Amanda strives to bring joy, expressiveness, and elegance to her dancing, to understand and interpret the glorious and diverse music of the Near East, and to show respect for the cultures from which these dances originate.
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.
For five years, Amanda was a member of Alexandra King's Seher Dance Ensemble and performed extensively throughout California with Seher and the UCSB Middle East Ensemble, a 60-member musical company 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, Persian, and more -- 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.
In 2004 - 2005, Amanda performed with Danse Mahgreb, a troupe dedicated to the presenting North African dances. Since 2011, Amanda has been a member of international dance ethnologist Helene Eriksen's ANAR DANA Training Project, which studies in depth traditional dances from North Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, Anatolia, the Caucasus, Iran, and Central Asia.
Over the years, 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.
Amanda has performed as a soloist throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, including performances in Anatolian Spirit - The Journey of Dance, at Kan Zeman in Palo Alto, and numerous dance community Galas and festivals. 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.
Amanda has taught classes in Bellydance and Near Eastern dances in San Jose, CA since March 2007.
From her classes, Amanda formed Karavansaray Dance Company 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.
... American Bellydance
... Tansi Oryantal (Bellydance) and Romani dance from Turkey
... Raqs Sharki (Bellydance) and Raqs Baladi (folk dance) from Egypt
... Dabke from Lebanon
... line dances from Armenian, Greek, Turkish, and Assyrian cultures
... women's Khaliji dance from the Arabian peninsula
... traditional dances from the Caucasus, Iran, and Central Asia
... Shikhat dance from Morocco
... Amazigh (Berber) dances from Algeria
... traditional dance from Tunisia
... classical ballet, jazz, and vintage ballroom dance from the West