Our Teachers

Jenna

Bellydance

Jenna is a professional bellydance artist & instructor, and the proud director of DanceGarden LA. Trained in ballet & modern dance from childhood through university, Jenna continues her lifelong passion for dance by soaking up multiple movement disciplines & styles at every opportunity, and passing her knowledge & understanding freely on to her students here in LA and in special workshops nationally & internationally. Having trained in NYC with the legendary Serena, among others, Jenna hopes to keep the beautiful grace of classic bellydance alive. She directs the performing company Phoenyx::BellydanceRising, and is also the star of three highly successful instructional bellydance DVD's. You can read more about Jenna's extensive teaching and performing experience, in NYC, LA and abroad at www.beyondbellydance.com.

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Zahra Zuhair

Bellydance

Zahra Zuhair is co-founder of Dance Garden LA, as well as a master teacher, performer, and choreographer who is world-renowned for her knowledge, authenticity, and dedication to the art of Middle Eastern dance. Raised in oriental dance from a young age, Zahra is known for her musicality, flawless technique, and elegant style. She has trained and influenced many of today’s international, bellydance stars, and has performed and taught workshops on 5 continents, including the Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival in Cairo Egypt. For more information about Zahra, visit her website: www.zahrazuhair.com

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Princess Farhana

Bellydance

Princess Farhana has performed, taught & written about Oriental Dance since 1990, having appeared across the nation, around the world, & at concerts with major Arabic recording stars. Named “Favorite Oriental Dancer 2006” by Zaghareet Magazine, famous for her balancing skills and outrageous belly maneuvers, she is featured on-screen and starring in bellydance DVDs. Trained in classic Egyptian style by the greats (including her first influential teacher, Zahra Zuhair) Farhana is also well-known as a theatrical fusion performer. Her warmth, enthusiasm and adventurous spirit on and off stage captivate audiences and students alike.

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Heather Shoopman

American Tribal Style, Tribal Fusion, and Chakra Dance

Heather is a performer and teacher of Tribal & Tribal Fusion BellyDance, and winner of Champion and People's Choice Awards for Tribal Fusion Soloist at the 2007 Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition in Long Beach.

Dancing from a very young age, Heather's repertoire includes modern, hip hop, jazz, Classical Indian and middle-eastern dance. She fell in love with American Tribal Style belly dance in 2004 after seeing local tribal troupe SubeeDjinn perform. She began to study American Tribal Style (ATS) passionately, and naturally fell into tribal fusion after being inspired by Rachel Brice. A fun and giving teacher, she in turn inspires her students to echo strong technique while feeling confident to express themselves. Heather is gifted with the ability to explain movements so everyone can understand, and have fun doing it!

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Nasila

Bellydance

Nasila has been dancing and performing since the age of 5, exploring ballet, tap, jazz, and gleefully participating in several years of competition show choir. Moments into her first bellydance class with Zahra Zuhair in 2002 she became smitten with Middle Eastern music and movement. Since then she has trained extensively, taking workshops and classes with over 50 different belly dance instructors, many of whom are world-class and/or local super stars in the dance community. She is co-founder of LARaqs.com and performs at local restaurants and shows as a soloist as well as half of the duet Nasila wa Camila: Sharqiyyah Ruh (Eastern Soul). She continues her studies in Middle Eastern dance and folklore while honing her classic Egyptian style and passing on her knowledge through teaching.

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DeVilla

Bellydance and Makeup for Dancers

Award winning dancer, choreographer and make up artist DeVilla has been dancing and performing since the age of six. DeVilla has sought out and studied with some of the worlds best teachers both in the U.S. and in Egypt, and studies extensively with Zahra Zuhair. She is trained in classical egyptian and folkloric styles of middle eastern dance.

Her dance style is a blend of classical egyptian raks sharki, fusion, a bit of campy fun and a love of drama, costuming, make-up and the glamour of old Hollywood!

Her teaching style, while focusing on technique and good posture is revved-up, fast-paced fun, geared to get the dancer moving!

DeVilla performs as a soloist and with her troupe Isis-Siren-Sekhmet and can be seen performing in many shows and restaurants in and around Hollywood.

DeVilla is teaching Beginning belly dance and mixed level drills, combinations and choreography classes. All classes focus on posture, technique, and musicality. Some history and rhythms thrown in for good fun!

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Fahtiem

Bellydance

Fahtiem is in demand worldwide for her signature artistry, embodied in her quote "There are no magic steps -- only the magic you put in every step." She travels the world from New York to China giving bellydance workshops and raqs sharqi performances, inspiring dancers wherever she goes. Her unique belly dance style has been developed over years of training and performing, and she passes it to all her bellydance students with great care.

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Kamala

Bellydance

Kamala began her dance career in Ballet and Jazz. She has performed Raqs Sharki, aka "belly dance", in hundreds of nightclubs, theaters, hotels and events around the world, as well as on television and film. Kamala was a founding member and choreographer for “The Flowers of the Desert”, has produced her own theater productions, and has choreographed and coached many 1st place champions in Belly Dance competitions. Kamala has a broad range of influences. Students will incorporate classical and theatrical Egyptian dance, modern Cairo style, and a touch of Cyd Charisse into performance dances, learning counts and phrasing of Arabic music. Students also bring their imagination to class, and are taught how to construct a choreography. Kamala began teaching at DanceGarden in October 2009, where her many fans look forward to learning her famous bellydance choreographies.

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Helena Vlahos

Bellydance

Helena Vlahos is a legendary belly dancer who is well known for her “Nine Quarter and Dollar Bill Act”. She is in the Guinness Book of World Records for Unique Abdominal Dexterity. Helena started her dance career in Los Angeles, California in the mid 1960's. She moved to Texas in 1971, where she was asked to perform dance at various Greek nightclubs. While there, she ran and operated two belly dance schools. Helena moved back to Los Angeles in 1978 and was invited to perform her unique act on television shows such as “AM Los Angeles”, “That's Incredible”, “Spectacular World of Guinness Records” and many more. In 1990 Helena moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where she taught classes at numerous colleges, dance studios and resorts. She also found time to perform at the Bacchanal Greek Restaurant. She is on the Executive Panel of Judges for Tonya & Atlantis' Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition every February in Long Beach, California. Helena has mentored dancers who have gone on to win titles in competitions including the BDUC. Helena has graced the covers of two magazines: “Studio”, A Quarterly Journal of Folk & International Music & Dance in January 2006 and “Belly Dance”, A Raqs Sharqi Magazine in the summer 2008 Issue. She is also a featured dancer in a new DVD “American Belly Dance Legends” produced by Amaya.

Helena moved back to Los Angeles in the Fall of 2011, where she teaches and performs when not traveling for master workshops.

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Smita

Bollywood Dance

Smita first started dancing at the age of 7. She has trained in Indian folk dance styles, ballet, and jazz. A former group fitness instructor at LA Fitness, Smita enjoys sharing her passion for the arts and helping others achieve their fitness and personal goals. Currently, she is a troupe member and teacher with Bollywood Step Dance - LA's top rated Bollywood Dance Company. With the company, Smita has performed at venues such as Disney's California Adventure Park and Hollywood Bowl, and on shows such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Melrose Place.

Her fun and energetic personality make heart-pumping Bollywood dance a great workout that keeps you smiling the whole time! Combining an aerobic warm-up with choreographies by Bollywood Step's director Yogen Bhagat, Smita gives you the latest moves from India in each class.

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Jayna

Bellydance

Some of Jayna's first memories took place in the middle of the dance floor at home, amongst the painted toes of the ladies of her mother's Bellydance troupe, Caravan. Though most of those toes probably wanted to kick little Jayna (gently, of course) out of their dance space, she was oblivious...the magical sounds of their shimmying coined belts, the beautiful way their hair fanned out when they would spin and turn, the thrill she felt when they would zagahreet like some wild Disney cartoon animals she'd seen on TV on Saturday mornings...it was where she knew she wanted to be.

Today, this is still where she wants to be: more in love with Bellydance than ever, one of Jayna's main goals is to continue to learn and teach the beauty, complexity and emotional camaraderie the incredible art form of Bellydance has to offer. Jayna has participated in many instructional and performance belly dance DVDs and music videos, performed with some of the most innovative oriental dance companies in California, including Jillina's Sahlala Dancers, and has traveled the world with the Bellydance Superstars.

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Tamra-henna

Bellydance

Tamra-henna is an internationally acclaimed performer, choreographer and master instructor of Middle Eastern dance. Her style is solidly rooted in the rich culture of the Middle East where she lived and performed as a soloist for several years. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance from UCLA and has toured as a soloist with the world famous “Bellydance Superstars.” She is currently on faculty at the dance department of Glendale Community College where she teaches both Raqs Sharqi (bellydance) technique and Middle Eastern Dance History. She is the artistic director of the contemporary Middle Eastern dance company Henna & Dates Dance Theater.

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