Photos, upcoming events, past events, and video information.

 

Al-Bahira Dance Theater Company Performers

 

Go to: Company Members Dance Corps Members  Apprenticeship Dancers                  
          Past Members & Members on Indifinite Leave

 

Al-Bahira Dance Theater Company Members

Mirah AmmalMirah Ammal
Artistic Director

Mirah Ammal's dance career has been shaped by a lifetime love of dance, music, theater, and cultural studies. As a profesionnal Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer, teacher, and troupe director, she specializes in raqs as-sharqi, folkloric dances of the Middle East and surrounding regions, and contemporary creative theatrical works. As an accomplished soloist, Mirah is known for her elegant yet passionate style. She is a featured performer at Ansari's Mediterranean Grill, Shiraz Persian restaurant and other restaurants and venues throughout the region. She performs regularly for weddings, events, shows, and cultural presentations in Minnesota and around the country.

Mirah's Middle Eastern dance education included training with master dancers from the U.S., Egypt and other countries, notably Cassandra Shore, Dina, and Dr. Mo Gedawi plus additional study with master artists Faten Salema, Farida Fahmy, Aisha Ali, Beba, Hadia, Tamalyn Dallal, Randa Kamal and Sahra Saeeda, among others. Mirah began teaching classes through community education programs in 2001, began administering her own program in 2003, and in 2007 established the Aalim School of Dance, LLC. Today, in addition to teaching regular classes through Aalim School, Mirah teaches workshops locally and nationally.

Mirah Ammal holds a History degree from the University of Minnesota and continues her education studying Arabic language and the cultural histories of the Arab world and central Asia as she furthers her dance education. Mirah has provided cultural presentations and educational seminars for several colleges, businesses and community institutions in the area. She has also traveled to Egypt to further her dance education and her understanding of the language and culture.

 

Afrita (Kristin Kujawski)
Afrita dances and hits people with swords, though not usually at the same time. A founding member of Al-Bahira this dancer, instructor, and choreographer, previously performed with Ammala Middle Eastern Dance & Music. She currently teaches belly dance through community education programs around the metro area. In addition to Middle Eastern dance, Afrita has studied African, modern, ballet, jazz, Renaissance and Baroque dance forms. She is also a costumer and accomplished actress and stage combat performer who studied and taught for five years with En Garde Unlimited. Afrita is an instructor through the Aalim School of Dance and mother to a beautiful, energetic pre-schooler.

 

AmaraAmara (Barb Fulton)
A graceful and effervescent performer, Amara has studied the art of Middle Eastern dance since 1999. She is a founding member of Al-Bahira and was a member of the former Ammala Middle Eastern Dance and Music from 2003-2007. Amara teaches weekly classes around the Twin Cities and performs at private parties, cultural events, charity events and more. Amara has danced at both the Minneapolis and St. Paul Women's Expos, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, the Minnesota Fringe Festival, and many other theatrical performances venues. The bulk of Amara's training has been with Cassandra Shore and Margo Abdo O'Dell, but she has also had opportunities to study with Dina, Aisha Ali, Tamalyn Dallal, and others. Also a professional-level flute player, Amara holds a degree in music education.

 

Inara (Inara Southwick)

Inara has enjoyed dancing since she learned the twist at age 3, and has dabbled in tap, ballet, and modern dance. A founding member and occasional choreographer with Al-Bahira, Inara is a Middle Eastern Dance instructor in Northfield, and was previously a member of Ammala Middle Eastern Dance & Music. Inara dances at private parties, charity events, cabarets, and other venues. She has performed at the Southern Theater, through the Minnesota Fringe Festival, the Festival of Nations, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, and the St. Paul Women's Expo. Inara ha found inspiration from her instructors Cassandra Shore and Margo Abdo O'Dell. She has also studied with Raqia Hassan, Dahlena, Tamalyn Dahlal, Ansuya, Dina, and others.  Inara also performed with the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society for 12 years and taught Scottish dance for 5 years. Inara became interested in Middle Eastern dance in 1991, and keeps coming back for more. When not dancing, she enjoys scuba diving, traveling with her husband, and thinking up things to put in her dance bio.

 

Alicia (Alicia Pankratz)

Alicia began studying Middle Eastern dance as a college student in 2000. As a student in Madison, Wisconsin, she joined the UW-Bellydancing organization, where she eventually became president and director for two years, and taught dance for four years. Alicia has studied with Mona N'wal, Margo Abdo O'Dell, the Cassandra School of Dance, and Mirah Ammal. She has performed for many community and theatrical venues including the Wisconsin State Fair, Arab World Fest (Milwaukee), Patrick's Cabaret (Minneapolis), and festivals in Chicago. In addition to Middle Eastern dance, Alicia has a background in Flamenco and African dance. She takes particular interest in Arabic and Turkish styles of belly dance and folkloric dance. Alicia joined Al-Bahira in 2007, and in 2008 she began teaching through the Aalim School of Dance.

 

Ameerah (Andrea Leinberger-Jabari)

Ameerah's love of Middle Eastern music and dance began as a young American women living in Jordan. At gatherings and parties, the Jordanian women would dance together, and teach Ameerah to to dance with them. After three years abroad, the Milwaukee native returned to the U.S. and in 2003 she began her formal study of  Middle Eastern dance. Ameerah has since performed at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival and through the Guild of Oriental dance. When she is not dancing, Ameerah works for a non-profit organization, creating public health programs with immigrants and refugees in Minnesota. She joined Al-Bahira in 2007.

 

Fareehah (Abby Smith)

Fareehah took her first Middle Eastern dance classes in 2004 at her husband's suggestion. She quickly fell in love with the movement and the way the dance suits a woman's body, and after her first performance, she was hooked! Fareehah has danced for the Festival of Nations, the Minnesota Fringe Festival, MarsCON, and for various haflas, open stages, and community events. Outside the dance world, Fareehah is a figure skater, skating coach, and pilates instructor. Her favorite activity, however, is being mom to daughter Victoria and son Aidan. Fareehah joined Al-Bahira in 2007.

 Iscah (Jessica Tkach-Paquin)

Iscah began dancing in 2003 and immediately fell in love with this graceful and complete style of expression. Iscah loves to explore depth of culture while fusing various styles of dance found within the Mediterranean Coast, Middle East, North Africa, India and America. She is a talented performer with radiating stage presence that makes every audience member feel a part of her intimate world. Iscah teaches bellydance through Minneapolis Community Education. She joined Al Bahira in 2008.

 

Ni'mahAnjela (Angela Polk)
Anjela has immersed herself in the world of Middle Eastern dance and music since she first encountered the art. A lifelong lover of language, culture, and art, Anjela was moved to tears by an emotional flamenco performance she witnessed in Spain while studying abroad for her Spanish degree. In Middle Eastern dance, Anjela revels in a similar expressiveness, and delights in its juxtaposition of heavy percussion and graceful, flowing movements. Anjela studied with Mirah Ammal and others in Minneapolis before moving to Chicago in 2007 where she studied at the Jasmin Jihal School of Dance. Anjela returned to Minneapolis in 2008 where she has continued to study and charm audiences with her beautiful dance performances. Currently she is a featured dancer at Ansari's Mediterranean Grill in Eagan, Minnesota. She joined Al-Bahira in 2008.

 

Perizada)Perizada (Cat Robinette)

Cat's mother was a Middle Eastern dancer and she passed her love of the art form on to her daughter. Growing up, Cat dabbled in ballet, tap, danceline and theater movement. She began taking formal belly dance classes in 1996 and three years later danced at the Festival of Nations, corporate events and weddings. In 1999 she was a featured soloist and artistic director for the Crescent Moon Dancers at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. After a nine-year hiatus to focus on her degrees and career in education, Cat jumped back into the belly dance scene. In her spare time, she enjoys teaching finger cymbals, researching 16th century Persian clothing, and mastering the art of the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipie. Cat joined Al-Bahira as an apprentice-member in 2010.

Corps Members

Nilat (Charlene Perkey)

Nilat has adored the stage since she was a young girl, studying and performing with dance classes and theater companies in her native Maryland. In addition to her background in modern, ballet, tap and jazz dance, Nilat has studied Middle Eastern, Turkish and American styles of belly dance since the late 1990s. She has studyied with artists in the Maryland, Washington DC, and Minnesota areas, and taken workshops in Egyptian, Turkish, American Tribal, and Tribal Fusion styles. Nilat has performed for events such as First Night Annapolis, DC Tribal Café, and many other solo and group performances in the Midwest and on the East Coast, and she has choreographed and performed with several performance groups. Nilat finds inspiration for her beautiful and eclectic performances in a rich tapestry or world dance and music, and has sought opportunities to learn other dances of other regions such as Africa and Asia. Nilat joined Al-Bahira as an apprentice-member in 2009.

 

Kathleen Smith in Ifrita Helwa Kathleen Smith

Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon.

 

Perizada) Dee Dee Sherek
Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon.

 

 

 

Apprenticeship Dancers

Brieanna Johnson

Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon.

 

 

Katie Burton

Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon.

 

Christina Lira

Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon.

 

Nissa Prose

Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon. Photo and biography coming soon.

 

 

Former Al-Bahira Members and Members on Indefinite Leave

Safia (Eryn H.) - Corps Member now in California, 2007-2012

Jessika Cruz - Corps Member now in California, 2010-2012

Lauren Olson - Corps Member now in Brazil, 2010-2011

Sana (Joanna Lessard) - Member, 2007-2010

Amina Beres - Member 2010

Azzuri Mraz - Apprentice-Member 2009-2010

Yoninah (Stephanie K.)- Apprentice-Member 2009-2010

Eloisa B. - Company Member 2007-2008

 

 

 

 

 

Al-Bahira Dance Theater

3754 Pleasant Ave. S.

Minneapolis, MN 55409

612-703-7002

or 763-229-7801

info@albahira.org

 

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2012 Al-Bahira Dance Theater and Aalim School of Middle Eastern Dance, LLC. All rights reserved.