Gavrila is brand new to bellydancing and has only been dancing since 2015. After having 3 young girls she says she started bellydancing to gain more core strength, and to try something new & fun. Gavrila has some natural talent for bellydance and, at the urging of Anyanka, she eagerly took the challenge of joining the beginner level troupe, Jewels of DeNile, after only 2 class sessions. She fondly says this about bellydance, “I love that it’s open to any age or body style. It has been the most accepting community of people I have encountered in my adult life. People really seem to just have a good time and have fun!” While Gavrila has only had the opportunity to take classes from Anayanka and a few workshops from local instructors such as Rajani Doyle and Why Not? Bellydance, she appreciates seeing the different styles explained and introduced in Anyanka's classes. Aside from her family, she enjoys music, cooking & gardening. Gavrila & her family welcomed baby #4, a son, in December 2016!
Jewels of DeNile Troupe Members
Anala has been bellydancing on & off since 2003. She found bellydance through Yasmina’s Joy of Bellydance on public TV one year during high school summer break. She eagerly tried to dance along with Yasmina on the TV. Then, one day, many years later, she saw the bellydance troupe, Domba, perform at the Arizona Renaissance Festival and fell in love with the dance again. Since then Anala has taken classes & workshops from Heidi Alexander and Samantha Riggs from Domba, K-Lee of Natuim World Dance, Ava Fleming, Asha Gopal, AZ Drum and Dance, Joanna 23, Trishna Murti, Princess Farhana, Sylvia Salmamanca, Colleena Shakti & Troup Salamat. After recovering from a knee injury for a few years she joined Anyanka’s Basic Moves & Beginner Choreography classes in early 2015. Although the newest member of the Jewels of DeNile she is already a revered dance-sister. Anala says her favorite thing about belly dance is, “The happiness and joy it brings. When I’m dancing nothing else exists at that
moment except me and the music moving together.” Her favorite style is Tribal Fusion because it’s a mix of different styles and is more open to different interpretations. Aside from bellydance, Anala enjoys hiking, boating, cooking with her hubby & generally anything that has to do with the outdoors. Anala stepped away from the troupe in January 2017 to work on solo & collaboration endeavors.
Shamsa - BIO COMING SOON
Khalidah, who has always been interested in bellydance, started her journey in late 2012. She took 1 year of classes at the Glendale Community Center from Sept. 2012 to Sept. 2013 before joining Anyanka’s classes in Phoenix. Khalidah has also taken workshops from Yasmina Parker, Epheli Raphae, Anaya Tribal, Carrie Konyha and Divine Chaos. She says her favorite thing about bellydance is, “The beat & rhythms of the drums, and the heartbeat of the Earth in it.” Khalidah’s favorite style of bellydance is Tribal. Those who influence her include Rustiqua Tribal Dance, Sadie Marquardt, Rachel Brice, Joline Andrade, Irina Akulenko and her current teachers Anyanka & Emishka of Dancers of DeNile. Khalidah has been with the Jewels of DeNile since 2014. Besides bellydance, Khalidah enjoys hobbies such as Qigong, yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, scuba diving, making dance costumes, aromatherapy/essential oils, and all systems of medicine/healing EXCEPT for allopathic medicine.
Amirah started bellydancing with Anyanka in early 2013 to help find her feminine side and to help with confidence. Soon after starting bellydance she found herself taking the stage for the first time a few months later. She was a member of Jewels of DeNile for 1½ years. Amirah says, “We were a brand new troupe of beginners but we felt like rock stars!” Amirah is grateful for her time in Jewels of DeNile as she made life-long friends. She beams, “Bellydancing gave me confidence and showed me that I could take on the world. I loved performing with the girls and I loved all of the numbers we learned and danced.” In February 2015, Amirah relocated to New Mexico to be closer to family. She now teaches Leadership and Communication classes at the college level & can at times be found taking a bellydance workshop with Amaya or camping in the New Mexico wilderness.
Shanalee - BIO COMING SOON
Shivakari came to bellydance in 2013 but says she has wanted to do bellydance since she met her Moroccan friend, Leila, when she was 19. While only taking classes from Anyanka, she has done some self-study with DVDs by Neena & Veena Bidasha as well as Suhaila Salimpour. Shivakari says her favorite thing about bellydance is the way you learn to move every muscle of the body, the music and the idea of wearing fun costumes to perform in. She has 3 people that influence her: “I admire Rachel Brice because of her way of performing, her movements, her technique & her unique way of moving like a snake; Emishka of Dancers of DeNile because of her elegant movements and stage presence. She makes it look easy; and Anyanka for her style and teaching technique which makes a fun, easy class that becomes addicting.” She has been dancing with the Jewels of DeNile since 2014. When not bellydancing you can find Shivakari listening to Progressive Rock music, going to concerts, reading, and playing video games.
Olishka began bellydancing in 2014. She was somewhat new to Arizona so when a friend suggested looking to the local community center for classes she found bellydance. Olishka says, “It was a little out of my comfort zone, but I wanted to try something new and I was not disappointed.” While Anyanka has been her only bellydance teacher to date, Olishka is looking forward to being able to take workshops with other local instructors. She loves bellydancing because the dances are a lot of fun, as are the costumes. “But I really love the community and friends I’ve made since I started dancing”, she says. Since she is rather new to bellydance she is finding that she is interested in learning many of the different bellydance styles. Olishka joined Jewels of DeNile in November 2014. Things Olishka enjoys besides bellydance are baking, reading, going to the movies & hanging out with her
cute little Daschund, Joffy.