Widely recognized for her dance style, dramatic energy, and vibrant interpretation and technique, Lotus Niraja is a professional Middle Eastern dance artists specializing in Urban, Contemporary and Modern Egyptian and Lebanese belly dance styles. Known for her drum solos, shimmy technique, and warm and giving spirit, her dance style is dynamic, infused with glamour and style!
As one of the top performers and instructors on the East Coast, she is rapidly gaining national and international recognition. As a dancer, her audience loves her energetic, personal elegance and her technique which is expressed with subtle nuances, movements, and emotional interpretation.
Lotus Niraja & The NDC are also now the official hosts of the Belly Dance Nationals Competition!
Her love and passion for dancing bloomed at an early age, as she often accompanied her
mother (who was a dancer) to rehearsals and performances.
In addition, Lotus is the Artistic Executive Director and a Principal Choreographer of the award winning, internationally known The NDC (The Niraja Dance Company). As one of America's premiere bellydance companies, they are most admired for their modern approach to Middle Eastern belly dance style that features classical and contemporary movement, well-rehearsed choreography, haute couture costumes, and a love for a performance well done! Along with innovative choreographies by Lotus, they have established a reputation of presenting Middle Eastern dance with excitement and elegance right along with a hip, modern statement.
Michelle Joyce is currently a working dancer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Formerly a social worker, she has used her counseling skills to develop workshops that help dancers to overcome stage fright, body image issues and and creative blockages.
In 2007, she edited and produced her first belly dance performance DVD, By Dancers For Dancers, a collaborative project by local dancers who had decided to stop waiting for someone else to "discover them" and took matters into their own hands. The success of this DVD launched Cheeky Girls Productions, a company that produces and distributes belly dance instructional and performance DVDs internationally.
She generously donates back to the belly dance world, most recently with a $2,000 scholarship fund for dancers who are struggling with serious illness or caring for a sick loved one.
Aradia of Las Vegas
Aradia has performed as a soloist through out the United States, Canada, Barbados, Egypt and Switzerland. She has danced at many of the top hotels, restaurants and clubs in Las Vegas, as well as performing for Celine Dion's wedding at Caesar's Palace, BlockBuster's premiere opening for "The Mummy" at MGM, and Maxim Magazine's party at the VMA's in Las Vegas. She has appeared in several TV spots on Discovery, Bravo and the Travel Channel. Aradia is a sought after instructor and choreographer, her professionalism and friendly personality make her one fo the most requested dancers in Las Vegas.
Aradia's love for Middle Eastern dance began at the age of 7, a second generation belly dance, and daughter to Serene, Aradia immediately feel in love with the passion and beauty of the dance, and knew this was her calling.
Her style is unique, with an authenticity appreciated by her Middle Eastern audiences. She has diligently worked to become a well-rounded dancer in Egyptian, Lebanese and Turkish oriental dance, as well as the many folkloric dances that comprise the Middle East and North Africa.
Aradia has refrained from studying any of the classical dance forms, such as ballet and jazz, in an attempt to maintain an ethnic purity in her dance style, yet, she continues to be a lifelong student studying with top dancers from around the world, in a quest to expand her knowledge, and understanding of the Middle Eastern culture and dance.
Aradia's performances are full of energy and strength, layered with fluid technique, musicality, artistic emotion and passion. She is truly a dancers dancer, through her extensive training, and sheer joy form creating her art, which is evident in her smile.
Aradia currently teaches workshops, master classes and lectures at Universities, and directs her own professional dance company; Aradia and The Ra Dancers.
Zahra Zuhair is a world-renowned dancer, teacher, and choreographer
She is known for her musicality, flawless technique, and elegant style. She has trained and influenced many of today’s international, bellydance stars such as Jillina, Tamra-Henna, Neena & Veena, Aziza, and others and has performed and taught workshops on 5 continents, including the Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival in Cairo Egypt.
Zahra who is Raqia Hassan’s protege, can be seen on Raqia’s teaching video #4. Zahra, who has a huge dance vocabulary (Turkish, Lebanese, American), is mainly known as an interpreter of the Egyptian style.
Zahra has been going to Cairo since the days of Suhair Zaki and others where she trained with many famous dancers of the golden age of Egyptian bellydance.
Zahra is in great demand all over the U.S.A. and abroad. We are excited to have the Belly Dance Nationals Competition on her World Tour this year!
Amustela is an award winning performer, instructor and producer based in the Washington D.C. area. Her awards include People’s Choice Grand Champion 2004 East Coast Bellydance Classic, First Runner up Jewel of the Nile 2004, Josephine Baker Award for contribution to dance, 2nd Place Troupe 2005 East Coast Bellydance Classic, and third place Jewel of the Nile 2006 and Best in Business Jewel of the Nile 2006, among other distinctive awards.
Amustela has produced and written several successful dance shows. She appears in the DVD “Core Training for Belly Dancers with the Fitness Pharaoh Gerson Kuhr, and has been in demand for many events, restaurant venues and film projects for nearly 2 decades.
Her dance style is largely described as “American” style danse orientale or Vintage cabaret. This style incorporates many influences of the dance as it evolved in the United States from Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Armenian and Eastern European immigrants. With a basis in Classical Egyptian, mixed with the drama of Hollywood musicals, Amustela enjoys performing her unique interpretation of the dance.
Makeda Maysá has been dancing for over five years and has loved every second! Starting her training in Vintage American Orientale, she branched off into American Tribal Style (ATS), improv tribal, tribal fusion, Egyptian, Lebanese, and hip-hop bellydance. Her teachers have included Cyra of Columbia, MD; Lisa Zahiya (2008 Bellydancer of the Universe - Tribal Fusion), and her dance mentor, Lotus Niraja.
Makeda is a proud former member of the Maryland Ensemble of Middle Eastern Dancers and Kallisti Tribal. She has delighted audiences with her unique personal style, a result of her training in such varied forms of bellydance. Known for being able to switch seamlessly from a tribal fusion solo to a flirty Oriental number, Makeda has danced as a soloist at the Heritage Arts Festival, the 5 Seasons Restaurant in Baltimore, Raks and Glitter II, and many private parties and events throughout the Baltimore/Washington Metropolitan area. It has been her privilege as a member of The NDC to share the art of bellydance at wonderful venues throughout the country and on DVD projects, such as IAMED. Her love for dance and for people has led her to become The Belly Dance Nationals Competition's Marketing and Communications Director and the Moderator of the Beauty and Fitness boards on Orientaldancer (www.orientaldancer.net). Makeda is also a frequent contributor on BHUZ. Both BHUZ and Oriental Dance (Bellydance Forum) are devoted to bellydancers and bellydance enthusiasts.
A born and bred Baltimorean, Makeda graduated from Western Senior High School and continued her education at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, where she received a B.A in American Studies, with a concentration in Communications and Popular Culture and minored in creative writing. She graduated Cum Laude, maintained status on the Dean's List and was awarded the honor of American Studies Student of the Year.
After graduation, she pursued a career in the Federal Government and followed her dream to become a licensed make-up artist and is the founder and owner of Makeda Make-Up Artistry(www.makedamakeupartistry.com), as well as the Owner, Founder, and Writer of "The Life of A Ladybug" (http://lifeofaladybug.typepad.com), where she shares the best products for women of color and offers tips and tricks to make women of every color feel their beautiful best.
Makeda is also a wife and mother of a breathtaking daughter .
Roxxanne Shelaby performs throughout Southern California bringing her unique dance style combining her Lebanese/Brazilian heritage and affinity for Egyptian Style Oriental Dance.
Roxxanne is fortunate to have grown up surrounded by Middle Eastern Arts. Her love of Middle Eastern music and dance flourished as a child, growing up at the family owned “Fez” and “Cascades” nightclubs. In this atmosphere, Roxxanne observed Oriental Dance, traditional folk dance and social dance with live music on a nightly basis. She had the pleasure of watching and learning from dancers such as Feiruz Aram, Dahlena, Marie Silva, Sahra (Saeeda), Mohamed and Fatin Mohamed (Komeya Troupe of Egypt) and many others.
She began performing at the age of 5 and professionally at of 16 at the request of Farida Fahmy to represent The Reda Troupe (lead dancer of the National Dance Troupes of Egypt). Roxanne has studied extensively with master teacher and choreographer Sahra as well Farida Fahmy, Mahmoud Reda, Aida Nour and Fifi Abdo.
Roxanne produces “Hypzotica”, a monthly Middle Eastern Dance showcase with live Arabic music providing dancers of all levels the opportunity to experience and perform in an authentic cultural environment.
Roxanne also teaches ongoing classes and workshops locally and internationally in sharing her knowledge of the culture and love for Egyptian Style Oriental and Folklore as well as Lebanese Oriental and Dabke.
Dr. Sunyatta Amen is a natural lifestyle expert with a mission to teach the world to live a natural, sexy life through movement. Dr. Sunyatta, who grew up in a family of traditional healers, wanted to share with others the healing methods and carry on the family tradition.
With Dr. Sunyatta's philosophy of Movement As Medicine TM, she shares her knowledge of healthy movement to the world. Through the ancient art forms of belly dance and her signature Sexual Tai Chi and Sexual Kung Fu, the charismatic Dr. Sunyatta teaches that movement, both external and internal, are keys to vibrant health. “The minute people start moving they feel energetic, refreshed and renewed,” stated Dr. Sunyatta.
In addition to teaching the sways, shimmies and undulations of belly dance from her MamaSita Movement & Wellness Studio in Washington D.C., Dr. Sunyatta travels the world teaching the many art forms of healing movement. These forms consist of ancient exercises that focus on restoring and revitalizing the body’s core and reproductive system by focusing on internal muscle strengthening.
With the integration of proper dietary guidelines and movement, Dr. Sunyatta has helped thousands of women heal womb issues such as fibroids, cysts, long menstrual cycles, and fertility issues without surgery or drugs. Dr. Sunyatta’s signature classes include Womb Yoga, Sensual Tai Chi, Sexual Kung Fu, Funk Yoga and Belly Dancehall.
Dr. Sunyatta also teaches a culinary favorite called Kama Sutra Kitchen. Her holistic approach to men’s health issues is unparalleled and addresses prostate issues, erectile dysfunction and sexual health with optimal health solutions via Sexual Kung Fu.
Dr. Sunyatta is well regarded as an expert on the link between diet, movement and optimal health. Dr. Sunyatta is the Natural Health Advisor for Michael Baisden’s nationally syndicated radio and television programs on ABC Networks as well as the host of The Bush Medicine Radio Program on WPFW on the Pacifica Network. She has been featured in the Washington Post, London Times and Heart & Soul Magazine. She has served as Sexual Health Advisor for several magazines and periodicals including Honey, One World, Vibe, Liquid and Urban Box Office and has also appeared on numerous TV programs including the Montel Williams Show, FOX TV and the BBC.
In 2002, Dr. Sunyatta founded the Belly Dancers of Color Association (BOCA) a non-profit organization with the mission to broaden awareness of the roots of Belly Dance and various forms of cultural movement. Each year Dr. Sunyatta's Movement and Wellness Expo is the largest world dance festival of it’s kind in the U.S.
Dr. Sunyatta has produced the best selling bellydance instructional DVD titled Moor Hips and is the author of the soon to be released World’s Sexiest Cookbook.
Jahzaal's first rendezvous with the art of belly dance was in 2003, during an outing with friends. She had a chance encounter with a featured bellydancer and was pulled up to dance with her. The dancer asked Jahzaal if she was a bellydancer and referred her to Lotus Niraja.
Since then, Jahzaal has studied intensively with Lotus. When she first began she studied via private lessons only. This enabled her to grasp the Middle Eastern dance technique one-on-one with her mentor. Jahzaal eventually began combining her lessons with public dance classes in 2004.
A growing star in her own right, in 2004, Jahzaal was extended a formal invitation to join The Niraja Dance Company. As one of the original members of The NDC, she is a striking performer, bringing fluidity, artistry, sensuality and calmness to the dance and troupe. Her style has evolved into a beautiful fusion of Modern, Lebanese and Egyptian dance. Working closely with Lotus Niraja, Jahzaal has taken on the role of Vice President and stage manager of The NDC.
Jahzaal is a highly requested soloist and has performed at numerous shows, private events and venues all over the US including IAMED and Raqs America.When Jahzaal is not traveling, you can find her as one of the featured dancers at Baltimore's own Cazbar Restaurant.
Jahzaal is the Vice President and Stage Manager for The NDC and the Assistant Director of the Bellydance Nationals Competition.
Ranya Renée began her performing career more than 30 years ago as a theater actress and comedienne, and moved to NYC in 1992 to continue her work as a theater director. She was gradually sidetracked by bellydance until it became her life! One of New York City’s leading Egyptian-style dancer-instructors, Ranya specializes in teaching holistic technique and theatrical performance skills & coaching. She produces live events in New York and tours internationally. Ranya’s signature “Breathwork for Performance” method has enabled thousands of artists worldwide to more effectively connect with their own art, and with their audiences. She strives to create a supportive atmosphere in her workshops for both technical precision and artistic growth. Ranya’s instructional DVDs Bellydance “Egyptian Style: The Baladi” and “Modern Oriental” have earned rave reviews from dancers worldwide. This year she launched her own company, Ginger City Productions, to produce more teaching and performance videos.
Ranya performs and teaches internationally, with past engagements in Japan, Taiwan, Canada, France, Italy, Honduras, Israel and Tunisia. In New York City and around North America, she has danced at museums and cultural festivals as well as in large stage shows. She has been featured twice at the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festval with virtuoso Simon Shaheen’s Near East Music Ensemble. The Tunisian cultural minister for dance commissioned her solo danse orientale performance early in her professional career, accompanied by the Tunisian Troupe Nationale orchestra, for a large gala event in Tunis. Ranya has also performed dance presentations at Central Park Summerstage, the United Nations, the American Museum of Natural History, the Brooklyn Museum, various universities, and Arabic clubs and cultural functions, including weddings.