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Amanda ~ Dancer
Trained in Classical Ballet throughout her youth, Amanda began studying Middle Eastern dance in 1991 and has been a dedicated student and accomplished performer of Near Eastern dance -- in its many varieties -- ever since. Amanda has studied a wide range of styles including American Bellydance; Oryantal and Romani ("Gypsy") dance from Turkey; raqs sharki (Oriental dance) and traditional dance from Egypt; folk dances from Turkey, Armenia, Greece, and Lebanon; women's Khaliji dance from Saudia Arabia; and classical dances from Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Uzbekistan.
Amanda was a member of Alexandra King's Seher Dance Ensemble for five years, and performed extensively throughout California with the UCSB Middle East Ensemble, a 60-member musical ensemble in the Ethnomusicology Program at UC Santa Barbara (Dr. Scott Marcus, director). This experience exposed Amanda to a wide range of Middle Eastern dance and musical styles -- Egyptian, Lebanese, Turkish, Greek, Moroccan, Assyrian, and Persian, to name but a few -- which continue to inspire her to this day.
Amanda was a member of San Francisco's renowned Hahbi'Ru Dance Ensemble from 1999 until its final performance in 2013. Hahbi'Ru presented folkloric dances from throughout the Middle East. From 2003 through 2006, Amanda also worked with the Yore Folk Dance Ensemble to learn and perform Turkish folk dances. She had the honor of performing at the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival with Yore in 2004 and again in 2006 with Hahbi'Ru. During 2004 and 2005, Amanda performed with Danse Mahgreb, a San Francisco-based company dedicated to the presentation of North African Amazigh/Berber dances. Since 2011, Amanda has been a member of Helene Eriksen's ANAR DANA SF Bay Area Dance Project, which studies and presents traditional dances from North Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, Anatolia, the Caucasus, Iran, and Central Asia.
Amanda has traveled to Turkey, Egypt, Armenia, and Morocco to
study local dance and culture. She has studied and continues to study
with numerous master instructors in the US and also attends the Mendocino
Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp whenever possible to expand and
deepen her knowledge. She believes one must always keep learning -- and never fails to learn something new at each master class.
Since 2004, Amanda has performed extensively as a soloist throughout the Bay Area, including performances in Yore's show, Anatolian Spirit - The Journey of Dance, in March 2004 and at the SF/BA MECDA Galas in January and December 2006 and January 2009. She was also an invited instructor and performer at the SF/BA MECDA Hafla Showcase in August 2008.
From 2006 to 2013, Amanda co-owned Halanda Studio for Dance and Fitness with her long-time friend Hala. Since March 2007, Amanda has offered classes in Near Eastern Dance: Bellydance and Beyond at Halanda Studio.
From her classes, Amanda formed Karavansaray Dance Company in 2008 to present traditional dances of the Near East. Karavansaray has performed at festivals, galas, and benefits throughout the Bay Area -- including a performance at San Francisco City Hall with the Rotunda Dance Series. The troupe is always well-received by audiences.