Meet the Faculity

//Meet the Faculity
Meet the Faculity2017-09-06T22:15:42+00:00

Raksanna’s Team

You’ll find the best belly dance talent in Naperville, Aurora and the Western Suburbs of Chicago in Raksanna’s program. Every instructor is hand-selected and must successfully pass Raksanna’s intensive apprenticeship program that includes 25 hours of observation, 25 hours of practice teaching time, a practical exam and a comprehensive written exam.

To complete the apprenticeship program is comparable to earning an associate degree and is quite an accomplishment! This requirement ensures that each student receives the highest quality instruction possible.

Scroll down to learn more about the faculty!

Raksanna |  Founder, Director and CEO

Known for her energetic, powerful and fun-loving original style, Raksanna is an award-winning, internationally recognized Middle Eastern dance artist.  She is a highly sought after educator and workshop presenter and travels the world, teaching and performing at premier festivals and in intimate workshop settings.

The author of her original book, Confessions of a Belly Dancer, Secrets of the Hieroglyph ©, Raksanna co-produced the theatrical adaption of the book with the legendary Momo Kadous, and is now launching the shows’ international tour. (

Raksanna is a featured soloist dancer in videos and DVDs including two featured performances in Dr. Samy Farag’s new DVD release, Melodies from Cairo. In addition to teaching multiple classes each week, she is the artistic director of both the award-winning professional belly dance troupe, Raksanna and the Desert Flames and Raksanna’s Near East Dance Ensemble.

Raksanna holds a Master’s degree in Management Systems (conc: International Marketing), a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and a Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences. Her corporate experience includes Sr Leader, Communication at GE Specialty Insurance, Vice President of Marketing at TSG Real Estate and director of marketing at financial investment trade associations. In addition to her dance career, she owns and manages her own marketing consulting firm: Roxanne’s Smart Ideas, Inc. (

Raksanna is available for workshops, performances speaking engagements and consulting projects.  For more information, please visit, email or give her a call at 630.689.3611 – and of course, follow her on Facebook and Twitter: Raksanna Raqs Sharki

Ruth | Artistic Director

A year after her son was born, Ruth took her first belly dance class – and never looked back!  Dance has always been an outlet for her to express her emotions, but oriental dance, and the many different folkloric dances of Egypt, touched a deep chord with her. She has been a member of Raksanna’s award winning Raksanna’s Desert Flames for four years and has been dancing for six.  With a flair for fun, a passion for dance and a love for all things sparkly, Ruth delights in both dancing and creating beautiful choreography that inspires both the dancer and the audience. Her goal is to assist Raksanna in realizing her vision of elevating the art of Oriental dance and encouraging women to always express themselves through the arts, to pursue excellence and to reach for the stars. 

In addition to the dance program, Ruth is  responsible for branding, creative design and the overall “look and feel” of the Raksanna experience. Her talents are extensive and she has a knack for glamour!

Karri Ann Soyk

Karri received a BFA in Theater Performance from UW-Whitewater where she performed in productions such as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Maggie), Twelfth Night(Olivia) and James and the Giant Peach (Aunt Spiker). She has been dancing with Raksanna’s Near East Dance Ensemble since February 2012 and joined Raksanna’s Desert Flames in March.

Maria Cervantes 

Maria has a Bachelor’s of Science in Cultural Anthropology from Northern Illinois University. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Computer Science. She was a Mexican Folkloric dancer for 7 years during which she has performed throughout the Chicago and Chicagoland area including the Rialto Theater in Joliet and the Paramount Theater in Aurora. She became a member of Raksanna’s Desert Flames in March 2012. Before she found belly dancing, she was a shadow of her former self. Belly dance has brought her back and now she expresses her passion and her past through the dance.