September Featured Dancer: Olya

olyaBorn and raised in Russia, Olya has studied dance and movement in its various forms since she was a little girl: gymnastics, ballroom dance, hustle, social dance and jazz. However it had not occurred to her to try belly dance until she moved to a VERY small town in the USA, where it was hopeless to try & find a dance partner. It all started in her living room, with a mirror and YouTube, where she picked up moves by watching dancer after dancer. Since then, Olya has danced group and solo pieces at various events throughout Southern Utah, studied with many stars of Tribal Belly Dance and taught classes Tribal Fusion & ATS classes in St George. She is also certified in Initiation and Cultivation phases of Rachel Brice’s “8 Elements of Belly Dance.” Olya is also a Health & Fitness coach at Pure Vibes, where she offers tools, support & motivation to help people with their goals. In her personal and professional life, Olya found her calling in helping people (especially women) break away from limiting beliefs, discover their power and illuminate the world with their light, inspiring others to do the same in a ripple effect. Her own life is an example of such a story. She came from an extremely poor family with super-strict parents who held the belief that life is hard. She grew up without a sense of worth, which has put her through several abusive relationships, depression and looking death in the face. Luckily, she was able to find help and support in this state full of people with big hearts, and start living her life in a new way, changing her powerlessness into empowerment. Olya lives in Lehi,Utah now with her husband, two-year-old son Archer and a boxer Scarlett. She is excited to join this dance community and meet all of you!

August Featured Dancer: Mandy

Mandy Williams


Mandy is a lifelong dance student, starting out like so many young kids studying ballet, jazz, and tap at the age of 7. Forays into gymnastics and clogging proved not so successful. Mandy’s true passion for dance kicked in as a young adult, when she started studying classical ballet seriously. As the years and the joints wore on, she started looking outside ballet for a dance pathway that could carry her forward into the future, and found belly dance. Mandy has studied intensively with local teachers Shahravar, LaRa Zorn, and Trisha McBride, and has taken various classes from other amazing local dancers and visiting artists. Mandy’s style is best described as fusion, with inspiration from ballet and temple dance fused with more traditional belly dance styles. Mandy has also studied Afro-Brazilian dance extensively, and finds great inspiration in the movements and mythology of the Orishas. She currently performs as a solo artist.
Mandy teaches an all-levels class as part of Salt Lake Community Education. As a teacher, Mandy believes first and foremost in a thorough grounding in technique, and paces her classes to match the skill level of her students. She pushes her students to work to their highest level, while consistently reminding herself and her class not to take it all so seriously.
When: Wednesdays, Sept. 14 – Nov. 2, 6:30-8:00 pm
Where: Highland High School
What: Learn the art of fusion style belly dance in this all levels class. We will spend the first part of class time every week breaking down and drilling basic technique to sharpen our skills. The remainder of class will be dedicated to fun combos, choreography, and improvisational games suitable for all skill levels. Class will culminate in an optional springtime performance opportunity.
To register (registration begins Aug. 22):
AND, because she can’t wear a belly dance costume to her day job, Mandy tries to cure the insatiable craving for decadent glamour by creating headdresses under the label Oculus Design. Check them out on Etsy and Instagram!

June Featured Dancer: Julianne


Julianne has been involved in Egyptian style belly dance since 1998- first taking classes at Kismet with Yasmina. After a few years off she began taking classes again with Stephanie Buranek, Rebecca Clayton, and Amy Wilkinson at Hathor School of Dance. Several years later she was invited to join the troupe Hathor Dance Collective with Rebecca Clayton, Amanda Major Fox, and Rosalind Yoakum. She is currently performing solo, and with workshop groups.
With a career in fly fishing, Julianne travels world-wide allowing for a variety of performance and show production opportunities- with locations including Caribbean St. Lucia, Odell Lake OR, Pyramid Lake NV, Patagonia Chile, Baja Mexico, and Park City UT. She has been recruited by America’s Got Talent and recently performed at a private party with Katherine Heigl in attendance.
Julianne is continually seeking inspiration and technique from local teachers Stephanie Buranek, Meg Hinds, Rebecca Clayton, and Tinuviel- and sends her gratitude to each of them for sharing their talents with the Utah belly dance community. She’s a regular at Cedars of Lebanon, and loves the social aspect of dance- she is always looking foward to meeting new friends and fans!
Book Julianne for your party, festival, or dinner event- she is willing to travel as a solo performer or in a troupe/duet with collaborative dancers.
Booking/Contact info:
Julianne Peterson
Check out her YouTube channel- The Belly Dancer and the Beast!

May 2016 Featured Dancer: Shahravar

Shahravar began studying and performing Middle-Eastern dance in 1991. As a master instructor, dancers are drawn to study with her. She has been teaching since 1993 and opened the Urban Ghawazii Belly Dance Studio in 2008. She also founded the popular Troupe Habibi Habibi in 2008. In 2004, Shahravar created Utah’s first collaborative belly dance troupe, Shah Sitara, a performing level group of advanced students.

Shahravar has performed thousands of shows across the country for stage shows, Arab, Turkish, Indian, Greek and Afghani events, museums, universities, schools, senior centers, festivals, family parties, weddings, cultural and corporate events. Sword work or “Raks Sayef” is her true specialty.

Over the years, Shahravar’s work has been featured in Jareeda Bellydance Magazine and she has performed and taught workshops throughout the United States and has studied under experts as varied as Mahmoud Reda, Carolena Nericcio, Sahra Saida, Amaya, Alexandra King, Bert Balladine, Rachel Brice, and Kami Liddle. Her specialties include swords, veils, zills, folkloric, and improvisation. In 2009, she was awarded “Best Fusion Bellydance” by Salt Lake City Weekly. Shahravar is an enchanting performer and master bellydance teacher with a focus on Egyptian, Saudi and Lebanese folkloric dances. With over 24 years experience teaching Middle eastern dance and Pilates, she is also a respected fitness instructor with a diverse background.

As a belly dance performer, her love for the dance arts and respect for the cultures they represent shine through. Her shows have moved people to tears and left audience in awe.

As a teacher, Shahravar is dedicated to helping her students reach attainable goals from her classes and specialty workshops, whether it be fun, self-esteem, or skills to be a professional level performer. Shahravar’s dance and Pilates classes can be life changing for students who want to work on their personal style, not copy someone else.

She is the co-owner of the Salt City Dance & Fitness Studio where she teaches classes and creates a welcoming space for many teachers to offer their classes. The studio also features a darling Boutique.

Shahravar also co-hosts a Summer Dance Festival wtih Fvorboda of Desert Journey School of Dance. The fesitval offers a venue for a diverse dance performances from many cultures. August 20th at the Viridian Event Center in West Jordan. FREE to the public.

Belly Fit core toning/Pilates with Shahravar: Thursdays 5:30-6:15 PM

Bellydance Basic’s with Shahravar: Wednesdays 5:30 – 6:15 PM

Bellydance level II with Shahravar: Wednesdays 6:30 – 7:30 PM

Bellydance level III with Shahravar: Wednesdays 7:45 – 8:45 PM

For more info and full class descriptions vist

call 801-699-6809 or email:

April 2016 Featured Dancer: Lyra Zoe


Lyra is a Belly Dancer, Painter, Costume Maker, Jeweler, Sculptor, and Teacher. She started belly dancing just weeks before turning16, but her interest started when she was a little girl and went with her family to see belly dancers in local restaurants. Her aunt increased her interest in dance by teaching her how to dance with veils, castanets, and fans in the living room to world music. She’s the one that taught Lyra how to floreo and peek out from behind a veil. When Lyra was in high school she took the opportunity to start taking belly dance classes from the school around the corner (Kismet). She fell in love with the beautiful dance style and how inclusive it is for all types of women. Just a few months later she started performing under the direction of Annyvwn in a multitude of different styles. Since then she has learned many different styles under several different teachers. A few of the teachers she has had over the years include Fvorboda, Trisha McBride, Kelsey Kumari, Amanda Borba, Leggy Meggy, Amina, and the Ladies of Shimmy Shakti. Lyra is certified to perform level 1 ITS (Improvisational Tribal Style) under the direction of Jenna and Christina from Shimmy Shakti created by Amy Sigil and her troupe Unmata. She is a Tribal Fusion dancer fusing Hip Hop, Contemporary, American Cabaret, Indian, Thai, ITS, and Urban tribal. I have taken a number of workshops, danced with several troupes, and been a part of many shows. Lyra has created her own solo style fusion called Squid Fusion. Squid Fusion is defined by its fluid movement and sharp accents. I teach beginning technique and intermediate/advanced choreography classes on Sunday evenings at The Velveteen Serpent Movement Studio and Boutique owned by Michelle Sorenson in Salt Lake City. Currently she dances in Michelle’s performance group Aduro performing ITS and choreography. She also takes classes from Stephanie Buranek and also performs with her own student troupe, The Movers and Shakers. Lyra has been performing for 11 years this summer and hopes to never stop. Some things she loves about Belly Dance include: the community/your tribe, body confidence, loving my curves, road trips, her students, teaching, sparkly things, making a breakthrough on a hard move or choreography, designing and making costumes, hearing a song and seeing the whole choreography play out in your head, and the music. The troupes she has been a part of include: Kismet, DecaDance, Delight, Adia Shanti, Dragomi, Nepenthe, Solar Echo, Aduro, and The Movers and Shakers. Lyra has performed in The Black Box Bellydance Affair, The Utah Arts Festival, Summer Fest, Spring Fest, Boise Fusion Fest, Summer Oasis, and several shows produced by Meg H, Kita Zira, Thia, and Fvorboda. I also dance at restaurants, weddings, and multicultural events.

March 2016 Featured Dancer: Ana Kitka za Sofja

anakitkaAna Kitka za Sofja (Kitty) started belly dancing in 1979 after watching a belly dancer perform at the old Athenian Restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City. Kitty was studying and performing Eastern European folk dancing at the time and the belly dancing seemed like a natural extension. Kitty studied with Aziz and Nushaba (at the University of Utah) and was soon performing traditional American belly dance with Kismet.
Using her background of modern dance, ballet, folk dance, and musical theater, Kitty performed at many venues and began to teach. Since then, she has studied cabaret, American Tribal Style, and tribal fusion and currently performs with Gypsy Flame, known for their spectacular costuming and world fusion style, combining folkloric dance with traditional belly dance moves.
Kitty loves to lend her “voice of chocolate” to any and all belly dance events as the announcer. Her favorite part is getting to watch ALL of the dancers in performance, some for the first time and some for the thousandth time! She feels very close to the community in her announcer seat – like being in a huge family reunion every time.
Kitty plans to continue to dance and costume and present workshops and give back to the Utah Belly Dance Community in any way she can, because paying it forward is truly the best part!

January Featured Dancer: Tinuviel

TinuvielTinuviel’s dancing has been described as both ethereal and joyful. She started out her journey in this artform with Munierah, and continued her study with Viktoriya Shershnova and Stephanie Buranek. She is a current and founding member of Stephanie’s troupe Anahata. Tinuviel produced and directed Bring Your Gifts in 2012.

Transporting her audience to someplace new and magical is one of her favorite things about performing and she is working on creating new shows in the near future. Tinuviel has been part of the Utah bellydance community for over 16 years. She is currently a moderator for the Utah Bellydance Facebook page, and loves connecting people with teachers and events. As a teacher she is an enthusiastic, caring instructor who takes great satisfaction in seeing her students grow and progress. Grateful every day for everything this dance form has taught her, she strives to pass on that love and joy.

December Featured Dancer: Trisha McBride


Trisha is an intuitive and empathic teacher, honing and developing these specific skills for over two decades. She understands the human body by connecting on a cellular and emotional level to others. This gives her an advantage to tune into her students specific needs.Trisha is a spiritualist by nature and a mystic at heart.

Trisha has been a tribal belly dance instructor since 2003 and a full time yoga instructor since 2010, teaching under a thousand hour RYT certificate via Dana Baptiste’s In Body Academy, SLC, UT.  An associates degree in Eastern Philosophy via Salt Lake Community College, SLC UT.   and an associates degree in Classics via Hunter College NY, NY.  Trisha deeply believes in her path through healing herself and teaching others to do so through  “movement medicine,” the union of yoga, ritual dance and from the heart fluid movement.  Using a strong understanding that WE have the tools within our own spirit to break open the proverbial cage and transform through the expression of strong movement.

An avid scholar of myth and philosophy, Trisha weaves myth and uses iconography within her teachings to connect students to a deeper and ancient part of themselves.  “Through this movement we heal ourselves and honor our teachers and ancestors.  Remembering those that came before us.”


More History…

Trisha moved to San Francisco in 1998 to study tribal belly dance, where she studied with Fat Chance Belly Dance and the modern fusion maven, Jill Parker. Trisha was recruited in 2001 by Azure, a San Francisco tribal belly dance troupe. Her dance style was polished and refined by Azure troupe leaders Michael McElhaney, Brigitta Gudheus, and Andra Young.

She moved to Brooklyn, New York in 2002, and her teachings began in 2003. Trisha built the belly dance program at the Greenhouse Holistic Yoga Center from 2003 – 2009, with a focus on fusing belly dance and yoga. Trisha developed a unique improvisational dance form during this time called “Lunar Improvisation.” Balancing and drawing on the energies of the elements, Trisha has always dedicated her dance to the Goddess, which feeds her artist endeavors on a spiritual level.

Trisha has also learned from and hosted belly dance legends Rachel Brice, Zoe Jakes, Mardi Love, Unmata and Mavi Clay.  Soon to add to the list … NagaSita.

Taking her teaching to the next level in 2013, Trisha combined teaching forces with long time friend Sibyl Buck.  The two creating a signature retreat called Set Sail and Surrender. They are now coming up on their third retreat in Costa Rica for 2016.
If she is not in the yoga or dance studio, Trisha is in her design studio, designing her dance troupe’s performance costumes or her active wear and casual to high fashion lines, creating what she calls High Vibration Fashion.  “ Draping people in gorgeous designs, cut in delicious fabrics is one of my favorite art forms.” (Please see the TriLuna design page for more on Trisha’s design work.)

November Featured Dancer: Stephanie

stephanie gold

Stephanie, a native to Utah, has loved dancing all her life. She received training in ballet, jazz, and tap as a child, but at the age of fifteen she, discovered her love for belly dancing, when she became introduced to the sensuous art form. After eighteen years of study, she has become a highly sought after performer and instructor.

Her path in belly dance training started under the tutelage of local instructors Raffa and Aziz, and has taken her into a variety of dance arenas in order to create a well-rounded technical style. In her endeavor to continue to develop her dancing, Stephanie has examined Egyptian dance ethnology to create a solid foundation from which to enhance her knowledge of the cultural heritage of Middle Eastern dance.

Stephanie is constantly building on her style incorporating tribal fusion, Latin, African, ballet, and jazz dance forms into her posture and movement. Her love of Egyptian dancers of the silver screen has inspired a style that encompasses a graceful beauty on stage, with energy, personality, exquisite technique, and flirtation.

It is Stephanie’s desire to continually learn and enrich her love for dance and bring her audience along with her. Her thirst for knowledge has led her to study with many great dancers and instructors, including: Mahmoud Reda, Dina (of Egypt), Randa Kamel, Dandash (of Egypt), Diana Tarkhan, Sahra Saida, Mohamed Kazafy, Jillina, Virginia, Aziza, Ava Fleming, Suhaila Salimpour, Ansuya, Dalia Carella, Carolena Nericcio, Rachel Bryce, Zoe Jakes, Kami Liddle, Sabrina Fox, Sherri Wheatley and many more.

Stephanie was a principal member of the Baraka Dance Company, under the direction of Raffa, which gave her the opportunity to travel, perform, and teach workshops throughout the Western United States. She was also a founding principal member of the Blue Lotus Dance Collaborative as well as co-director of the Hathor Dance Collective.

Stephanie is currently sharing her passion for belly dance with her students at Shimmy Studios, where she focuses on all facets of belly dance, including Egyptian dance technique, fusion belly dance technique, body conditioning, and dance ethnology.

Stephanie offers classes and workshops for all levels of dance experience.

October Featured Dancer: Aaliyah Jenny

aaliyahAaliyah Jenny recently relocated to the Salt Lake City, Utah area from NY and she couldn’t be happier! She is so excited to get to know everyone in this amazing state. Please visit for more information on Aaliyah Jenny’s travels, performances, classes and awards. She has also set up a FB community page called Jenny’s Transformation about her battle and victory over breast cancer. Thank you so much to Utah Bellydance for the honor of being this month’s spotlighted performer.