Sakari started taking belly dance classes on Guy Fawkes Day, 2004; within a year, she was taking two classes a week, and within two years she was a member of Tahara Tribe, a Roseburg-based tribal improv troupe. Her passion for all things belly dance was strong and immediate, and she made a point to attend as many workshops and retreats as she could, learning about as many different styles as she was able. MEDGE has been a wonderful resource for Sakari and all the dancers within driving distance; her first class performance was at the 2005 MEDGE Fall Festival, and many of key workshops she has taken were either MEDGE sponsored or taught by members of MEDGE. Sakari has been the featured dancer at the monthly shows, and performed as part of the Fall Festival Gala. She was even the Mystery Dancer at the 2017 Swap Meet. The importance of the belly dance community has always been key for Sakari; in 2016 she formed the Honeycomb Dance Collective, which comprises everyone dancing with her either as a troupe mate or student, and in March of 2017 she started hosting casual haflas at a local meadery, with the intention of giving everyone in the dance community a place to perform in a truly relaxed environment.
As an instructor, Sakari’s focus has always been presenting a solid foundation for dancers at any level, both in the movement vocabulary of Middle Eastern dance and its American evolutions and in the musicality and culture required to truly grow in these dance forms. Finger cymbals are a part of every class, and used not only to strengthen an understanding of the basic rhythms of the dance, but also to increase a dancer’s connection to the music as a whole. The students who attend her classes have a wide range of reasons for coming to this dance form, and it’s Sakari’s goal to make sure that there’s something there for everyone from the most casual hobbyist to the dedicated student with a goal of becoming a professional dancer. As of this writing Sakari is the leader of the Vixens, a five person troupe which performs both tribal improv (with its own vocabulary) and troupe choreographies in a range of styles; she is also the teacher of Mellonia, an eight person choreography class which uses the process of learning and performing choreographies at local events as a tool to study the dance itself. The members of both of these groups and all of the students who come to Sakari’s various classes are key to her desire to continue to grow as a dancer herself.