Three unique dancers combine their love for Middle Eastern music and dance to create dances that capture the inherent beauty, mystery, and magic of belly dance.
Every performance by Raqs Ayana leads audiences on a journey through landscapes carved by gorgeous music. From shimmying strings to undulating accordions, the trio creatively weaves classic, feminine movement with modern staging to truly bring the music to life.
With joy and creativity, Emilie, Fanina, and Henna are delighted to share their passion for belly dance with you!
Interested in booking Raqs Ayana for your next event? Read more about their performance offerings at the booking page.
Watch a video of Raqs Ayana’s performance at the Jamballah NW Festival 2013, here!
Since the age of four, Emilie Lauren has been involved with dance and gymnastics. She was a gymnast for seven years before moving on to classical ballet, which she continued to study in college. She took her first belly dance class in high school and has been studying belly dance in its various forms ever since, including Tribal, American Cabaret, Turkish and Egyptian. To supplement her dance training, Emilie regularly practices Pilates and and is working towards becoming a certified Pilates instructor. She has studied and performed in both the United States and Germany.
Emilie draws on her ballet and gymnastics background to create her own elegant and athletic style of belly dance. She performs regularly at the Marrakesh and other venues around Portland. In addition to her solo work, Emilie was a founding member of the influential Znama Dance Company, and is a current member of Raqs Ayana. She is the owner of Znama Studio where she teaches weekly classes and private lessons. Emilie uses her extensive dance and movement training to help her students become stronger, more confident dancers.
Fanina found her love of dance at a young age and grew up with music and movement playing a big part of her life. She went to her first Belly Dance class in 2001 and found inspiration in her instructor Nadirah who supported her along her dance journey becoming a well-known and sought after instructor and performer in Tampa Bay, FL. After moving to Portland, OR she continued her studies with NW favorites Ruby and Aziza.
Her fluid, jazzy style is rooted in American & Egyptian Cabaret but is always expanding and ebbing with hints of Turkish and Latin influences. She is a passionate teacher and forever student of this artform and is now bringing her fun and challenging teaching style to weekly classes, private lessons and workshops.
Fanina is a multi-award winning dancer, with the titles Ms. La Danse Orientale 2011, Ms. Bellydancer USA 2011, and Ms. International Ambassador of Bellydance 2011. She is also featured in the DVD “Raks at the Royalty 2006” and was a part of a NE tour from that DVD that included Tamalyn Dallal.
She is a Certified Pilates Instructor through The Physical Mind Institute and teaches full time at Reform Pilates and Movement in Portland, OR. She is also a certified Yoga instructor through Yoga Fit and holds a B.A. in Urban Geography from The University of South Florida.
Henna was born in Hawaii, where she spent her formative years, and where music, dance, and culture are closely tied and deeply valued. She would not experience this intrinsic link between culture, song, and dance again until taking bellydance classes as a student at Portland State University. She credits her first teachers, Aziza and Magidah, with laying a solid foundation in technique and nurturing a love for Egyptian music. In 2013 she won the title Ms. La Danse Orientale.
An avid traveler and student, Henna’s dance blossomed during her four years in Tokyo, Japan. Dancing full time, producing shows with Deseos Productions, and studying with as many visiting dancers as possible. Henna immersed herself in bellydance – even expanding into Tribal Fusion. Since her return to Portland, Henna has completed Rachel Brice’s 8 Elements Cultivation training, collaborated with local professional dancers, and developed an inspiring relationship with the Middle Eastern band, Ritim Egzotik. She teaches regular classes and workshops in Portland and is a guest instructor on Rachel Brice’s Datura Online.