Dona has been dancing since she was standing upright! Her father used to swirl her around the house as an infant, while the family would urge her on to dance for a cookie– hence the nickname early on of “Cookie”.
She came to belly dance in 2001 after many years of Jazz and African dance study. Her love of Middle Eastern music led her to seek out instruction in this dance. She has since been enamored with Egyptian/Oriental style. Her teachers locally include Razia, Kendra, Asya, Astryd de Michele, Elena Villa & Samisha Shami.
In 2005, after meeting Lola Powell at Astryd’s Middle Eastern School of Dance, Lola & Dona performed a duet to the song Elam!, choreographed by Mahmoud Reda, at the MEDGE student show. After that Lola invited Dona to her beautiful dance studio to check out practices with Ja La Nour, and Dona soon became a member of the group.
In 2009, her love of this dance took her on a study tour to Egypt with Astryd de Michele. Here she discovered the various roots of this beloved dance. She studied with the great Mahmoud Reda, Raqia Hassan, Lubna Emam, and Nany Sobry.
The last 4 years she has taught beginning and intermediate classes and has greatly enjoyed sharing her love of the music and core dance technique to students. Not only that, she feels that through teaching others her own personal dance has been enhanced as well.
Currently, Dona performs with troupe An Noor. She has embraced the challenges of dancing in a group, and likes the combined energy that comes from this. She continues her dance journey through working with local dancers and MEDGE sponsored instructors. “Belly dance is an amazing way to stay in shape, be creative and have mental well being. The beauty and expression of this art form continues to inspire and engage me”.