Dragonfly Student Troupe
CHRISTINA, Lead Dancer
Christina dabbled in various dance disciplines as a child, but it wasn't until she heard the gorgeous and passionate voice of Natasha Atlas that she became entranced by belly dance. She took her first lessons at Hannan's Belly Dance studio in 2007 and was immediately taken by folkloric styles taught by the talented and beautiful Abigail. In 2011, Christina joined Dragonfly Dance, took Bolero classes with Zahira, and never looked back! In 2014, she was elated to be invited to dance with the student troupe. Being a teacher herself, Christina loves learning and takes every opportunity to improve her technique, knowledge and repertoire. She loves dancing with props, and while fan veils and Isis wings are among her favourites, she is currently working on mastering the vintage style of dancing with zills and veil.
DIANA, Lead Dancer
Diana discovered belly dance during the summer of 2013 when she was looking for a fun, fitness alternative. In the welcoming environment of the studio, and with the inspiration and support from her instructors Zahira, Anuka and Riannagh, she quickly found a home at Dragonfly. She became enamoured with this graceful, strong and expressive art form and loves the diverse variety of music and styles from folklore to fusion that she has had the opportunity to study. Although she has no previous formal dance training, Diana has always felt music in her heart and dancing in her soul. She can’t help but dance with a smile on her face and tries to channel the joy and passion that this dance inspires in her into her performances.
Diana was thrilled to be invited to join the Dragonfly Student Troupe in the summer of 2015 and is excited to further develop her technique and gain performance experience with such a talented group of dancers.
"There are shortcuts to happiness and dancing is one of them." – Vicki Baum
About the Troupe
Dragonfly Student Troupe is composed by high intermediate and advanced students at Dragonfly Bellydance Studio, who have expressed their wish to share the joy of bellydancing and to acquire performance experience in a group setting; who have shown their dedication, focus and commitment to the art form. They are the representatives of Dragonfly students at large!
With excellent technique in constant development, the troupe is dedicated to present polished, beautiful and top notch performances in a variety of bellydance styles, celebrating the art and beauty of the feminine self and the experience of life, as well as the enormous, universal range of human emotion expressed through the belly-dancing body.
The Troupe embodies Dragonfly's vision, excellence and versatility, including in their repertoire elegant oriental numbers, traditional folklore, as well as alternative, fantasy & fusion pieces. They perform at festivals, charity events and community events around the GTA.
Dragonfly Student Troupe is an award winning ensemble, placing 2nd Runner Up in the Group category (featuring professionals as well as amateurs and students) at the Star Bellydancer Canada Competition 2014 & 2015.
Dragonfly Student Troupe is the platform from which outstanding students who wish to pursue bellydancing at a professional level are further mentored to become Dragonfly Dance Company members as well as excellent bellydance professional performers and instructors through Dragonfly's unique "Mentorship Program". The founders and alumnae of Dragonfly Student Troupe have proudly gone to become professional artists, members of professional ensembles or leaders of their own projects.
JESSIE, Lead Dancer
Jessie's dance experience was limited to family weddings and the Macarena before she was compelled to try a class at Dragonfly Bellydance in early 2014. She was quickly hooked by the warmth and creativity of the community she found there, and has delighted in her ongoing bellydance journey under Dragonfly's inspiring instructors.
In the summer of 2016, Jessie was thrilled to be invited to Dragonfly Student Troupe. She cherishes the opportunity to continue her growth as a dancer in the company of her talented troupemates.
CLAUDIA, Lead Dancer
Claudia's dance journey began as a child watching Golden Era films with Samia Gamal and classics such as Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. Years later, intrigued by a summer street festival performance, Claudia began studying the art of bellydance at Arabesque Dance Academy and Hannan's Dance Studio and later, at Dragonfly. In addition to training with Maha, Sarita, Saba, Melissa Gamal, Amy and Camelia, she has also studied with Zahira, Roula Said, Aziza of Montreal, Luna of Cairo and most recently, Mohamed Salah. Claudia's curiosity for other dance styles developed whilst studying bellydance, learning the fusion techniques of Bollywood (Siham) and LatinBelly (Sarita), taking her to performing with their respective dance groups at festivals and student showcases. In 2013, Claudia joined the Arabesque Academy Student Troupe under the artistic direction of Yasmina Ramzy and in 2017, Claudia begins a new journey as one of Dragonfly Student Troupe newest members under the creative direction of Zahira. When Claudia is not practising choreography or attending many of the dance events around the city, you can find her behind the camera, taking photos of subjects of her fancy.
NORA, Lead Dancer
Nora began her dancing career as a member of various Albanian folk dance troupes in Kosovo and Toronto. In 2012 she took her first belly dance class as a part of a free class series with Iana Komarnytska while attending York University, and since then she was hooked. In the fall of 2015 Nora joined Dragonfly Bellydance and has been dancing with them regularly ever since, under the tutelage of Zahira.
Nora is a fan of more traditional and vintage belly dance styles, and takes inspiration from classic dancers of the Egyptian golden age of cinema of the 40s, 50s, and 60s. She also loves to use finger cymbals and props of any kind when performing!
ELAINE, Lead Dancer
Elaine’s first experience of seeing a bellydance performance was when she was 3 years old at an Aunt’s wedding! She was always mesmerized by their charm, beauty and magical-empowering presence that could transport her into different times and places. A big part of her love for bellydance music comes from her Greek Grandma who would sing her old songs, and share her love for this music.
Although she started bellydancing in late 2015 at Dragonfly Bellydance, she made up for time by taking unlimited classes, workshops and pushing herself outside her comfort zone by dancing solos at student haflas. In 2017, she joined of the Dragonfly Student Troupe. In 2 years, Elaine has performed 5 solos. She is thrilled to perform her first solo at Hip Hip outside of the studio!
Elaine gravitates towards Chiftetelli, Bolero, Rebetika and Smyrneika music.
EMMA, Lead Dancer
Emma is a lifelong lover of dance. If you name a style, Emma’s probably tried it – from Argentine Tango to Rueda de Casino to Zouk – but it wasn’t until she met belly dance that she fell head over heels!
A student at Dragonfly Dance since 2011, she loves the special sense of community Zahira and Ruyah have created at the studio. She was proud to join the Student Troupe in 2014, and looks forward to continuing to learn and grow as a dancer, refine her work as a solo performer and choreographer, and entertaining audiences along the way.
SHERI, Lead Dancer
Sheri tried bellydance on a whim several years ago and fell in love at first shimmy. She was part of the award-winning Arabia Adorned troupe in Calgary under the direction of Dafne Canales Lees and performed at various festivals and galas, including Rakkasah in San Francisco and the International Bellydance Congress in the U.K.
After moving to Toronto, she danced with the student troupe The Sultanettes under the direction of Maha for two years and performed at such events as the International Bellydance Conference of Canada (IBCC). She is now thrilled to be studying with the very talented Zahira as part of The Dragonfly Student Troupe. As well as delving deeper into both oriental and fusion styles like Steampunk, Sheri looks forward to perfecting the art of balancing a sword on her head.
CRISTMARY, Apprentice Dancer
It was in 2005 when Cristmary joined her first Bellydance class, since then she’s been captivated by this millenarian dance. She went to two belly dance schools back in her home country Venezuela. In the past 13 years, she has performed in many different events, TV show, stadiums, festivals, theatres and more. In Canada she’s been performing Latin rhythms with Bravo’s Dance Company in parties and events.
More recently, Cristmary has joined the amazing Dragonfly Bellydance School and she’s looking forward to learn more everyday, share her experiences and grow new friendships.
TAINÁ, Apprentice Dancer
Originary from Brazil, Tainá started bellydancing in 2012 in Rio de Janeiro with the incredible instructor Lunah Lu. Since then she hasn't stopped dancing. She has been part of a troupe since the beginning of her dance career and her love for bellydance grows within every class and performance.
Now in Toronto Tainá is SO glad to have found Dragonfly. Zahira is an amazing instructor and she's very grateful for everything she's taught her so far and very excited to keep learning from her.
Tainá looks forward to performing with this brilliant group.
JANINE, Lead Dancer (currently on leave)
Janine is a graceful and engaging dancer, known for her infectious smile and joyful presence on stage. She is a pleasure to watch perform as her obvious love of dance shines through every move.
After taking a brief Introduction to Bellydance class at a local community centre, Janine became enraptured with this beautiful art form. In 2006, she signed up for classes with Mayada and studied intensively with her for many years. During this time, Janine refined her technique and developed her proficiency with a variety of props, including veil, shamadan, and double cane.
Janine was a founding member of Egyptian Oriental troupe Cairo ala Nar and a lead dancer in Banat el Sharq folkloric troupe, performing regularly at events around Toronto. Some of her favorites include the IBCC Main Stage, the Egyptian Canadian Club, the Great Latin American Folklore show at City Hall, and pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market.
In early 2013, Janine began taking classes with Zahira and Anuka at Dragonfly. She is currently enjoying the diversity that the studio offers and the challenge of learning diverse fusion styles and props. In the summer of 2013, Janine was thrilled to be welcomed into the Dragonfly Student Troupe where she hopes to continue to enchant audiences with every smile and shimmy. She is currently on maternity leave.
INNA, Apprentice Dancer
Inna explores the world through music and dance. She cannot imagine her life without melodies of nature, cultures and the world. Her passionate relationship with music and dance started at the age of four, when her parents brought her to the very first ballroom dance class in kindergarden. It was irresistible love from the first sound.
Growing-up in Ukraine, Inna carried her passion for dancing in her heart and expressed it through performing at local events. She was always curious to experience the endless variety of dance styles. On her journey, Inna learned ballroom and latin, modern and hip-hop, but it was bellydancing where she found the strings of her soul playing to the melodies in some magical harmony.
Since moving to Toronto, she couldn't wait to resume her affair with bellydance. Finally, in 2017 Inna and Dragonfly Bellydance found each other and since that time they were inseparable. In June of 2018 Inna was invited to join the family of Dragonfly Student Troupe where she continues her journey towards expressing her emotions and passions through dance.