2018 Teachers

April Rose

Meet April

April Rose

A dynamic and encouraging instructor, April takes a thoughtful, rigorous and playful approach to teaching. An internationally sought-after performer, she’s taught in more than 20 countries, sharing movement and research that highlights the timeless beauty and modern versatility of bellydance.

April holds a Masters degree in Dance Studies from UCLA, where she investigated bellydance history and was trained in choreographic method. She was a principal performer with UNMATA and Bellydance Superstars and was the first certified teacher of Amy Sigil’s I.T.S. Passionate movers study with April at Rose Movement Studio in Austin Texas and online at Rachel Brice’s DaturaOnline.com

For more information, visit: aprilrosedance.com

Bindu Bolar

Meet Bindu

Bindu Bolar, fondly called Tribalina, is an international tribal fusion belly dance, Bollywood fusion, belly animation, popping and animation artist. With more than 15 years experience teaching and performing, she is one of the most sought after dance instructors in India. Founder and artistic director of Lights Camera Dance, a dance and event management company in Bangalore, Bindu is the first Belly Animation artist in India to formulate a unique fusion of her own.
After balancing a career in software with her dancing, she followed her calling to move completely into dance and believes it’s the best decision she’s ever made. She’s completed Rachel Brice’s 8 Elements Initiation Certification and trained under Zoe Jakes and Carolena Nerricio. She has also taken workshops and intensives with many other dance teachers in the US and other countries.

She’s taught workshops in the US, Canada, Germany, Italy and China and taught, “The Tribal Tattva” in more than 20 cities in India. She’s also represented India at international dance festivals including Elevation, Tribal Fest and Cues and Tattoos in the US, Tribal Umrah in Italy, Art One Nation in China, and British Columbia Belly Dance festival in Canada. She has performed and taught in numerous festivals in India and was a Top 30 contestant in the reality TV show “Dance Plus.” Bindu is the first Indian to win an International Belly Dance title in the Solo Tribal Category — Belly Dancer of the Year 2015 Solo Tribal category in California. She was also the winner of 2013 Hipnosis, the first belly dance competition in India and she has judged competitions nationally and internationally.

Donna Mejia

Meet Donna

Donna Mejia, transnational fusion dance artist, dialogs the secular dances of North Africa and the Arab World with American Hip Hop dance and sub-genres of electronic dance. She also teaches the Brazilian Silvestre Dance Technique and is a primary representative after twenty years of practice. Donna joined the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Theatre and Dance department in 2012 as the first Assistant Professor of tribal fusion dance globally. She directs the graduate teaching fellows program in dance and is a member of the Faculty Leadership Institute. She’s also affiliate faculty for Gender Studies and Ethnic Studies and is academically conversant in related fields such as anthropology, educational theory and digital media studies.

Donna lectures and performs across the U.S. and abroad, presents workshops for a wide range of groups including political refugees and delivers keynote addresses at national spirituality conferences and diplomacy schools among others. She received her Master of Fine Arts from Smith College on full fellowship and has served as resident artist for 18 universities, headlined more than 100 festivals since 2012, and received the Fulbright Association’s 2011 S.J.C. honor for international dance research.

She was the choreographer and solo dancer featured in the 2015 NYC off-Broadway production of 11 Reflections on September, and performed the show at the venerable LaMama Theatre, The Apollo Theater and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She was featured by USA Today as a prominent artist in its review of new images of Black Women in contemporary media (February 2015). Donna recently joined the creative team for the documentary film Bella Gaia.
(https://donnainthedance.com/) and is recording a musical/video EP with collaborators Ian and Khadri Bennett of Lifted Media and Film.

Ebony Qualls

Meet Ebony

Ebony’s playful and sharing spirit flavors her performances and her teaching style. A founding instructor of Sahara Dance – Washington DC’s Center for Middle Eastern Dance – Ebony teaches traditional and urban fusion belly dance. She has been teaching for more than 14 years and her students describe her classes as “fun” and “challenging.” Newcomers to belly dance are Ebony’s favorite students and a major source of inspiration to her.

Strong technique, musicality, and innovation are the foundations of Ebony’s colorful dance presence and she performs both traditional raqs sharqi and her own dynamic fusion belly dance style, which originated through her background in oriental and urban dance genres. She has taught and performed in Asia, Canada, Europe and the United States and toured internationally with the world famous Bellydance Superstars and Bellydance Evolution and has performed in and choreographed for Zoe Jakes’ House of Tarot. Ebony has performed with Grammy nominated band Thievery Corporation, electronic musician and performance artist Peaches, and with Turkish/Electronic fusion recording artist Oojami.

A member of the award winning troupe Raqs Sahara, Ebony has guest performed with Solstice Ensemble, has directed fusion troupes Raquettes ShimmyPop and Raqs Caravan Urban, and is a soloist at a variety of venues including restaurants, private parties, weddings, festivals, concerts and theaters. She has starred in several music videos, on television shows and has headlined at major belly dance festivals such as Art of The Belly, Theatrical Bellydance Conference and Rakkasah Spring Caravan. She has also choreographed for Raqs Sahara, Sahara Tribal, Raqs Caravan West, Raqs Caravan East, and has directed both Raquettes ShimmyPop and Raqs Caravan Urban.

Ebony continues her own dance studies, training with world-renowned master instructors from traditional raqs sharqi and tribal fusion circuits.

Elizabeth Ashner

Meet Elizabeth

Elizabeth performer, teacher, director and event sponsor. has been teaching tribal fusion belly dance for more than 13 years. She loves inspiring her students and seeing them transform through the strength and artistry born of disciplined, joyful practice. As the hostess and founder of the Elevation Belly Dance Extravaganza,she continues to be inspired by, in awe of, and extremely grateful to this amazing global tribal dance community.

Madame Onça

Meet Madame Onça

Madame Onça, aka Lauren Onça O’Leary, is a career entertainer based in Richmond, VA. She has traveled internationally, teaching and performing dance, torch-songs, and stagecraft. She has taught at TribalCon, TribalFest, Tribal Revolution and Elevation. Connecting meaningfully with audiences has led her to become a regularly featured emcee at festivals nationwide.

Committed to nurturing community, she hosts local classes, workshops and events, including Bandit Queens, a monthly bellydance showcase. Onça has produced more than twenty weekend festivals in both bellydance and the variety arts, including the Virginia Theatrical Bellydance Festival and the 2018 reboot of the notorious TribOriginal: Tribal Dance, Music & Culture Camp. Previously, she owned of a large dance and folk-art center in Asheville, NC, while directing her award-nominated dance company. Since relocating to Virginia, Onça has created two instructional dance DVDS, re-published her critically acclaimed “World Spirit Tarot” card deck and its companion World Spirit Tarot Adult Coloring Book, and A Krampus Carol, which she authored and illustrated.

It is her stalwart belief that “The greatest form of rebellion is joy.”


Rachel Brice

Meet Rachel

Rachel Brice first fell in love with Belly Dance at 16 years old, when she saw The Gypsy Moor Dancers (who later became Hahbi’Ru) at a Renaissance Faire and started classes with Atesh immediately. Soon after, she discovered a video of Suhaila Salimpour, which she obsessively studied. She began making her living by performing American Cabaret Belly Dance at restaurants and teaching yoga while putting herself through school.

A decade later she discovered Carolena Nericcio’s American Tribal Style, which shifted her aesthetic from nightclub to nomad and Jill Parker became her technique inspiration. She studied several world and contemporary dance forms as she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Dance Ethnology. The fresh immersion in these dance forms and exposure to San Francisco culture began to mix with her 10 years as a restaurant dancer and she (unwittingly) started to blend these influences and create something new.

In 2001 she was accidentally discovered by rock mogul Miles Copeland and toured for several years with his company The Bellydance Superstars. Through The BDSS, Rachel had the opportunity to work with the incredible Mardi Love, who quickly became her hero and muse. Mardi also started with Cabaret before discovering Tribal, and as they made dances and costumes together for BDSS, a new style, influenced by the late 1800s to 1920s, emerged. These international tours, along with the newly born YouTube, sparked a global interest in this emerging style of Belly Dance, which has gone on to grow, change, and evolve.

Today, Rachel studies with her teachers Carolena Nericcio and Gary Kraftsow and takes classes with her colleagues whenever possible. When she’s not teaching on the road, she teaches at her home studio Datura, located in Portland Oregon.

Rose Harden

Meet Rose

Rose Harden, multi-talented artist and Tribal Fusion belly dancer, is a knowledgeable, compassionate and engaging teacher, fully committed to creating a positive yet challenging learning environment. For more than 15 years, she has guided students in a practice that cultivates strong body awareness, embodied intention and a solid technical foundation. Rose is also a Pilates Reformer instructor, which gives her a deeper understanding of the human body and how it functions and enriches her teaching.

A passionate member of the vibrant San Francisco performance community since 1999, Rose approaches performance as an extension of her visual arts training, (BFA, Rhode Island School of Design) crafting choreography with intention. She continually strives to grow as she continues her studies with Dunham, Silvestre Technique and Contemporary African Diaspora Forms in the San Francisco Bay area.

Rose has contributed her artistry, innovative concepts and choreography to dance companies including Ultra Gypsy, which she co-directed for three years, the Barbary Coast Shakedown, Beats Antique and the Bhoomi Project, Kami Liddle’s Goldstar Dance Company. She also co-directs Dangerous Beauties Belly Dance.

A passionate costume designer, Rose has created innovative costuming for Zoe Jakes and Beats Antique, Gold Star Dance Company, Belly Dance Superstars, Suhaila Dance Company, Rosin Covin at the Edwardian Ball, and many Bay Area performers. Her original ready-to-wear designs have been featured at NYC Fashion Week as a part of the One Mama Collection.

Silvia Salamanca

Meet Silvia

Silvia Salamanca is an internationally acclaimed performer and instructor from Mallorca, Spain. A life-long dancer, she graduated at the age of nineteen with a major in ballet and performed professionally as a modern dancer in major Europe festivals with the contemporary dance company of the University of Barcelona.

She started her career as a belly dancer in 2001, when she realized the enormous benefits that this art form brings to women in both body and soul. In her studio, she sees women getting closer to their self-identity, discovering themselves on new levels, increasing their self-esteem, and getting deeply in touch with the feminine essence in their soul through belly dance.

When she found tribal fusion in the US, she combined it with art forms from her own cultural roots: Spanish gypsy and Arabic. It was her work in the field of Zambra Mora (Spanish gypsy-oriental dance fusion) that first gained Silvia international recognition and today she headlines and teaches at major festivals worldwide. She’s also known for her work dancing with swords, which she feels depicts the strength of women.

Silvia is the director of Shunyata Belly Dance, a nationally-awarded tribal fusion company, and a proud member of Urban Gypsy, Houston’s premiere ITS troupe. In order to reach as many students as possible, she is proud to present two instructional Zambra Mora DVDs: “Spanish Gyspy Passion” and “Fire of the Spanish Gypsies.”


Tejas Hamsell

Meet Tejas

AuroTejas Hemsell was born in India and has devoted her life to the study of Indian Classical Dance from the age of five. Tejas runs The Shakti Dance School located in Colorado Springs and Denver where she teaches and performs Odissi, East Indian Classical Dance and Bollywood Dance.

Odissi is a sacred and ancient Indian Classical Dance from the temples of India. Tejas is very passionate about cultural education and organizes World Dance Festivals to promote various styles of Traditional Cultural Dances from around the Globe since 2006 in Colorado and India. For more info on Tejas please visit shaktidancestroupe.com