILLS.

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Gina bio
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GINA MARIE

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Gina Marie is Founder and Director of Blue Lotus World Dance.

Gina is fluent in many genres including;

Rom Gypsy, Turkish, Tunisian, Folkloric, American Cabaret and more.

She loves to work with a variety of props such as cane, veil, candles, Isis wings, and her favorite, swords.

Gina is a certified FCBD® Instructor as created by Carolena Nericcio.

She is honored to be a sister studio to the originator of this enchanting dance style and has created many of her own dialects.

Gina provides a warm, supportive environment for her students to grow and learn. She has provided multiple, weekly classes since 2008. Gina and her troupes have performed at countless shows and events.

Gina produces an annual 3 day Bellydance festival, The Sweetheart Gala, in which she hosts many of the most sought-after master instructors in the world. She considers herself a forever student and loves to learn and grow alongside other dancers.

www.bluelotustribal.com

Fadi El Sabeh
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Anastasia 

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Anastasia is a professional belly dance performer and instructor based in St Petersburg, FL. Originally being from Ukraine, she started her dance journey there. As her interest in learning more about belly dance was rising, she wanted to dive deeper into the Arab culture and visited Egypt and Lebanon and took numerous workshops with world knowns instructors.

 

Anastasia is known for her elegant and classy style, and an eye catching stage presence. She has a deep love to the art of belly dance, and enjoys sharing her knowledge with the others.

 

Anastasia performs all over Tampa Bay and beyond, as well as, teaches workshops. She also hosts workshops of master instructors in her area. She keeps traveling around the world to learn more about Raqs Sharqi as she believes that a learning process never stops.

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Kamram bio
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Jacques Al Asmar

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Jacques Al-Asmar was born in Accra, Ghana. He was raised in Beirut, Lebanon. For the past twenty-five years, he has lived in the United States. He has studied, performed and taught Internationally. His passion for dance was noticed at an early age. Influenced by the legendary Nadia Gamal, Jacques watched his own body move in the same genre as Nadia Gamal. However, his lack of formal training in dance and cultural barriers held him back from pursuing a much-loved art form.

 

Jacques' formal training came at a later stage of his career. Thanks to the Legendary Amina of the ASWAN DANCERS, who trained, educated and supported Jacques, He became a dance sensation overnight. Jacques is co-founder of the Arabian Knights band and producer of Salamat Sundays in San Francisco, California.

 

An extra surprise for all our Festival on the Nile Inetrnational fans! To Jacques delight, Amina Goodyear will be joining him to add her great wealth of knowledge and in-depth insight to both his workshops.

Fadi El Sabeh
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Gitana de la Rosa 

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Gitana de la Rosa is an award winning professional Mideastern dance director, performer, instructor and event producer based in Tallahassee, Florida. Originally from Miami, Gitana brought her years of directing, theater and dance experience to Tallahassee, Florida where she has developed a style all her own. In 2005, She was honored to be invited to dance at the Ahlan wa sahlan Festival in Egypt.

 

Gitana de la Rosa is known for her fiery Spanish Fusion style and has the most experience dancing with wings in North Florida. She has also been studying Hawaiian Hula since 1997 (Under the name of Kamalei Lani) and is filled with joy to share her knowledge with dancers at Festival on the Nile International. She shares her passion with her troupes Firestorm and Kahu Ahi.

 

Gitana is absolutely passionate about world cultural performance and started a showcase called Fusion World Dance and Music Live (seen by over 30 nations during the pandemic) over six years ago. Fusion's Red Carpet is also seen in the largest theater in Tallahassee every year. She enjoys filming docustories, dance and other cultural productions through Firestorm Productions Inc, her company.

For many years Gitana worked hard to start a non-profit organization to help bring nations together through cultural performance. Her passion to make lives better became a reality when Embrace World Cultures became a 501(c)3 and was able to give to a local charity for kids and help feed people in Maui after the fire in 2023.

 

Gitana de la Rosa has performed in Miami, New York, Disney World, in Egypt, in Hawaii, and in Egypt. Her events include Festival on the Nile International, Tallahassee Raqs, Fusion World Dance & Music Live, Fusion World Dance & Music Red Carpet, and Magic in Motion Legend of the Starcatcher. Throughout the years she has hosted such greats as Morocco, Tarik and Omaris in Tallahassee. She keeps traveling around the world to learn more about world cultures and believes that the key to bringing people together lies in the Arts.

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