An award-winning performer and choreographer, Elena Faye was surrounded by art from a young age. Born into a family of dancers, painters, and musicians, Elena was encouraged to explore the arts and began belly dancing at the age of 14, under the instruction of DC-based dancer Najwah. She continued on to study and collaborate with such respected artists as Bozenka, Jillina, Jehan Kamal, Nourhan Sharif, Ranya Renee, Kaeshi Chai and Moria Chappell. She spent three years as President of the Columbia University Bellydance Troupe while earning her degree in Middle Eastern Language & Culture at Barnard College. Elena currently resides in Washington DC where she performs as a soloist as well as a member of the Nomad Dancers and Ancient Rhythms Dance Company. She is also on the faculty of Saffron Dance, where she teaches weekly classes.
Since childhood, Faith Chang has danced on stages across the United States, performing jazz and tap. In 2005, she discovered bellydance with Amira Mor in New York. Shortly afterward, Faith founded the Columbia University Bellydance Troupe in 2007 while obtaining her Bachelor of Arts. An award-winning bellydance instructor and performer, she has studied and collaborated with several renowned artists in the Middle Eastern dance world, including Jillina Carlano, Kaeshi Chai, Yael Zarca, Semsemah, Mayodi, Salma Ben and Kareem GaD. In 2013, Faith co-created Bellymove, a non-profit that offers fitness and dance classes, and produces innovative bellydance events such as “Train like a Pro” weekends and the “Paris Bellydance Circus” festival. Her theatrical bellydance show, Les Mémoires de Bastet (2015), has toured in several cities throughout France.
Annie started studying dance at a young age and has performed with the Nomad Dancers for the past five years. She was immediately drawn to the energy and artistry of Central Asian & Middle Eastern dance and has performed traditional Persian, Afghan, Tajik, Azeri, Uzbek, Uighur, and Ottoman Turkish dances throughout the Washington, DC area and beyond.
In Fall 2013, she participated in a performance and cultural tour with the Nomad Dancers in Uzbekistan, presenting traditional Uzbek dances choreographed by Olimdjon Beknazarov. In addition to Central Asian and Middle Eastern cultural dances, Annie has also studied and performed ballet, bellydance, Bollywood and fusion choreographies. She is currently on faculty at Saffron Dance in Arlington, VA.
Hayal is an award-winning professional bellydancer, choreographer and instructor. Originally from Brazil, she now performs around the world, as both a solo artist and group collaborator. A veteran of several theatrical productions such as “Mahtab” (2012) in Portugal and “Bellydance Evolution”, Hayal boasts 20 years of experience as a dancer. After living and performing in several countries, including Brazil, New Zealand, Portugal, Egypt, and Italy, her talent has led her to France, where she resides today.
Born and raised in a family of Balkan music and folk dance fanatics, Jenna has been moving to groovy Slavic tunes from the womb. She began her formal dance training at age three and studied ballet and Russian character dance extensively under Eugene Petrov and the late Irine Fokine. While earning her Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Asian & Middle Eastern Cultures at Barnard College, Jenna discovered bellydance and joined the Columbia University Bellydance troupe in Fall of 2009. She quickly became the troupe's Vice-President and a leading choreographer.
Monet is a dance artist from NYC. Starting her dance experience in ballet, modern, jazz and samba, her most recent passion is raqs sharqi. Monet studies raqs sharqi intensively, regularly traveling domestically & internationally, including to Egypt, to study with master instructors. Proud to engage in this soulful art, she is focused and hardworking, always determined to grow.
Serena Spears is an internationally renowned and award-winning fusion dance performer, teacher, and choreographer from Brooklyn, NY. As a solo artist and instructor, she integrates decades of training in hip-hop, modern, African, ballet, and Latin dance with bellydance. Known for her boundless energy, athleticism, precise technique, and commanding stage presence, Serena focuses on creating exciting, seamless fusion that fascinates audiences around the world. In addition to her solo work, she has performed across the country as a principal dancer of Solstice Tribe, directed by Sera Solstice, as a member of Sepiatonic, based out of Portland, OR, and in recent collaborative projects with fusion dancers and choreographers including Ebony Qualls, Sharon Kihara, Mira Betz, Rin Ajna, Marcel March, Sekou McMiller, and Bellydance Evolution. She is very excited to be joining the cast of Elegant Universe for their East Coast tour.