Since childhood Zahra has been exposed to Middle Eastern music and culture through her Egyptian-German heritage, which sparked a passion for dancing. A second cousin to the famous late, Golden Era dancer and film actress, Taheyya Kariokka also Tahiya Carioca pictured on the right, dancing has been a passion from a young age.
However, it was not until 2006 that Zahra began her formal study of Egyptian dance. After training with as many local dancers as possible, her passion led her to begin travelling outside of Edmonton to train with dancers of origin and world renowned dancers from around the globe. Zahra travelled to Egypt to immerse herself in the culture as well as to the USA and across Canada to partake in festivals and workshops.
Zahra has performed in many local festivals and events such as; Capital Ex, Cariwest, the International Fringe Festival, the Heritage Festival, the Lebanese Festival, Kaleido Family Arts Festival and many other venues. In 2008, Zahra was invited to join the Edmonton Bellydance Ensemble whom she trained and performed with for 2 years. With EBE, she performed at the International Bellydance conference in Toronto in 2010, and was a principal dancer in EBE’s sold out shows “East Meets West”, and “Imratu”.
Zahra continues to nurture her love of dance by participating in workshops and continually studying the dance and culture. She has participated in live workshops with world renowned dancers such as: Mohamed Shahin (Egypt), Randa Kamel (Egypt), Tito (Egypt), Shahrzad (USA), Aida Nour (Egypt), Hadia (Canada), Aziza (Canada), Bozenka (USA), Jillina (USA), Yasmina Ramzy (Canada), Cassandra Shore (USA), Asi Haskal (Israel), Sonia (USA), Rachel Brice (USA), Nath Keo (Canada), Colleena Shakti (India), Tamra Henna (USA) and more . When she cannot be there in person, Zahra participates in workshops and online courses and has studied online with many dancers including: Shahrzad (Egypt), Oksana (Egypt), Mohamed Kazafy (Egypt), Amanda Rose (USA) and more.
Zahra has completed all 3 Levels of Middle Eastern Dance Instructor training with Hadia of Canada. She has taught at Grant MacEwan University, the U of A, Golds Gym, and as the Co-Owner of Desert Rose Dance Studios. Zahra currently teaches weekly classes and hosts workshops in Edmonton, AB. Zahra’s passion is sharing the art of Bellydance (Raqs Sharqi) with her students and she enjoys seeing people of all ages and backgrounds embrace their femininity through dance. Zahra is a popular performer in Edmonton, where you can find her performing in local restaurants as well as private events for weddings and special events.
GUEST INSTRUCTOR: Yasmeen
From a young age Yasmeen has had a love of dance and culture. Coming from an Egyptian-German background she was introduced to belly dancing as a child. Yasmeen started to pursue belly dance in grade seven after her mother took her and her sister Zahra, to an intro belly dance class. Since then Yasmeen has performed in many festivals and city events as a soloist and in various troupes. In 2008, and 2010 Yasmeen took part in the International Bellydance Conference of Canada and participated in workshops with world renowned instructors like Tito (Egypt), Ada Nour(Egypt), Jillina (USA), and Bozenka (USA). Having joined the Edmonton Bellydance Ensemble (EBE), she performed at the IBCC 2010 as a part of the troupe as well as in EBE's debut show "East Meets West" and "Imratu". Yasmeen has successfully completed Hadia Bellydance Teacher Training levels 1 and 2 and performs regularly in Edmonton's Greek, Turkish, and Lebanese restaurants.
Yasmeen not only loved the Middle Eastern culture and music but was also was drawn to Latin music. It was not until 2008 that she began formal training. In 2010 Yasmeen auditioned and was accepted in the Ladies Dance Team, SALT who she performed with at the International Salsa Congress of Calgary in 2011. In March 2011, Yasmeen successfully complicated the Zumba Fitness Instructor Training and has been actively teaching Zumba in Edmonton ever since. Yasmeen's love of Latin music and culture has helped her develop a growing Reggaeton dance program at Desert Rose. She currently directs a Reggaeton Dance Troupe who perform regularily at Edmonton's festivals including the Heritage Festival, Latin Festival, and Kaleido Family Arts Festival.