Our Fabulous 2018 Judges!!!

Maria Sokolova: San Francisco, CA

Originally form Moscow, Russia , Maria is a professional belly dance artist residing in San Francisco Bay Area. She is the winner of several prestigious bellydance competitions among which are 2009 Belly Dancer of the Year, 2013 Belly Dancer of the Universe, reality show Project Bellydance 2 finalist. Her elegant and cheerful dance style made her a sought-after performer in Bay Area community and beyond. She is a frequent invited artist at Arabic, Persian, Turkish public and private events and a passionate supporter of middle eastern arts and culture, in particular oriental dance and music. She has been touring the world with shows and master-classes and has had the honor of dancing for audiences on four continents. Maria is also a popular belly dance instructor and choreographer and an artistic director of her dance troupe ALMAZ. More info: www.orientdancer.com

Aubre Hill:, Los Angeles, CA

Aubre Hill is an international dance artist, teacher, and choreographer based in Los Angeles. Artistic director of the Lumina Dance Co, Qabila Folkdance Co, Beyajja Dance Theatre, and Odjus Ozi, she is a prolific choreographer and producer with a strong focus on solid education, artistic expression, and community connection. Her technical finesse and emotive soul bring together the elements to move and inspire audiences around the world with roots deep within Arabic folk dance and creative work across raqs sharqi & fusion styles. www.aubrehill.com www.aubrehill.com

Janelle Rodriguez: Santa Cruz, CA

Janelle Rodriguez is a belly dance performer, choreographer and musician who has trained in many styles of dance since the age of 5. Based in Santa Cruz, California, Janelle teaches classes and serves as artistic director/choreographer of Desert Dream Dance Company since 2002. She also directs Desert Dream Music Ensemble. With Desert Dream Dance Company and as a solo artist, Janelle gives workshops and performs across the US, inspiring audiences with her musical interpretation and creative expression of belly dance. A long-time student of Suhaila Salimpour, Janelle became level 3 certified in the Suhaila Salimpour format and level 2 certified in the Jamila format in 2014. She performs with Bal Anat, founded by Jamila Salimpour in 1968 and rekindled by Suhaila in 1999. Janelle continues to train with Suhaila, working toward her level Suhaila Salimpour level 4 certification and Jamila Salimpour level 3 certification. www.janelledance.com
and www.DesertDreamDance.com

Basinah: San francisco, CA

Basinah is a San Francisco dancer who has been performing and studying the art of belly dance for a decade and a half! Her first lesson was a birthday present and she had no idea it would turn into a love affair. She is a multi-award winning dancer celebrating over nine accolades, including being the first ever Professional Cabaret Soloist category winner at Hot Raqs 2017! You can find Basinah performing all around the Bay Area at restaurants and public and private events. On September 22 in Santa Cruz, CA Basinah will be teaching a shaabi choreography as one of the workshop instructors for the Coastal Belly Fest!! For more information find her on Facebook at Basinah Raqs Sharqi, instagram @basinahdances or, by email at basinahdances@gmail.com

Courtney: Los Angeles, CA

Courtney is a belly dance artist and instructor based in Los Angeles, where she offers workshops, private lessons, and online classes. In addition to performing in the Los Angeles area, Courtney has had the pleasure of performing and teaching both within the US and internationally. A lifelong student of dance and music, Courtney found Middle Eastern Dance while living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Courtney draws on her previous classical ballet training and extensive music education as a foundation for her training and technique. Courtney has studied extensively with Sandra of San Francisco, Aziza of Canada, and other internationally renowned belly dance artists to further develop her elegant style. courtneybellydance.com

Talia: Brentwood, CA

Talia Soleil is a multi-award winning dancer, choreographer, entertainer and instructor. Owner of Red Door Dance Studio in Northern California, and artistic director of Dansoleil Belly Dance Theater, she is also the founder of Raqs Tiki Kauai Belly Dance Intensive. Known for her theatrical style which is often fused with elements from the many areas she has studied, including her favorites of Jazz Dance, Ballroom and Theater Arts. She is a principal dancer with Dangerous Beauties Belly Dance, and as been seen playing the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Tina Turner and Jackie Kennedy. Talia also works closely with world renown drummer, Issam Houshan, teaching workshops and performing as the Dynamic Duo of Doums and Teks. Her sparkle, humor, and elegant style will warm your heart. taliasoleil.com

Ayesha: MEDFORD, OREGON

Ayesha: MEDFORD, OREGON AYESHA HAS BEEN TEACHING AND PERFORMING FOR THE PAST 40 YEARS. SHE FORMED HER FIRST TROUPE, TROUPE MANDALA, WITH DENISE MANNION IN 1979 AND THEY WENT ON TO WIN NUMEROUS FIRST PLACE AWARDS. AFTER MOVING TO OREGON, AYESHA FORMED AYESHA’S OASIS DANCE COMPANY AND CONTINUED TO WIN MORE COMPETITIONS AS A TROUPE AND AS A SOLOIST. SHE IS KNOWN FOR HER INTRICATE ZIL PLAYING AND INNOVATIVE CHOREOGRAPHIES. www.ayeshasoasis.com

Annette Federico: Fresno, CA

Annette Federico is a professional dance instructor and performer from Fresno, California, who has danced and taught on both coasts of the US and Hawaii. Those familiar with Middle-Eastern restaurants in the Fresno area might remember her from her lengthy tenure as the “house” dancer in local restaurants, where she performed regularly for close to 15 years. Trained in the classic cabaret style of Arabic dance and with a background in dance and musical theatre, Annette delivers performances that showcase the variety and excitement of this style. Annette is often very comedic, to the joy and surprise of her audience, and always skilled, as evidenced by her precision zill playing, fluttering belly rolls and beautiful and intriguing veil work. She teaches dance in Fresno; learn more about her and her classes and performances at bellydancingbyannette.com.bellydancingbyannette.com

Crystal: Hanford, CA

Crystal Ravenwolf is a popular belly dance star and world renown psychic, from California's Central Valley, known for her dynamic stage presence. Crystal danced as a principal dancer, soloist, and choreographer for Andalee’s Eastern Sun Dance Company until 2013 when she branched out on her own as a highly sought after Instructor in Hanford, Ca where she teaches weekly classes and touring nationally Performing and Teaching Workshops at some of the most reputable festivals in North America. Crystal has also teamed up with Internationally known Belly Dance Star and fellow Tarotista Princess Farhana, (Pleasant Gehman) in creating Divination Nation where they tour the country teaching workshops, doing readings and leading paranormal investigations. Their first book Walking the Tarot Path is due to be released in 2016.

Innah: Des Moines, Iowa

Innah is the creative director of Innah’s Middle Eastern Troupe and has being teaching Egyptian style bellydance since 2003.. She is an award winning dancer of more than 9 competition awards including Bellydancer of the Universe, Berlin Cifuentes Dance Festival, Bellydance Nationals, Queen of Raks Sharqi, USA Bellydance Queen. Her favorite styles are megency, oriental and Tarab. Beyond bellydance, Innah’s dance training also includes ballet, pointe, jazz, and latin. www.iowabellydance.com www.iowabellydance.com

Ma*Shuqa Mira Murjan – (Translates: Beloved Sweetheart of Treasure)

Ma*Shuqa is known internationally as the “elegant” performer with a unique style of dancing which blends the music and dance into a compelling art form. Ma*Shuqa teaches a unique Ma*Shuqa Method approach for dancing and playing cymbals in performance to live music. She was the first dancer to dance with Isis Wings – and is known for her performances with Isis Wings.

Ma*Shuqa has taught classes at her Los Gatos Dance and Photography Studio for 43 years. She has been teaching and coaching for over 40 years and is known for the Ma*Shuqa Method format of developing unique dance styles – that brings out the best in each student. See information at her website for her annual Diva Professional Development Intensive Retreats. MaShuqa.com

She and her husband, Carl Sermon, a performance photographer, offer photo sessions at their Dance and Photography Studio with coaching and posing for professional performance images. www.CarlSermonPhotography.Zenfolio.com www.CarlSermonPhotography.com

Fatima

Fatima is a prominent Middle Eastern dancer, vendor, instructor, coach, and sponsor. Born in Africa, Fatima has always carried dance in her heart since having been introduced to its beauty in her father's native home, the Sudan. After over 20 years in the medical field, Fatima "retired" to a life of dance. She travels the world to dance, teach, inspire, and vend beautiful clothing and accessories. She spreads her heartfelt feeling for the dance everywhere she goes. Sacramento, California, is home to Fatima's Dance Studio & Bazaar.

Lydia

Lydia has been bellydancing since 1998. Specializing in Tribal Fusion style belly dance since 2000, she also has training in Egyptian, Lebanese, and Turkish style bellydance, ballet, modern dance, music, and the visual arts. Lydia is the director of Tanjora Tribal Bellydance, Banat Tanjora Ghawazee Bellydance, and the Arabian Nights Bellydance Entertainment Agency, and was the bellydance instructor at California Arts Academy in Fresno from 2004 - 2014. She has performed at several local restaurants, including The Mediterranean, Ya Hala, The Phoenician, and Noah's Bar and Grill, and is also a member of Eastern Sun Dance Company.

Mandy Small: California

Mandy Small is a dedicated tribal belly dancer and performer. For nearly a decade she study and performed American Tribal Style® Belly Dance in Phoenix, AZ with the renowned Kamalah Tribal. Since relocating to California last year, she has joined Brazen Tassel Tribal Belly dance, Fresno's premiere ATS® troupe. She is certified as an ATS® teacher and is a FatChanceBellyDance® sister studio. She was honored recently to participate in the Ajna Tribal Global Collective, bringing a double sword improvisation language to ATS®. In addition to a vast knowledge and love of all things ATS®, Mandy also has background in several other styles of tribal improvisation and tribal fusion. She is currently the co-director of the LookingGlass collective, a multi-state experimental tribal improv fusion troupe and can be found at performances and workshops across the Western U.S.

Dhyanis: California

Lifetime dancer Dhyanis travelled abroad for 5 years dancing and studying in Europe, Greece, Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, Israel and more. She took her “Troupe Dhyanis” to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival during the summer of 2000 to showcase several styles of the dance. Troupe Dhyanis won Bellydancer of the Year both 2003 and 2012, and she won Grand Dancer and Duet in 2002. Dhyanis is also an award-winning costume designer for theaters around the Bay Area, and currently has a webstore at www.dhyanis.com

Jim Karagozian: California

Jim Karagozian is a Fresno, CA native and picked up a kanun for the first time in the 1970’s. He started the band Mirage over 10 years ago and has been seen on the Rakkasah festival stage and various events both public and private playing everything from classic belly dance music to tradidtional Armenian and Turkish folk music. Mirage has several beautiful acoustic albums available.

Faisal Zedan: California

Born in Beirut, Lebanon and raised in Oum Dbaib, Syria, Faisal Zedan grew up impassioned with the Derbakki drum. At the age of 15, he embarked on a journey of learning through exposure to a wide repertoire of Arabic classical and contemporary music. Arriving in California in 1992 he joined the acclaimed UCLA Near East Music Ensemble. Faisal is currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and works regularly as a performer, collaborator and teacher. www.faisalzedan.com www.faisalzedan.com

Shady: California

Shady is a part of Diamond Pyramid Imports which is the largest belly dance supply distributor in the US and co-produces Cairo Shimmy Quake, a large belly dance festival in Southern, CA. If you have a drum you biught at a belly dance festival, there is a good chance you bought it from him! www.diamondpyramid.com www.diamondpyramid.com

Tim Bolling: California

Tim Bolling is a lifelong percussionist and drum set player. He is known as a "dancer's drummer" for his focus on playing to a dancer's particular style and ability, and has played for top belly dancers and dance events in California for 20 years. Tim enjoys teaching music and drumming workshops for both drummers and dancers, as well as playing for dance classes. Tim Bolling Facebook