Performing artist. Choreographer. Author. Director. Educator. These are only a few reasons Raksanna is known and loved all over the world. With a rich background in Oriental and Egyptian folklore dance, Raksanna is internationally recognized for her authentic, powerful and exciting style. A regularly featured instructor and performer across the globe, her vast experience spans North America, Europe and the Middle East. She travels to Egypt twice a year to continue her training with the world’s most respected artists; in fact, she just returned from her 25th trip to the birthplace of belly dance.
Raksanna directs Raksanna’s Desert Flames, an award-winning, touring dance company. Her credits include producing Confessions of a Belly Dancer ™, a full-length touring theatrical show with shows in Off-Broadway NYC, Chicago, Kansas City and Detroit, and publishing five corresponding books in the series. She also recently collaborated with world-renown composer Yassir Jimal to produce her first CD album, Mirage, featuring brand new music for belly dancers.
When asked why she teaches, creates choreography and directs dance companies, she replied:
“Dancing, to me, is like breathing. It is my life. When I hear the music, my mind responds through my body – bringing to life the instruments, the lyrics, the feeling. It is something that cannot be suppressed, cannot be helped. It makes me feel alive.
“Whether the choreography is for myself, a soloist, a duet or a group, I seek to touch audiences at the soul level. Regardless of whether an audience loves my piece or hates my piece, I am happy – for there IS a reaction. As a mentor of mine once said, if someone reacts positively or negatively to your work, you have created art. If the audience is indifferent, then it is nothing.
“My love for directing dance companies stems from a deep-seated desire to elevate the art of Middle Eastern dance, to create a firm structure and interpretation of music that can withstand changes of personnel within the choreography. The piece must stand on its own, independent of who is dancing it at the moment.
“My biggest reward of working with dancers is being a part of and witnessing deep personal transformations and creating meaningful, lasting relationships. It makes my heart burst with joy to see my dancers develop as they spread their wings and dance their hearts out on stage. From the overweight woman who learns to love herself and dance despite the weight to the older woman who realizes she is sexy and beautiful, knowing that I have had a hand in positively shaping their self-image is a reward unto itself.
Here’s why taking classes with Raksanna makes sense !!!
- Nearly two decades of training and experience including over 25 trips to Egypt to study, train and perform with the best choreographers and teachers in the world
- Award-winning, internationally acclaimed artist and program
- First American artist to be featured at Randa Kamel’s RAQS OF COURSE dance festival in Cairo
- Featured instructor at Raqia Hassan’s AHLAN WA SAHLAM four years in a row
- Contributing author to international Middle Eastern Performing Arts publications such as Zagahreet, The Chronicles, Jareeda and more
- Featured presenter at universities, colleges, public schools and culture events / festivals
- Full curriculum for beginners through advanced/professional
- Performance opportunities throughout the year
- Dance Company for dancers interested in sisterhood, performing and FUN
- Small class sizes and teacher to student ratio
- All faculty members hand-picked and fully trained through Raksanna’s intensive Middle Eastern Belly Dance Apprenticeship program
- Officially published author of her original work Confessions of a Belly Dancer.
Awards and Recognition
- Named “Who’s Who,” Cambridge List of Who’s Who – 2010
- Raksanna & the Desert Flames, 2nd Runner Up, Stellar Advantage’s International Professional Troupe Competition – 2010
- Nominated “Instructor of the Year” by Zaghareet, international magazine, 2007, 2008
- Nominated “Favorite Cabaret Dancer of the Year” by Zaghareet, 2007, 2008
- Named “Best of Aurora” 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 by the U.S. Local Business Association
- 2nd Place – Queen of Raks Sharqi – 2007
- and many, many more