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Sonyaemail sonya

Sonya Blacker founded Arabesque in 2004, herself an Award-Winning belly dancer, certified in Cairo Egypt 2006 (her 10th year of dedicated study), who was looking to offer the dance community a choice for open & honest sharing of this beautiful & sacred art through dance instruction for adults. She believes that dance lessons should offer quality instruction as well as fun. Sonya strives for good communication between instructor and student so that the student can be excited about their progress. Every single student is different & that is an important spice of life.

Choreography-The Discipline of Mind & Body. Arabesque classes focus on the individual, with technique over choreography in goal - Not just leaning a dance, but how-to dance. Classes begin with warm-up stretches & isolation training, instruction in the basic steps then move to more polished combinations followed by options for clean layering, in the more complex combination classes. Sonya begins by demonstrating the move or combination, then breaks it down into its parts. Students would then have the chance to practice the elements slowly without music or half-tempo, and finally up to speed with music. Individual attention is given to all students, with variations to accommodate differences in students if need be.

A lifetime student, Sonya is a firm believer in furthering her own education & experience by taking and teaching Seminars across the globe, believing we all have more to learn in this rich, cultured artform that brings expression, pride & joy to hundreds of women each year.

For Sonya's Full Bio Click Here

elizaemail eliza

Eliza first discovered belly dance at a Fat Chance Belly Dance performance in San Francisco in 1998. Enthralled by the fluidity and intensity of the dancers, she started taking classes in Chicago with Read My Hips Director Stephanie Barto and Co-Director Heather Stants. Eliza was a principal dancer with Read My Hips from 1999 to 2004. In 2005 she co-founded Jezebelly Tribal Belly Dance, which continues in the tradition of improvisational (ITS) belly dance. Eliza is the director of her apprentice troupes BellyRing (ITS) and Spellbound (Tribal Fusion), which feature her more advanced level students.

In 2009 Eliza branched out from group dancing and began performing as a solo artist. With an overpowering interest in developing her technical and interpretive dance skills, she has taken advanced and teacher level intensive workshops with some of the leading fusion dancers and instructors including Zoe Jakes, Mardi Love, Rachel Brice, Deb Rubin, Mira Betz, Jill Parker, and her mentor, Heather Stants.

In 2006 she joined the teaching staff at Arabesque Dance & Fitness where she offers instruction to intermediate and advanced level students in Improvisational Tribal Style (ITS) and Tribal Fusion Belly Dance.

Eliza's classes focus on the form and movements particular to Tribal Style Belly Dance and emphasize proper posture, fluidity, strength and clarity of movement, as wel as technique. Her classes are for intermediate as well as for more advanced traditional belly dancers who want to add tribal elements to their current repertoire. She also teaches a multi-level drills class, Choreo, Core & More, that tones, strengthens, and develops the principal muscles used in belly dance.

Christianaemail christiana

Christiana first discovered bellydance while attending a friendís performance at a local suburban festival, but it wasnít until 2007 when she took her first class at Arabesque Dance Studios. Immediately hooked, Christiana has continued her study of both Tribal and Orientale bellydance at Arabesque under the direction of her mentors, Eliza and Sonya.

Christiana enjoys performing for all types of audiences, especially those that are unfamiliar with bellydance. She has been a proud member of BellyRing since its formation under the direction of Eliza of Jezebelly. BellyRing is a tribal bellydance troupe that incorporates Improv Tribal Style (ITS) and choreography to create unique group performances. Her passion for bellydance drives her to perform regularly both as a solo artist and with several other troupes including Sonya's Ro-He and most recently Sabahaat.

Christiana strongly believes in continuous learning and expanding oneís dance vocabulary, no matter what the dance form. Her mentors, Eliza and Sonya, as well Aziza, Mahmoud Reda, Mardi Love, Mira Betz, Rachel Brice and Zoe Jakes, have all influenced her love of bellydance; she has a deep admiration for each of these artists and has enjoyed learning from each of them. Christianaís life-long passion for dance has led her to the study various dance forms throughout the years including hip hop, burlesque and 11 years of ballet, tap and jazz.

Jonseyemail jonsey

Jonsey had never seen a belly dancer when she walked into her first class at Arabesque. One class was all it took; she was hooked and has been studying various forms of belly dance continuously since 2005. An active member of the award-winning troupe Ro-He since 2007, August 2009 found Jonsey competing solo in the Maqam Challenge Chicago, winning both 1st place and peopleís choice trophies in the student soloist category. She has studied extensively with her mentor Sonya and such a love of belly dance has lead her to study with a wide range of instructors in various belly dance styles such a Orientale, ITS, and Tribal Fusion.

A teacher by trade, Jonsey firmly believes that learning never stops, and that itís never too late to learn something new, as her passion for belly dance has now led her to introduce others to all the beauty belly dancing offers, teaching at Arabesque since October 2009.

kamrahemail kamrah

Kamrah started belly dance when she picked up a bunch of cheap VHS tapes at a time when she was in need of some inspiring exercise videos. That was over a decade ago, and Kamrah hasnít stopped dancing since! She started in cabaret-style belly dance (primarily American Cabaret) and has embraced Tribal Fusion and more traditional styles (Lebanese and Egyptian) more recently. She is a versatile belly dancer, and audiences have come to expect the unexpected from her. Performances can be anything from traditional Egyptian or Lebanese, to Tribal Fusion, to fantasy cosplay (costume play) and theater pieces. She has been a member of two professional troupes and is currently a soloist. She has only just recently moved to Chicago from Tucson, Arizona.

Kamrah has nearly a lifetimeís experience in music (piano, violin, cello, and guitar), martial arts (kung fu, tae kwon do, Japanese-style kenpo, and tai chi), and anatomy training (massage therapy) that informs her musicality, power, presence, and fluidity on stage. Massage therapy training gives her an in-depth understanding of the workings of the muscles used in dancing, and she uses this knowledge in training her students for safe and powerful belly dance movements.

Instructors that have inspired Kamrah include Helena Vlahos, Asharah, Ariellah, Princess Farhana, Sadie, and Fahtiem.

ellenemail ellen

Ellen has been studying belly dance for over 10 years and dancing other styles for even longer. Her formal study began in Seattle with the Legendary Delilah. While in the Northwest Ellen co-founded the troupe Raqs Serpentine and hosted monthly belly dance shows for over 5 consecutive years. Ellen has been influenced by many styles and teachers over the years, especially Tamallyn Dalall, Amy Sigil and Boogie McLaren. After leaving the west coast for Chicago she found the dance community at Arabesque to be warm and welcoming. While Ellen enjoys traditional and newer styles of belly dance, she finds her style is an eclectic mix of what feels expressive and funky but most of all itís an artistic exploration of whatever life brings her. She says,

"It is a great privilege to be able to share that [concept] with others on the stage and off. This is truly an ancient ritual that will live on as long as there are people on the earth. Belly dance has had so many names and the debate as to where it all began will go on forever. For me it is not so important to figure out who was really the first belly dancer, or mimic their costumes exactly. I am happy to recognize its diverse and ancient roots and allow my spirit to soar in the dance and do what feels good to me as a dancer and a woman. Delilah once said to me that "Belly Dance doesnít come from Egypt or Turkey or wherever. It comes from women!" And so I realized that it comes from me. It is a holistic way of relating to the physical body that involves an increasing awareness on all levels: physical, mental, and spiritual. Dance unites every aspect of our being. It helps us to balance the harmony between the body and spirit. It does not negate the mind, but on the contrary affirms it and reconciles it with our sensual nature. This is a fundamental part of living and processing our experiences."

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