We are a group of belly dancers who love Middle Eastern Dance – also known as Belly Dance! We teach, perform, and celebrate dance, and have as much fun in our community as we can!
We are dedicated to Middle Eastern Dance – also known as belly dance – and all its forms and variations. We also dance fusion and fantasy style of belly dance. The Mystic River Dancers offer teaching of private lessons, workshops, and regular classes at all levels.
We perform at:
- Shows (Theater shows, Fundraiser events, Fairs etc)
- Private Parties like Weddings, Anniversary parties, Bachelorette parties, “Girls Night Out” parties, “Shimmy with your Sister” parties, etc.
We also organize such events ourselves.
Our studio is located at 1000 S. Cooper, Memphis, Tennessee.
TROUPE MEMBERS & DANCE RESUMES:
FEYROUZ (Julia Oller):
Feyrouz has always been interested in the art of dance in a very general way. She tried different styles like ballet, ballroom, jazz dance, rock ’n roll and salsa before she finally discovered Middle Eastern dance – better known as belly dancing – which turned out to be HER dance.
She started belly dancing in 1993 and has been teaching since 1995. She studied with the internationally known teacher Momo Kadous (Frankfurt, Germany) for three years but also took numerous workshops with many renowned instructors (e.g. Shahrazad, Beata & Horacio, Susanna de Veccio, Dina, Raqya Hassan, Magdy El-Leisy, Ibrahim Farah, Nelly Mazloum, Sahra Saeeda, Khaled Seif, Cassandra, Mahmoud Reda, Jillina, Leyla Jouvanna, Zahra, Laurel Gray, Ansuja, Shana, Bozenka, Samara, Sonja, Izidora Bushkovski, Amira Mor, Linda, Mo Geddawy, Zahra Zuhair, Jehan Kamal, Randa Kamel, Khaled Mohmoud, and many others. She also took a master course in Raks Sharki with Zaza Hassan (Paris) and received a Diploma in professional oriental dance.
Her specialty is the classical Middle Eastern style, and her aim is to convey the joy of this wonderful sensual dance to others – she loves teaching! She started teaching 1995 in Nuernberg, Germany, and continued 1996 in Vienna, Austria. In 2002 Feyrouz moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where she taught and choreographed for the Desert Rose Studio for Middle Eastern dance for 11 years. In 2013 she founded her own dance group (the Mystic River Dancers), but continues to teach and choreograph for Desert Rose (now moved to Salem, MA).
Feyrouz also travels back to Austria regularly where she teaches workshops and enjoys to dance together with her former students and dance colleagues.
She teaches all levels from beginners to advanced, and offers choreography workshops for choreographies in classical Middle Eastern Dance, but also in new fusion styles like Spanish-Arabic, Bollywood-Arabic, Latin-Arabic, Gypsy, Arabic-Jazz or Fantasy-Bellydance. Veils, scarves, wings, zills, cane, Spanish fans, pois, tambourine, fan-veils, daggers, and other props are all part of her repertoire. She also offers specialty workshops on topics like “Hips”, “Upper body”, “Snake arms and lotus flower”, “Expression and Sensuality in belly dancing”, or “ How to make a choreography”.
Feyrouz gives private lessons and performs at fairs, in shows, at private events and other occasions. For questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
YUNA (Yuna Jhang):
Yuna began learning middle-eastern dance in 2011 when she first met her primary dancing mentor- Feyrouz, who was and still is the primary choreographer of the Desert Rose Company and Mystic River Dance. Yuna was drawn to this art form immediately by its beauty and power through the uniquely feminine portrayal of music and emotions through facial and bodily expressions.
Through taking private lessons with Feyrouz on a bi-weekly basis, she fell in love with bellydancing with its various forms—classical Egyptian style, baledi, and fusion Spanish dances. She is also familiar with some other styles such as Shaabi, Iraqi, and Gypsy through other master teachers. She is particularly interested in deepening her knowledge of middle-eastern cultures and dance history through bellydancing.
Yuna takes an active role in participating in workshops, shows, shimmy mobs, and other performances around the world (USA, Europe, and Taiwan). In the summer of 2013, she visited the world-famous Beata and Horacio Cifuentes’ Dance Academy in Berlin, Germany. She took classes with Beata and Horacio (Berlin, Germany) and Bozenca (Miami, USA). In August, 2016, she attended the Miami Bellydance Convention, and found her new passion for Argentinian bellydance style, which is inspired by a renowned male dancer, Yamil Annum.
Yuna is the co-founder of the “Mystic River Dancers” together with Feyrouz and Beth, and is offering beginners’ bellydance lessons and private lessons for intermediate students! She is looking forward to contribute to the local bellydance community in many ways.
AZARIA (Beth Adams):
VALENTINA (Tina Taran):
The art of Raqs Sharqi has informed and inspired Valentina’s nine years of dance training and performance experience. Her repertoire includes American Cabaret; Egyptian, Greek, and Turkish dance traditions; and styles of Spanish-Arabic fusion. Valentina is a registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance and certified in Sampoorna Yoga. She offers yoga and dance classes that cultivate core awareness through interplay of the body’s natural strength, balance, and flexibility so that graceful movement may flow freely into the joyous dance of life!
TEMPEST (Tia Uphoff):
I have been dancing my whole life. Growing up, I competed in gymnastics and dance. I have been teaching gymnastics for a living since 1994. I have been bellydancing and teaching bellydancing since 2007. I have also been trained in many different styles of dance, for example, hip hop, salsa, bachata, merengue, hula, ballet, jazz, tap and of course many styles of bellydancing. To me dancing is not just a hobby or a job, it is a way of life.
SAMEERA (Heather Baldwin):
YUAN (Yuan Zhou):
Yuan has enjoyed the happiness that comes from dancing for a long time. She trained in ballroom dance for years and took part in many competitions and performances. When she got the chance to perform in a show with Mystic River Dance with Feyrouz and Yuna, she fell in love with Middle Eastern dance and decided to start studying with them. This fabulous dance shows the beauty of women and makes her feel more and more confident. She would like to keep on training and sharing her joy in dance with everyone!
RACHEL (Rachel Coleman):
Growing up, Rachel always dreamed of being some type of performer. Involved in the performing arts since the age of seven, Rachel’s performance background includes theatre, cheerleading, a brief stint with gymnastics and ballet, modern dance, hip hop, and most recently, belly dance.
Rachel’s love affair with belly dance was ignited in 1997, after her family moved to Turkey, but she did not begin seriously studying and learning until 2005, initially as a way to stay fit. She began teaching classes and performing in 2007. Rachel has performed with Mississippi: The Dance Company, Leda Swan, Inc, Yocona International Arts Festival, InterActions, and other various community productions based in Oxford, MS. She continues to study, expand her knowledge, and strengthen her art form every chance she gets through videos, classes, and workshops with dancers such as Amira Mor, Tarik Sultan, Tito Seif, Willow Chang, Michelle Joyce, and Nadira Jamal.
RENE (Rene Graves):
Rene’ came to belly dance with absolutely no previous dance experience in 2013. She happened across a beginner’s belly dance workshop and the rest is history. She has thrown her heart and soul into the dance and now dances both Egyptian as well as Tribal style. Her experience having grown up in a military family has allowed her to appreciate various exotic music and cultures. It has also added to her appreciation of Raqs Sharqi (one of the oldest dance forms in the world). Through Raqs Sharqi, she has delightfully discovered a wondrous sense of connection to the earth, herself, and sister dancers all over the world.
AKSANA (Aksana Vasilyeva):
Aksana started dancing at the age of seven when her mom signed her up for classes with an Eastern European children’s troupe “Glinka” (“clay-made”). Ballet-based training taught her proper posture and technique while allowing her to perform her country’s (Belarus) traditional dances. After moving to the United States, she was happy to join Hlinka (variation on Glinka), a troupe in New Jersey established by two Ukrainian dancer brothers who wanted to showcase Eastern European dance culture to the local tri-state area (NJ, NY, PA). At this point, Aksana knew that it was fate that made dance such an integral part of her life!
Aksana’s first foray into Middle-eastern dance was a choreography she and her best friend in college created and performed at the Annual international night. Since then, Aksana was hooked and started taking classes with bellydance instructors in Winston-Salem, NC, where she started attending graduate school. She was a member of 1001 Nights Dance as well as Blue Star Dance (Turkish folk dance troupe), enjoying every second performing and traveling around the US.
After a career transition brought her to Memphis, she was ecstatic to join Mystic River Dance to continue strengthening her knowledge and exploration of classical and fusion bellydance. She truly appreciates the confidence, sisterhood, and delight bellydance brings her and loves to share it with others!