About Deshret Dance Company
From the darker, more theatrical side of Fusion comes a collaboration of dancers with extensive belly dance backgrounds…and a love for the dance. Deshret Dance Company (DDC) is a professional belly dance company based in Oakland, California.
DDC applies pressure to the boundaries of Middle Eastern dance and attempts to bring a more theatrical and artistic side to this ancient, highly skilled, art form. Deshret keeps its roots grounded in the traditional technique and movements of Middle Eastern dance and then morphs them into something new and different.
Deshret was founded in early 2007 by Ariellah, the company's artistic director. Deshret's current collaborating dancers are: Danielle White, Scarlett Bales, Karen Marshall, Jesse Stanbridge, and Aminah Zareh. Past Deshret collaborators include: Kendra Katz, Yvonne Michelle, Alexxe, Molly Mitchell, Crystal Silmi, Elizabeth Strong, Lisa Hyde, Tanja Odzak, Freyja, Jennifer Faust, Raven Ebner, Natalie Nayun, Jodi Waseca, Danielle Lottridge, Elizabeth Zohar and Miriam Peretz. Each of the dancers contribute their individuality and strength to the dance company.
DDC wanders somewhere between the old and the new, infusing classical Middle Eastern dance with modern Fusion belly dance.
Deshret Dance Company - Biography of Collaborating Dancers
Ariellah is an international fusion dancer, performer and instructor with much passion in her heart for life, for music, for love… She has an extensive dance background that includes strict classical ballet training for 12 years with the Royal Academy of Dance from London. She has studied and performed belly dance since 2001, commencing her training with Janine Ryle of Danse Mahgreb and as a founding member of The Indigo with Rachel Brice. In 2009, Ariellah began training in classical Indian Odissi dance, studying in India at the Shakti School of Dance and currently continues her studies of this dance form yearly with Colleena Shakti. Ariellah's style infuses many genres of dance, all with a modern dark flavour that is uniquely her own. Her dance manifests what is deep in her heart and expresses her own experience and perceptions of this wondrous, beautiful and tragic thing called life. https://www.ariellah.com
~CURRENT COLLABORATING DANCERS~
Danielle White (Assistant Director)~
Dany has studied and worked closely with Ariellah since 2014, serving as the Assistant Director of Deshret Dance Company and dancing with the student troupe, The Darker Still Ensemble. She started her belly dance education in 2006 with Neela of Art in Motion Studios in North Carolina, dancing with the professional troupe, Lost Jewels of the Ghawazee. After moving to sunny California and recovering from medical issues, she threw herself whole-heartedly into dance, studying extensively with Rachel Brice, Ashley Lopez, and Kami Liddle, among many other greats from around the globe. To strengthen her dance background and movement vocabulary, she also trains in weight training, yoga, pilates, ATS, hip hop, and popping.
Dany is a certified Integrated Dance teacher and has completed Phase 3 of Rachel Brice's 8 Elements of Belly Dance. She is currently working towards being an 8 Elements Datura Style Certified Teacher and a certified personal trainer.
Outside of dance, but still closely related, Dany also owns and operates a jewelry and costuming business and is also a fine art photographer, specializing in dancers and performers.
Karen R. Marshall~
Rockie took her first class with Betsy of Bellydance like a Goddess in 2012 and fell in love. From there, she fell in love with the idea of using the foundation of traditional belly dance moves to find her own voice and personal style. Since 2014, Rockie has enjoyed training under Ariellah and the Darker Still Ensemble. She feels a sense of acceptance and inclusion here, as growing up she was more sheltered and never felt quite at home in the parameters set for her. Upon discovering a gothic bellydancer on YouTube and embracing a style of music more to her tastes, Rockie found herself being drawn in and hasn't looked back.
Rockie has enjoyed dancing alongside Ariellah and the Darker Still ensemble and has performed at several events. She is always looking to cross train and finds inspiration in all styles of dance. She may not have the years of experience, but she loves the energy that goes into the most subtle of movements and the sense of accomplishment she gets from working to learn the techniques of moving every inch of the body. The beauty of affirmation and empowerment involved with this tribal fusion dance is something she's taken advantage of and is so grateful for.
Jesse’s love affair with belly dance began when she saw her first FatChanceBellyDance® performance in 2002. She fell in love instantly with the graceful display of feminine strength. Upon moving to London in 2005, Jesse was determined to foster and shape the UK’s burgeoning ATS®community. As co-founder of Moirai Tribal with Philippa Moirai, Jesse performed ATS® and hosted dance events throughout the UK. She continued to seek every opportunity to study with Carolena and FCBD®, and received her Teacher Training certification in 2008.
In 2012, Jesse relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area. She feels incredibly lucky to study and teach at the FCBD® studio, and performs with Tessera Tribal, a FCBD® Studio Troupe. As a teacher, she enjoys infusing students with confidence and a sense of accomplishment. As a dancer, she is looking forward to expanding her dance knowledge and technique with the incomparable Ariellah and Deshret Dance Company.
Scarlett began her dance journey back in 2008 when she discovered the beautiful dancers of the West Coast but became particularly fond of one dancer that was an outlier to the rest of the tribal groups due to her dark and gothic style, Ariellah. When she saw the beauty and strength involved in this magickal dance she decided this was how she wanted to express her emotional spirituality. Scarlett has also utilized many opportunities to study from other dancers such as Rachel Brice, Sharon Kihara, Zoe Jakes, Aela Badiana, Abigail Keyes, Suhaila Salimpour, amongst many others.
In 2009 Scarlett had the pleasure of working with Ariellah, and Frederique in the Silent Sirens Theater production of Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, while dancing with Wicked Hips Troupe located in Gloucester, VA. During this time Ariellah and Scarlett really came to understand each other on a spiritual level, and Scarlett was instantly drawn to her. She vowed that one-day she would work with Ariellah again. After three years dancing with Wicked Hips, military orders then brought her to the West Coast.
In 2013, she was medically retired from the Military and began her dancing adventure with Ariellah! Scarlett found comfort and flourished in dance expression under the teachings of Ariellah and her interpretations of love, death, and darkness. Dancing with Darker Still Ensemble, Ariellah’s student troupe, and Deshret Dance Company has always felt like home to her. Scarlett has also explored other technical forms of dance that includes the Salimpour Format of which she is currently certified in both Jamila and Suhaila level 2 formats and is working towards her level 3.
When Scarlett is not focused on dance, she is working as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP DNP) for the southern California area. She is also an occultist and accomplished Black Arts Practitioner with her husband, Nate Bales.
Amina discovered her love for dance when she begrudgingly participated in several musicals during elementary school. The singing never caught on, but once she has a taste of what movement was like, she couldn't get enough! After taking a break to participate on several sports teams, she discovered Fusion Belly Dance in 2006 and never looked back. Since picking up this dance form, Amina has worked with many dancers in the Bay Area community. Over the years she has focused most of her time with Ariellah (being a core dancer in her student troupe Forlasi, as well as being a member in Ariellah's professional troupe, Deshret Dance Company). Amina also works frequently with Calamity Sam in her Fusion and I.T.S. troupe, Motherlode. She can be found soloing around the Bay Area, doing duets as part of her duo Little Beasties (with Laura Elisabeth), or kicking butts and taking names with her dance troupes Deshret Dance Company or Motherlode.
~PAST COLLABORATING DANCERS~
Elizabeth Strong is a San Francisco Bay Area dancer, choreographer, and teacher whose work focuses on the integrity and spirit of traditional dance forms inside of a contemporary framework. Elizabeth was a touring member of Bellydance Superstars, and was a founding member of Bellydance Evolution and of Beats Antique’s dance company with Zoe Jakes. A former principal member of Katarina Burda’s Aywah! Ethnic Dance Company, Elizabeth has traveled to Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, Greece and Bulgaria to study closely at the source and is now considered one of the leading experts in the form. She performs with live music groups including Kugelplex, MWE, Brass Menazeri, and Fishtank Ensemble, and renowned world musicians including Faisal Zeidan and Rumen Sali Shopov.
Elizabeth has had original choreographies commissioned by Jill Parker and Jillina Carlano, and has received grants from Zellerbach Foundation and from Bill Graham Presents Foundation. Her Turkish Roman instructional DVD was released in 2011. Elizabeth currently teaches and performs internationally. Find Elizabeth (and her DVD) at www.strongdancer.com
With a rich background in the performing arts, Andrea Sendek brings a lifetime of passionate involvement in acting, music, and dance to her role as a choreographer, instructor and performer. With over 2 decades of belly dance experience and 10 years training and performing in other dance genres ( bharatanatyam, ballet, and modern), Andrea integrates philosophies from various forms into her teaching and performance style. Having undergone rigorous training from 2004-2014 at the acclaimed Salimpour School, Andrea has attained a high degree of skill under exacting instructors. While at the Salimpour school, Andrea achieved recognition in her Suhaila Level 4 (advanced performer) and Jamilla Level 3 certifications. In 2007, she became a staff instructor and the Assistant Director of both the Suhaila Dance Company and BalAnat, while also performing as a principal dancer and soloist in both companies. A multifaceted artist, Andrea performed as a featured soloist to a live Arabic band from 2006-2010 at Marrakesh Restaurant in San Francisco. She has performed and taught across the United States and internationally; some highlights of her itinerary include appearances in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Canada, and South America. In 2015, ready for a company of her own, Andrea founded Khepri Dance Company, and to this day continues to dedicate herself tirelessly to the pursuit of excellence in her craft and to embodying an authentic creative voice in belly dance. http://andreasendek.com/
Crystal Silmi is a belly dance fusion instructor based out of Santa Cruz, California. She has become known for her unique style of hip hop infused movements and has performed for audiences around the world. Skilled in both the art of classical Middle Eastern dance and modern fusion, Crystal puts her Arab American roots to the dance with a deep sense of rhythm and powerful athleticism.As a long time student of master instructor Suhaila Salimpour, Crystal has danced with both the Suhaila Dance Company and Bal Anat. In 2006 she founded the belly dance fusion troupe RaksArabi based out of Motion Pacific Dance Studio in Santa Cruz, Ca with troupe members from across the South Bay and Central Coast communities. RaksArabi draws upon hip hop, jazz, north african and other dance styles to enhance the art of belly dance with vivid and contemporay feel. For performance information, workshops or classes visit www.crystalsilmi.com
Seducing audiences with her sensual grace, smoldering inner fire, and technical artistry, Tanja embodies fiercely passionate belly dance. She has been dancing professionally in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2003 and is known for her fiery stage presence and high quality of dance. Tanja is a fusion belly dance artist, performing a blend of American Tribal and American Cabaret belly dance. Past performance experience includes work with Suhaila Repertoire Ensemble, Ultra Gypsy, Bal Anat, Ariellah, Rose Harden, Damage Control Dance Theatre, Bastet, Lapsus, and Fat Chance’s Third Tribe.
An active choreographer, Tanja’s work has been featured in the Suhaila Repertoire Ensemble, Ultra Gypsy, Bastet, Lapsus, and L’Anonyme Collective. Additionally, Tanja was the 2007 “Tribal Fusion Champion” at the Hips of Fury Belly Dance Contest. She has been featured in Ultra Gypsy’s “Medusa & Machine” (Release Date TBA) and Suhaila’s “Docuality” (YouTube). During her years in Jill Parker’s Ultra Gypsy, she was an active choreographer and dancer when the dance company received the prestigious Golden Belly Award for the 2005 “Troupe of the Year”. She also participated in the Ultra Gypsy/Urban Tribal “Spark Tour”. Since 2001, Tanja has studied extensively with legendary belly dance masters Suhaila Salimpour and Jill Parker as well as with a multitude of other talented dancers. A devoted student of her belly dance guru Suhaila, Tanja obtained Level 3 certification in February 2010.
Tanja is a founding member of L'Anonyme Collective, a group of like-minded artists coming together in an attempt to take part in the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) bending of belly dance tradition. Tanja and co-founders, Abby Star and Erin Harper, formed L’Anonyme to offer a vehicle for colleagues and experienced dancers to explore the full spectrum of belly dance styles on a special project basis. In addition to performing with L’Anonyme Collective, she currently dances independently as a solo artist and as a guest artist/dancer with various dance companies. Tanja loves collaborating and doing projects with peers.
Tanja is very excited and proud to have choreographed for Suhaila Salimpour’s Repertoire Ensemble; her choreographic work was one of the pieces highlighted by Suhaila in the March 2010 Rakkasah West show where she also performed the work with the Ensemble.
Freyja, is an internationally acclaimed belly dance teacher and performer. Her dance background includes ballet, jazz, hip hop, ballroom, salsa, club dancing, flamenco, Indonesian and Indian dance. She has developed her own unique style, drawing from many of these sources. Freyja has studied many different styles of belly dance and being a life-long student, she continues to study dance as well as other movement disciplines Freyja has taught and performed all over the United States, Canada and Europe. She is credited with excellent technique and musical interpretation, crisp isolations and original innovative choreography. As an instructor, she gives great presentation and breakdown while emphasizing proper posture and movement to prevent injuries. An interest in alignment, body mechanics and therapeutic application of movement led Freyja to the advanced studies teacher training at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco and later to Pilates which she currently teaches full time. Freyja has immersed herself in somatic education and she specializes in working with dancers of all styles to increase strength, flexibility, technique and improve biomechanics. She also does extensive rehabilitation work with both dancers and non dancers alike.
Curious glammy glitterphile with a gypsy heart and an affinity towards dead things and creepy baby dolls, Jodi has been fascinated with hobos and gypsies since for a long while. When she picked up the art of dance at a wee tender age, her passion was embedded and has now turned it into studies of Contemporary Fusion and Cabaret belly dance, Modern, Jazz and Hip Hop dance, Burlesque, Fire, Butoh and Theatrical Performance…and her performances encompass a fusion of all of these. Jodi is the 2010 Breakthrough Fusion Dance Solo Artist, SF. She is also a good eater and likes cats and stripes.
Jodi performs regularly with the burlesque variety show, Hubba Hubba Revue (Oakland, SF) as part of the vaudeville duo Room For Cream, with her burlesque troupe Jellyfish Kiss, and as a solo performer. She appears as her alter ego, Svetlana, with the Vulgarian circus rock and roll band, Brothers Horse, and also dances in the electro rock band, Fans of Jimmy Century. Jodi will be performing and giving workshops later this year with Troupe Joweh at the Guatemalan National Theatre in Guatemala City as the featured Tribal Fusion belly dancer. Jodi produces a monthly burlesque variety show in Sebastopol called Risk-A Cabaret.
Tasha Kaye began her dance journey in the FatChanceBellyDance San Francisco Studio in 2007 where she instantly fell in love with the beauty of group improvisation Her musical career extends back to high school where she was an avid participant in musical theater, choral ensembles, played bass in an all girl band, and later in college world music ensembles. West African drumming and dance dominated her musical studies in college, where she played in the Kekeli music ensemble under the direction of C.K. Ladzekpo and royal hartigan. Tasha believes these early musical explorations in rhythm and non-western musicality gave her a strong bellydance foundation. Her dance studies have found her exploring traditional Odissi Indian dance to developing her tribal fusion skills with Kami Liddle, Zoe Jakes and Jill Parker. She's a founding member of Alhambra Tribal Dance, an ATS troupe that incorporates props into the dialect with an eye for shape and preservation of the look and feel of old-school ATS. When not dancing, Tasha may just be found at the ice rink, playing hockey.
Shureen is an award winning bellydancer from Shingle Springs California. She started Bellydancing - Cabaret with Farouche in the Bay Area many years ago. She took a break from dancing while going through nursing school.
When she was able to break away from studying and test taking, she discovered tribal fusion and fell in love with this dance form. Shureen started dancing with Sirens In Sanity in 2008. She then began dancing with the award winning troupe “Sister Sirens” from 2011 to 2017 until she moved up to Shingle Springs. Shureen has taken many classes and workshops from amazing teachers from the Bay Area as well as Colleena Shakti from India. She has studied under Ariellah for 6 years and found a deeper love and passion for the darker side of tribal fusion. Shureen can be found doing solos all over the Bay Area and anywhere’s BellyDance takes her. She also duets with Judith Weeks ~ Kuruvinda ~ when the opportunity arises. She is currently studying with Mychelle Crown and Ariellah. Shureen is a proud member of Deshret Dance Co.
When not dancing she’s working as a nurse in the ER and Hospice, doing CrossFit and spending as much time as possible with her dogs~ Max and Penny.
Lisa began her bellydance training under the watchful eye of the incomparable Mesmera in Los Angeles where she gained a solid foundation in the classic resturant/cabaret style of dancing. A few years later she traded her coin belt for a tassel belt and joined the dark side of fusion after moving to the Bay Area. She has covered the the California coast dancing in festivals and street faires occupying the coveted, " we have no idea who you are and if you can dance " 11:00am spots. Lisa also enjoys studying ATS style dance, yoga, and collecting just about anything that existed before 1950.
Nayun fell in love with belly dance in 2003 after she first saw it performed in Santa Fe, New Mexico and has been dancing non-stop ever since. She studied American Tribal Style and Egyptian Belly Dance intensively with Myra Krien for two years before moving to the Bay Area to continue her belly dance studies. She has studied intensively with some of today’s top dance artists, notably; Ariellah, Mira Betz, Zoe Jakes, Nanna Candelaria, and Suhaila Salimpour. Nayun is not only a well-known soloist, but is also a principal dancer in Deshret Dance Company directed by Ariellah.
Nayun has studied and been influenced by other dance forms which have come to shape her own interpretation of Belly Dance including Classical Indian, Flamenco, Modern, Jazz, Hip-Hop, and Fire Dancing. She performs many styles of belly dance including Cabaret, Egyptian, Tribal Fusion and American Tribal Style. She enjoys performing each of these styles, which gives her a well-rounded approach to the dance form. Nayun is known for her great technique, versatility, and personality as both an artist and performer.
She was the Assistant Director of Pomegranate studios in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2008, and was the Master Teacher of the SEEDs Youth Dance Program from 2008-2009. In 2008 she formed Ambrosia Dance Company which performed frequently at venues throughout the Santa Fe area. Nayun believes that no matter how long she dances she will always be a life-long student, learning all she can about belly dance. www.nayundance.com
Predslava came to belly dance in 2004 with no prior dance background. Her introduction and subsequent addiction to the dance form occurred under Mina of Dalloua Dance Company. Two years later, an attraction to tribal fusion and a natural inclination towards the dark side of belly dance brought her to Ariellah. She liked it there. She stayed.
Predslava has been performing with Deshret Dance Company (DDC) since its inception in 2007, and is an instructor at DDC workshops. Her martial arts background has been an inspiration in exploring internal practices and body awareness topics. When not dancing, she can be found painting in her art studio or hiking in the hills.
Raven was a lifelong musician - studying classical & contemporary music and performing with bands and orchestras throughout her youth - before she began her dance career in 2003. It was American Tribal Style bellydance that first hooked her and she joined Midriff Crisis bellydance troupe in Tucson, Arizona. When she moved to the Bay Area late in 2006 she began studying with a large variety of world-class instructors. After a brief hiatus to focus on her other artistic endeavors, Raven returned to dance with Lapsus - a fusion bellydance troupe that appealed to her darker sensibilities - and L'Anonyme Collective, which was very much outside her usual style. Currently, besides collaborating with Ariellah and the other Deshret dancers, Raven is studying other dance influences with Cera Byer and dancing with Damage Control Dance Theater. She is also developing her career as a soloist and seeking constant artistic evolution & innovation. And she bellydances to metal music when given the chance.
Outside of dance, Raven is usually painting, drawing, sculpting, making jewelry, sewing costuming, and partaking in any other artistic medium she can get her hands on.
Grace began belly dancing in 2001. She began performing with Frederique of Belly Groove and Rachel Brice of the The Indigo. Grace and Ariellah met while dancing with The Indigo in 2003, and since then have performed as a duet and in troupes. Grace also performs as a soloist, and in collaboration with other artists and companies.
Besides belly dance, Grace also has performed hip hop and salsa. She’s been featured as a dancer in music videos, TV, and film. She’s been honored to choreograph and collaborate with world-renowned choreographers Gabriel Romero of Mambo Romero Latin Dance Theater and Carla Service of Dance-A-Vision Entertainment (hip hop).
Forever a student of the arts, Grace regularly takes classes, in ballet, salsa, martial arts, yoga, tango, modern, and jazz. She especially enjoys ethnic dances, including Flamenco, Balinese, Indian, Cuban, Brazilian, Polynesian, and African dances.
Known for her alien-like belly rolls and sharp hits and locks, Grace is sought after as a choreographer, performer, and instructor. To contact Grace, email SSerpentsKiss@gmail.com
Molly is a lifelong dancer who spent her early years training in tap, ballet, jazz and modern dance. She began belly dancing in 2001, studying a mix of cabaret and American Tribal Style throughout her college years in Bloomington, IN. During that time she performed with a number of local dance troupes before collaborating with two of her peers to form Dark Side Tribal, which continues to offer classes locally in Tribal belly dance and to perform around the Midwest. In 2006 Molly moved to the Bay Area for graduate school and began taking Ariellah’s tribal fusion classes soon after. She joined Deshret in 2007 and continues to hone her abilities as a soloist in addition to performing with the company. When not dancing, Molly can be found behind a sewing machine, and her costume creations have been known to find their way onto her troupe mates from time to time.
Erebus La Voie~
Early in her dance career Erebus La Voie studied traditional Egyptian Cabaret in Solano County. It was at the renowned Northern California belly dance festival “Tribal Fest” that she saw the Indigo perform for the first time in 2005. Completely infatuated with the technique displayed by these dancers and awestruck by their exquisite costumes, a new quest for dance inspiration began. Living in the Mecca of the tribal belly dance scene she sought out inspiration and teaching from such tribal fusion dance instructors Rachel Brice and Jill Parker. In 2006 she found her true kindred spirit in dance, Ariellah. A life long obsession with all things dark, she embraces the opportunity to entertain fusing her gothic sensibility with belly dance.
Allison studies dance with Ariellah and other Bay Area teachers. She has performed with Deshret Dance Company, in student troupes under Ariellah's direction, and with other local dancers. Allison finds inspiration in fusion belly dance's combination of imagination, expression and artistry, qualities she seeks to explore and refine through ongoing study.
Laura Elisabeth is a Bay Area based fusion dancer. After a false start with ballet, jazz, and tap as a child, Laura rediscovered her love of dance in college thanks to a Middle Eastern dance class held at Rice University. The following decade led her down the path of intensive study of tribal style and fusion belly dance with world-renowned dancers from the Bay Area and beyond (with a little ballet and other world dances thrown in for good measure). Laura has had the immense fortune to dance with Forlasi, FatChanceBellyDance’s student troupe Blue Diamonds, SpinOff Tribal, Two-Step Tribal, Standfire Collective, Ego Umbra, Calamity Sam’s Calamitous Collective, the Bardot Treasury, and Elizabeth Strong. Laura currently can be found taking as many dance classes as her schedule allows, performing solos at local events like Underground Nomads, and working on projects with Calamity Sam’s troupe MotherLode, Little Beasties, Deshret Dance Company, and other fantastic Bay Area dancers.
Born in Brazil, I started classical ballet at the age of 7. My love for dance kept growing until I finally decided to get a bachelor degree in dance. At college two of my classe mates were bellydancers. I had one class with them and I was delighted with the way their body could move. After some months of classes they showed me a fusion bellydance video and it was one of the most magical things I’ve ever seen. I was eager to learn and it quickly became a huge part of my life. It changed my view about many aspects, not only about dance.
More incredible collaborators of which we do not have their bios: