Elizabeth Strong is a San Francisco Bay Area dancer, choreographer, and teacher whose work focuses on the integrity and spirit of traditional dance forms inside of a contemporary framework. Elizabeth was a touring member of Bellydance Superstars, and was a founding member of Bellydance Evolution and of Beats Antique’s dance company with Zoe Jakes. A former principal member of Katarina Burda’s Aywah! Ethnic Dance Company, Elizabeth has traveled to Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, Greece and Bulgaria to study closely at the source and is now considered one of the leading experts in the form. She performs with live music groups including Kugelplex, MWE, Brass Menazeri, and Fishtank Ensemble, and renowned world musicians including Faisal Zeidan and Rumen Sali Shopov.
Elizabeth has had original choreographies commissioned by Jill Parker and Jillina Carlano, and has received grants from Zellerbach Foundation and from Bill Graham Presents Foundation. Her Turkish Roman instructional DVD was released in 2011. Elizabeth currently teaches and performs internationally. Find Elizabeth (and her DVD) at www.strongdancer.com
Natalie is an international teacher and performer specializing in contemporary and folkloric styles from the Middle East and Central Asia. She has been dancing for over 16 years and teaching for over 10 years. Natalie is lucky enough to have studied dance during her travels to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Oman. She is a passionate teacher and a lifelong student. Her hope is to share the beauty in these regions of the world through dance!
Asia Teressa Killeen
Asia Teressa Killeen is the director of San Francisco’s Arabesque Belly Dance and the Chimera Dance troupe located in Stockton Ca. Asia was a career belly dancer for 35 years making her living in San Francisco’s Arabic cafes and night clubs. She has taught belly dance since 1973 including classes at University of the Pacific in Stockton Ca. and University of Michigan.She has a full background in regional dance styles of the Middle East. She has performed and taught throughout the U.S. and performed for Warner Brothers in Hollywood for several special shows. She is a performer, teacher, choreographer and costume designer in the traditional style of belly dance “Raks Sharki”. www.arabesquebellydance.com
Born 1972 in Beirut, Lebanon and raised in Oum Dbaib, Syria, Faisal Zedan grew up impassioned with the Derbakki. At the age of 15, after intensive study with a local drummer, Faisal embarked on a journey of learning through exposure to a wide repertoire of Arabic classical and contemporary music.Years of tireless practice and research, along with the love of drumming, has resulted in the mastery of the Derbakki, as well as the Riqq and Def (frame drum). Upon arrival in California, Faisal met UCLA’s noted professor of Ethnomusicology, Dr. Ali Jihad Racy, and was then invited to join the acclaimed UCLA Near East Music Ensemble. Faisal was a founding member of the Near East music group, Kan Zaman.
In addition to Arabic music, Faisal also devoted many years to studying other forms of middle eastern music; Turkish, Armenian, Persian, Afghan and he studied Balkan and Greek music.
Faisal has been teaching at Music Camps and conducting workshops in the United states and abroad since 1996. Faisal is on staff at the Mendocino Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp in Mendocino California since 2011, and Bahar Bayram music camp in Brisbane, Australia.
His mastery and method of teaching the Derbakki, Riqq, and Arabic style frame drums, is geared toward a better understanding of the methods for playing Arabic drums as well as understanding the mechanics involved in playing hand drums.
Faisal produced a learning DVDs to teach the Derbakki drum and Arabic percussion section. In addition, he produced a DVD. teaching drum solos for Bellydance with New York based Dancer, Mariyah.
Faisal has been collaborating with many different artists throughout the U.S and other countries.
For more information about Faisal; you can visit his website faisalzedan.com
Dan Cantrell is an Emmy award winning composer known for his innovative and evocative film and theatre scoring approach, as well as his virtuosic playing abilities on the accordion, piano and musical saw. He holds a BFA degree from CalArts where he majored in Composition and Piano performance. Dan is a self taught master of the accordion, excelling at Balkan, Romani, Eastern European, and Klezmer styles. In recent years, Dan has performed and recorded with Tom Waits, Joanna Newsom, Beats Antique, Bono, Danny Elfman, members of the Klezmatics and Fishbone. Dan’s broad ranging musical portfolio, including compositions for video games, cartoons, film, television, web broadcast, and self produced albums can be heard at www.bellowhead.com
Greg Masaki Jenkins
Greg Masaki Jenkins is a second-generation American Balkan folk dancer who grew up at the Balkan Music & Dance Workshops. He gigs regularly throughout the San Francisco Bay Area with the groups Agapi Mou, Helios, Istanbul Connection, MWE, and Fanfare Zambaleta; and is a regular host of the Balkan Sundays Jam at Cafe Revolution.
After taking a Greek singing class from Christos Govetas in 2009, Greg’s passion for singing awakened in a big way. He struck up a friendship at the camps with Nick Maroussis around the same time and they began to perform Greek music together under the name Palamidi. Nick was playing bouzouki in addition to laouto and encouraged Greg to try Rebetika singing for the first time, and that sparked a great obsession, leading Greg to sing with Bay Area Rebetika group Disciples of Markos and pick up baglamas, tzouras, and bouzouki. He has taught Rebetika at Lark Camp since 2015 and teaches workshops in Oakland.