Performers of the Elegant Belly Dance show in the 2019 Rochester Fringe Festival

 Anika has a wide range of performance experience, locally in Rochester, and in Boston. She is the creator and artistic director of Elegant Belly Dance, a tribute to her teacher Phaedra and The Fred Elias Ensemble.

As a new dancer in the Boston area, Anika remembers sitting on the sofa of her generous teacher Phaedra, taking meticulous notes on what to expect during her first solo show with the famous Fred Elias Ensemble. This lesson, and her many subsequent shows with the talented and kind Fred Elias Ensemble, inspired Anika to bring a dramatized version of the American Cabaret Belly Dance Show to the Rochester Stage.

You can read more about Anika here and click here to buy tickets and experience the magic for yourself!  

Leah has studied and performed a variety of movement and dance since a very young age. Starting out with tap, jazz, ballet, and modern dance, she also studied martial arts and eventually found her way to musical theater and acting. Graduating from Nazareth College’s Theatre Arts program, she focused on acting, and how movement and physicality pertained to performance. In the 2010’s delved into Belly Dance, at the Goddess Hour Dance studio, and the found her way to the art form of Burlesque. Leah is currently an instructor of fusion belly dance and burlesque, her weekly classes are at Callan Harris Physical Therapy Center, and are attended by all kinds of adventurous, fearless women. Find out more here.

Although performing in theater and vocal groups her whole life, once Julie started learning belly dance in 2001, she found her favorite way to connect with and express music.
Julie specialized in Egyptian style dancing, and has been fortunate to take classes and workshops with some of the most legendary Egyptian dancers, including Aida Nour, Raqia Hassan, Tito Seif, and American Nourhan Sharif.
Locally, she has studied with Goddess Hour founder Michelle Charles for many years and is a member of Goddess Hour’s Professional Troupe, Fire and Spice.
In a real contrast to belly dance, Julie will also be singing at the Fringe Festival with the Off-Monroe Players’ Gilbert & Sullivan Revue.  

In her youth, Rose was involved in a Greek Pontian folk dance group and performed at festivals and dance events. After college, she discovered her love of oriental dance (raks sharqi) after taking classes at a local studio, Goddess Hour, with Michelle Charles. She started belly dancing regularly after a few years of taking classes and now performs at special events, festivals, lounges, up scale restaurants, and galas in Upstate New York. She also performs regularly at local community events.

Rose continues to learn and evolve as a dancer by attending workshops, taking classes, and studying with experienced instructors and performers around the world to refine her technique and knowledge for this beautiful art form. She has taken workshops with many master artists including Mohamed Shahin, Randa Kamel, Tito Seif, Nada El Masriya, Jehan Kamel, Mercedes Nieto, Amanda Rose, Sadie Marquardt, Mohamed Kazafy, Dariya Mitzevitch, Anna Borisova, Margarita Darina, Camelia of Cairo, Aziza of Cairo, Nourhan Sharif, Amar Gamal, Vanessa of Cairo, Margarita Darina, Mahin Sciacca, and Pablo Acosta.

Amy has been a yoga teacher and a massage therapy educator for many years. She fell in love with ballet and tap at a young age when she found a deep sense of freedom in her body and connection to music through the expression of dance. Later in life, she discovered belly dance at Goddess Hour Belly Dance with Michelle Charles. She was hooked after her first class, and she went on to study regularly with Michelle. She danced with the studio’s student troupe Sapphire Belly Dance, and later with the studio’s professional troupe, Fire and Spice. Amy has had the privilege to take workshops with several master teachers including Nourhan Sharif, Tamalyn Dallal, Leila Farid, and Cassandra Fox. 

Amy is especially fond of balancing dances, where she can combine her yoga skills with the beautiful movements of belly dance.

Ted Benedict

Over the years Ted has watched his wife, Julie, and her fellow belly dancers perform in a variety of venues and settings, and is now delighted and honored to participate in helping them recreate an evening at a middle-eastern venue. With years of experience performing with the Off-Monroe Players, Ted is also a skilled voice actor. More actor than dancer then, he is content to keep his contribution to that of announcer for this show. Find out more at  

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