Aubre Hill (Owner, Director) is an international dance artist and choreographer and the owner/director of Movement Art Space. Her training includes extensive years in Raks Sharqi Bellydance, Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Hiphop, Musical Theatre, Pilates, and Folk dance. This training helped develop a style original to Aubre's artistic voice, which gave her a place onstage with the Bellydance Superstars and countless other theatre and concert productions. Performing across Europe, Egypt, Asia, and North America, she has become one of the most sought after dance artists, including residences at the Folies Bergere, recent acclaimed guest artist for "Fuse the World" (a full dance production in Taipei, Taiwan), and her own show on the Discovery channel.
Aubre created the Lumina Bellydance Company after coming off tour and wishing to push the ideas and expectations of bellydance. This company has gone on to influence and change the scene of bellydance, and many of the company members have gone on to successful solo and group careers. She has produced a wide range of performances including "Sketches of Arabia," "Once Upon a Dream," "From Folk to Fusion," and "Noir Romantique" bringing together artists from different genres and backgrounds to express and explore various themes as well as the first Maghreb Weekend Intensive and was voted 2014's top promoter of the year. She is also a regular guest artist at Zulu Lounge, a quarterly event hosted by Zulu Tattoo to bring arts and social awareness together.
In balance with pushing the boundaries, Aubre continues to be a resource of traditional Arabic folk dance ("You must know the past in which you are building your future.") In the fall of 2011, she founded one of the first all Arabic folk dance companies in the United States, the Qabila Foundation, and she is commonly seen performing & teaching extreme fusion & expression along side tradition & historical culture. She is the owner and director of Movement Art Space and co-director of LA Raqs. Her technical finesse and emotive soul bring together the elements to move and inspire audiences around the world.
Courtney is a Los Angeles based multi award-winning belly dance artist. She travels nationally and internationally performing and instructing.
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 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.
Courtney has a Bachelor of Arts in Music focusing on Ethnomusicology from Columbia University. She is a classically trained pianist, flutist, and vocalist, lending natural musicality to every performance. Courtney’s extensive study of music theory, ear training, and music’s cultural context drive her passion for Middle Eastern Dance not only as art, but also for its roots as folk dance.
Awards and Honors
Level 1 Certified – Suhaila Salimpour School of Belly Dance, 2014
Level 1 Certified – Jamila Salimpour School of Danse Orientale, 2014
2nd Runner-Up – Egyptian Category, Belly Dancer of the Universe, 2013
3rd Runner-Up – Universal Category, Belly Dancer of the Universe, 2013
People’s Choice – Drum Solo Category, Belly Dancer of the Universe, 2013
3rd Runner-Up – Universal Category, Belly Dancer of the Universe, 2012
Congeniality Award – Egyptian Category, Belly Dancer of the Universe, 2012
1st Place – Diamond/Professional Solo Category, Jewel of the Sierra, 2011
3rd Place – Emerald/Live Music Improvisation Category, Jewel of the Sierra 2011
Courtney was also a member of the cast of Season 2 of the internet based reality series Project Belly Dance.
In addition to her work as a solo artist, Courtney is a member of the award-winning duo Sassafras with her dance partner Lara and is an alumna of Khamsin, directed by Sandra.
As a second-generation Bellydancer, Jayna Manoushe grew up thinking that EVERYONE'S mama must have been involved in Raqs Sharqi! All kids had an old playing father and it was typical to have jovial music and dance parties for every holiday, naturally! Though Jayna did not actually begin to train in Bellydance until she was about 20 (she had to initially rebel a TEENY from her mother's path), she had participated in gymnastics, jazz, ballet and was very active on the dance teams in all of her schooling (even, ahem, the cheer squad in Jr. High...). It is in Middle Eastern dance where Jayna finds comfort, familiarity and an all-encompassing feeling of love; it's just like being at home. Being half Armenian, Jayna is innately passionate about food as well! A side project of hers, "JaynaCakes" produces grain, dairy and refined sugar-free goodies that are delicious, nutritious and the perfect fuel for Bellydancing! In Jayna's classes, you can expect a juicy warm up, technique, floor patterns, mini combos, choreography and laughs...lots and lots of laughs-they're great for the abdomen!
Princess Farhana (Pleasant Gehman) has performed, taught, researched and written about belly dance and burlesque since 1990. She has appeared in Egypt, Turkey, Hong Kong and Australia; toured several times across Europe and The United Kingdom, as well as throughout North America. An artistic chameleon and a boundary-pushing pioneer, she performs many styles of dance with ease, from ultra traditional to contemporary belly dance and burlesque. Her diverse talents encompass visual, literary, musical and dramatic arts as well as dance. She has fronted three bands, and is featured as an actor in several motion pictures and television shows, and has been interviewed for numerous feature-length documentaries, including director Steve Balderson's "Underbelly: A Year In The Life Of Princess Farhana".
Trained in Egyptian style belly dance by Zahra Zuhair in Los Angeles and Raqia Hassan in Cairo among many others, The Princess is well known as a theatrical belly dance fusion performer, conceiving and executing fantasy tableaux in minute detail, a dramatically recreating vintage styles of Oriental Dance from the Edwardian Era, the 1920's, The Egyptian Golden Age, and the American Cabaret Style of the Sixties and Seventies
She has starred in seventeen instructional and performance DVDs. Her most recent projects include her two new books, "The Belly Dance Handbook" (January 11, 2014) and the memoir "Showgirl Confidential: My Life Onstage, Backstage And On The Road" (published by Punk Hostage September, 2013). Her latest instructional DVD "Strike A Pose: How To Make The Camera Love You", was released in June 2013.
The Princess is known for her high-concept, innovative performances, dramatic stage presence, and incredible abdominal work. Her warmth, enthusiasm, extensive knowledge and her adventurous spirit -both on and off stage- captivate audiences worldwide.
Shana is a Southern California native, with a heart that is all Egyptian. From the very first taste, she fell in love with bellydance and began to intensely study technique, history, culture, movement, language, and rhythm, longing for the essence of this beautiful and ancient art form. Shana is a long time student of Aubre Hill, a graduate of Sahra Saeeda’s Journey through Egypt program, a certified Cultivate of Rachel Brice’s 8 Elements, and a life-long student of Egyptian dance and culture. She has performed both as a soloist and also with a variety of Los Angeles based dance companies, and is currently a principal dancer in Qabila Dance Company and a member of the Seraphim Arabesque Ensemble. Having traveled to Egypt numerous time to study dance and culture first-hand, her solid background in Arabic folkdance and Raqs Sharqi bellydance, along with her deeply rooted love for Arabic culture will help students to build a strong foundational skill set in technique, mechanics, body awareness, musicality, and cultural context, which is sure to inspire and cultivate your own love for this dance.
Stefanie Bernhard has been wearing dancing shoes her whole life and has always loved learning. She has studied a variety of styles including ballet, jazz, tap, musical theater, contemporary modern dance and bellydance. She graduated with a degree in Performing Arts and Social Justice, emphasis in Dance, from the University of San Francisco, where she had the privilege of studying modern dance with a variety of teachers both on and off campus. Stefanie has performed with modern dance choreographers in Los Angeles and has recently started to experiment more with the fusion of contemporary dance and bellydance.
Stefanie has also been teaching a unique movement technique called the Grace Somatomorphic Technique (GST®) for over 7 years and brings her strong knowledge of functional anatomy to her perspective on movement.