Zahia, featured January 2012

Zahia is a main stream middle eastern dancer from Eugene. She has been dancing on and off for eleven years. What drew Zahia to middle eastern dance was the beauty of the movements and the exoticness of the music. “I saw a performance where there were these beautiful, graceful women of all shapes and sizes dancing with such confidence. The music was mesmerizing, the costumes were breathtaking and I was hooked!”

Her very first classes were taken from Lola Powell. Since then she has taken classes from Annette, Sabine, Razia and Samisha Shami as well as numerous workshops from a variety of talented dancers. “I love the experience of learning from other dancers! Everyone has their own special dance and teaching style and we have access to such amazing talent here in Oregon. I always learn something new and wonderful from each one!”

Zahia danced with the Shami Mir dance ensemble from 2000 to 2002. Since then she has danced with Salome Bahar as part of the Rare Gems and more recently with the troop An Nour. While she enjoys being a solo dancer, she really enjoys the dynamics that come with group dancing. “The energy is totally different and I like the challenge of syncing your movements with others.” Zahia defines her style as “main stream middle eastern”. Others might call it cabaret or egyptian, but for her those labels don’t feel quite right.

She enjoys learning and performing all types of traditional middle eastern dance, not just the nightclub or egyptian style. She feels that there is a rich history involved with this art form and she enjoys the dance styles that honor that history. Her favorite is the sassy playfulness of Saidi, but she also loves the earthiness of Khaleegy and plans on continuing to learn more of the folkloric styles of middle eastern dance. Zahia has performed at various venues around town and around the state. She’s been seen at the Asian Celebration, Saqra’s Showcase, Belly Dancer USA, Cresfest and Mary Cole Days as well as over in Bend and most recently in Corvallis.

Traveling around and meeting other dancers is just part of the fun of belonging to this incredible community we call belly dancing! She’d like to thank MEDGE for inviting her to be January’s featured dancer and dedicate her performance to all her beautiful dance sisters in the state of Oregon.

MEDGE offers regular monthly shows the third Friday of each month at The Strand/Cozmic Pizza, 8th & Charnelton in Eugene, OR.  Shows are family-friendly.  8:30 p.m., $5 suggested donation.