Tinuviel has been dancing Raqs Sharki for 12 years, having studied mainly with the late Viktoriya Shershnova. She has been fortunate enough to have occasion to also learn from Aziza, Jillina, Aisha Ali, Dalia Carella, Sonia, Willow Chang, Nalini, Aradia and Stephanie Buranek. She danced with Viktoriya’s troupe Ma’arwaak, founded and taught BYU Hawaii’s Middle Eastern Dance Club. Described as ethereal, bright, fun and joyful, she strives to combine all these attributes and more in her dancing, in order to portray the joy she finds in life, and the love that she feels from her Heavenly Parents. She is wonderfully thrilled to have this chance to direct, and dance in “Bring Your Gifts” – to use her gifts to give hope and love to others, and honor the love and gift of God.
When Aylin discovered Middle Eastern dance, it was a life changing moment. The beauty of the movement, the expressive character of the dancer and the amazing music had her spellbound. Ever since then she has returned almost daily to the dance as a thirsty traveler seeks the oasis. She believes true Middle Eastern dance shows the heart and soul of the dancer.
Aylin enjoys dancing with a troupe or as a solo performer. She enjoys choreography, costume design and creation. In 2009 Aylin started the Sight of Water Dance Studio at the request of several students. She chose the name of her studio because the beauty of Middle Eastern Dance is as breathtaking as the sight of water in the desert.
In and out of Ballet, Jazz, and Hip Hop as a child, Brittany was in search of an opportunity to dance. She stumbled upon performing belly dancers on a night out with friends, and immediately became committed to learning the art. It was the perfect fit. She feels extremely lucky to be learning under the beautiful instructor Stephanie Buranek. Outside of dance Brittany is an independent woman working in a pharmacy, going to college, and oil painting on a regular basis.
Carl Moore Jr. resides in Orem with his wife Atalie and their 7 children. Carl loves to show our Great God’s awesomeness and spread a message of love, by presenting his God given talent of dancing. He is a firm believer that God, in His mercy and grace grants us all in our undeserving state, many blessings daily. Understanding that all people have hardships whether they be emotional or physical and that it is apparent that many have difficulties to the extreme, and feel that they are not in control, we can find solace in a Creator who is Perfect and in complete control. Carl believes that Jesus Christ, the great I Am, is the last living sacrifice and paid the debts of sin, thereby redeeming us all, so that women and man can be complete in Him, and it is our prerogative to know and believe that He is who He says He is and enter into His rest, “for [His] yoke is easy, and [His] burden is light.” Matthew 11:30
Danielle Turner aka “Angelia” started belly dancing in 1998. Danielle’s dancing background consists of jazz, color guard, musical theater and African dancing. This is her first year dancing for the “Bring your gifts” show and grateful for the opportunity to perform. Angelia enjoys learning different genres of belly dance. The friendships and sisterhood of the belly dance community has given her many enriched years that she will never forget.
Darina was born in the Ukraine and moved to Russia when she was 5. She has studied dancing since she was 2 years old. Her dance background is in Jazz, Ballet, Hip-Hop, Modern and Lyrical types of dance. In Russia she studied circus arts under Nataliya Nikolaevna and performed in many Russian circus arts shows; she also studied gymnastics and calisthenics. Darina moved to the United States when she was 15 and here in Utah currently studies belly dancing under Stephanie Buranek and performs with the belly dancing company “Alima”. She also studies aerial arts at Onyx Pole and Aerial Fitness studio. “Dance is my passion, it helps me when I am stressed or discouraged, it’s what makes me happy. Every morning I wake up thanking God that I am able to dance, that it gives me passion for a new day and that it is something that I can share with everyone else and change their lives”.
Irina started belly dancing in Ukraine in 2005, and found that belly dancing was addicting for her- graceful movements, magical music, beautiful costumes and amazing friends.It’s also a fine art for her. Making her own costumes, and doing her own embroidery and beading is a real pleasure and joy. Irina loves to discover new things, which is why she enjoys trying different styles and props. She is very grateful to all her instructors for their hard work, creativity, patience and inspiration.
Katherine developed her passion for dance at a very early age. Her dance training includes ballet, jazz, modern dance, tap, african dance, and latín american folklore.
Katherine has been belly dancing for 20 years. She has studied under many local and international talent.
Katherine was a proud member of the Kismet Troupe as a dancer and choreographer and is currently a member of the middle eastern folkloric troupe Cartouche.
Mary Ann Burga has been dancing since she was 5 years old. She is an international folk dancer currently performing with a Latin American dance company. Her dance training is in Latin American, European and African dances. She is always excited to try something new and 2 years ago she started belly dance; she fell in love with it. She loves to be involved in so many cultures-she feels she can learn the best aspects of them and apply them to her own life. She is thrilled to be part of this amazing event.
Odessa was born into troupe Little Armenia thirty something years ago, as much a gypsy as one could be. But it wasn’t until 2004 when her dance audition was accepted by her mentor, Halima (creator and director of Desert Gypsy Dance Company), that she became a professional dancer. Her dance background is much more hand-me-down than professionally trained, thanks to her Mireeg’s enchanting dancing and singing as she grew up. Currently Odessa is an instructor for the Covey Center Middle Eastern Dance program in Provo, UT; as well as a member of troupe Desert Gypsy and co-director for Desert Gypsy Dance Company. But her greatest joy is as a member of Little Armenia, a troupe of 3 (mother/daughter/sister), which is still going strong and continues to bring her closer to her roots. Outside of dance Odessa strives to be the mother that her mother is to her, and with three incredibly creative children to inspire her, dance holds unlimited possibilities. She has come a long way, and has a long way to go in her search to be what others have been for her in the world of dance. www.desertgypsydanceco.com
Pacific Generation is the professional performing team of “The Voice of Polynesia“, a dance school located in Orem Utah. Composed of dancers and musicians originating from the different little islands of Polynesia to the big island of Utah, our performers have years of experience in teaching, competing and sharing their love for Polynesian dancing and music. With the creativity of our own choreographers and authenticity in original songs, Pacific Generations brings you a new level and understanding of Polynesian entertainment. From the islands of Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji and Marquesas, we welcome you to the breathtaking land of the “Pacific Generation”. www.pacificgeneration.com
Dancing in Northern California, Los Angeles County, and Spokane, Washington for over a decade, Salawa Ahmed currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah. Combining Egyptian and American style Belly Dance for a classical presentation of this art, Salawa strives to educate herself in all forms of dance, although belly dance remains her first passion. Her belly dance performances and classes are always respectable, family appropriate and fun-filled events. She has performed with live musicians such as, Reda Darwish and Georges Lammam and has studied belly dance from performers and instructors including Farida Fahmy, Faten Salama, Astryd deMichele, Aziza, Hala, Amina Goodyear, Fahtiem and Badia’a Samara El Neel. She is very excited to be a part of the “Bring Your Gifts” production! www.salawa.webs.com/index.html
The Shelley Irish Dance Company brings to life the lyrical beauty, exciting rhythms, and vitality of traditional and contemporary Irish dance made popular by the world renowned show Riverdance. Dancers from the Shelley Irish Dance Company have performed at large corporate and theater events including: O.C. Tanner, Meleuluca Inc., Boston Scientific, ForeverGreen, Hibernian Siamsa, Utah Jazz, Miss Provo Pageant, Eccles Theater in Logan, Provo Covey Center for the Arts, Rose Wagner Theater in SLC, and The Scera Center for the Arts in Orem. Today, the company is comprised of some of the finest Championship Irish step dancers in the state. For more information: www.shelleyirishdance.com.
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.
Tamar is the founder of Cartouche, a folkloric dance troupe, specializing in regional dances of the Middle East. Her favorite folkloric instructors whom she has studied with are Mahmoud Reda, Ibrahim Farrah, Fifi Abdo, Casssandra, and Farida El Fahmy. Tamar has been dancing for 27 years and continues to study folkloric dance, which is the foundation of belly dance.
Yasmine has been in love with dance since she attended her first aerobics classes with her mom as a young girl. She started taking dance lessons at age 11, and continued with Drill Team and Dance Company in high school. She discovered belly dance through a Middle Eastern class at UVU, and hasn’t stopped shaking it since! She was thrilled to join Desert Gypsy Dance Company in 2004, and loves her weekly “Girls’ Nights” to rehearse, learn and laugh. She recently became certified to teach Zumba, and loves to dance around the house with her boys. She would like to thank Ben, Lucas and Rowan for being so supportive of her dancing and always cheering for Mom! She feels honored to be a part of “Bring Your Gifts” and is excited for this new experience. www.desertgypsydanceco.com
Rochelle Capps Rupp was raised in Wheatland, California and is the middle child of
eleven. As a teenager she spent time studying music and took up the guitar and banjo in her family’s bluegrass band. While attending Yuba College in Northern California, she pursued classical voice and enjoyed participating in choir. During her time as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Virginia, Rochelle learned to speak Spanish and grew in her love for many different cultures. Upon returning, she finished her BS in Sociology at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and was employed at the Missionary Training Center there. She met and was married to her lovely husband, Nick Rupp, in the LDS Sacramento temple. A recent highlight in their life was the birth of their first son, George Rupp.
Cameron has been drumming for just over seven years. He started drumming at parties to get the girls attention and fell in love with the music and the dance that goes with it. He currently lives in Orem and continues to learn as much as he can about Middle Eastern Percussion. On top of playing the Dumbek he also enjoys playing the Frame Drum and Riq. Cameron is often seen drumming for members of Desert Gypsy Dance Company, and regularly travels out of state to perform.
Tabla Arabía specializes in authentic Middle-Eastern percussion, drawing on rhythms of Arabic, Turkish and Greek origins. Their performances are often improvisational in nature, featuring polyrhythmic layers using a variety of percussion instruments including the darbuka, doholla, tar, and riq. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tabla-Arab%C3%ADa/324832190895872
Stage & Tech Crew:
Rebecca Lyn Black has learned about, and expressed herself through, music since she was a little girl. She grew up all over the United States, earned a music minor along with a Humanities degree from Brigham Young University, and received private vocal instruction for twelve years. She’s participated in high school, BYU English Society, community, church, and family musical productions. ‘Becca is grateful to have a husband who supports her efforts to spread her musical wings. Her seven-year-old insists that she sing him to sleep, and her five-year-old sings duets with her around the house. She feels privileged to be a part of this tribute to the Giver of all Gifts.
I grew up in Salt Lake City and am the oldest of four kids. I recently married my best friend in the whole world and am currently taking time off to work on my first full length musical. I’ve always had a love for music and art, and thus far, it has been one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences. I love making new friends, traveling, learning languages, and trying new things. I’m a lover of chocolate milk, sushi, and thai food.