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Twin Cities Bellydance
by Katie Sahar
Katie Sahar. After living abroad in China where she earned her undergraduate degree, Katie returned home to the Twin Cities and wanted another adventure-and so started studying Middle Eastern "belly" dance. She immediately fell in love with the music and the movement and what initially was a hobby turned into an all encompassing lifestyle.
For the past decade, she has dedicated her free time studying the art of this dance- she has trained with instructors across the Twin Cities, is mentored by the powerful Aliyah Sahar, and works closely with international star Azad Kaan of Turkey and regularly travels to study with other masters of this dance. She has also completed Journey through Egypt levels 1&2 with renowned dance ethnologist, Sahra Saeeda. In summer of 2019, she went on a 3 week solo trip to Turkey and Egypt and plans to return yearly to the Middle East in order to further deepen her cultural understanding of this art form.
Katie regularly performs as a soloist at regional events and as a featured dancer at Ansari’s Mediterranean Grill in Eagan. In 2019, she formed Sehraya Dance Arts, consisting of avocational dancers with a commitment to excellence in the study and pursuit of Middle Eastern Dance. Katie currently practices out of Crossfit 5885 in Apple Valley, MN and teaches at Center for Performing Arts.
Katie hopes to impart the joy of this dance to her audiences, while maintaining its cultural context and relevance. As a teacher she hopes to inspire the best in her students to achieve their artistic best with strong technique and thoughtful musicality.
St. Petersburg, FL
by Johanna Xenobia
Hip Expressions Belly Dance Studio is a movement, a community, a collaboration - dancers, musicians, artists, yogis, students, professionals, and supporters, of all ages, shapes and sizes... all united around a commitment to community, wellness, and art. ⠀⠀
Hip Expressions was founded in 2004 by Johanna ‘Xenobia’ and Karen Sun Ray, as a belly dance collective, dedicated to creating and sustaining a community of dancers. This started with weekly dance classes, and monthly showcases 'haflas', as a place for dancers to share their art and their passion.⠀⠀
In 2008 we opened our first studio on 62nd Ave. N, consolidating from classes taught in St Pete, Seminole, Tampa, and at USF, and adding regular Polynesian, Jazz, and Burlesque classes.⠀⠀
In 2011, Johanna took the helm as Director, as the Studio expanded into our new Center on 54th Ave nearly four times the size. Now we could serve even a wider variety of movement forms including being an expanding center for Nia in Tampa Bay!