Founder & Artistic Director | Saphira has been teaching dance for more than two decades and has been a professional oriental dance artist, teacher, and choreographer since 1996. As a performer, her vibrant Egyptian inspired styling and natural interpretation of oriental music captures audiences by portraying classical oriental raqs sharqi ("belly dance") movement through precision, strength, and grace.
She has been a featured soloist for international vocalists and performs regularly in theatres, festivals, and private functions.As a teacher, she teaches proper body alignment and articulated technique, and encourages students to identify their unique voice within the dance. Saphira has earned the reputation of supporting students through their belly dance journey. She celebrates that each dancer may come to class with a unique goal, whether one seeks to master technique, achieve fitness goals, improve one's self-image and body awareness, escape from the daily stress of life, explore feminine movement, or simply have fun.
After teaching thousands of students how to develop the mind, body, and musical awareness to create movement with an intended aesthetic, Saphira has developed an outstanding reputation for breaking down movement for all levels of dancers. Though Saphira's teaching style has been greatly influenced by an extensive background and training in classical jazz and modern dance, her classes emphasize developing an understanding of how muscle architecture and control shape Middle Eastern dance movement and how to direct movement efficiently and intentionally.
Before creating Saffron Dance, Saphira enjoyed six years as a Co-Founder and Managing Director of Raqs Sahara, a nationally regarded Middle Eastern Dance Company. Saphira was also a founding teacher at Sahara Dance located in Washington, DC. She is featured in the film American Belly Dancer, the first feature documentary on the art and practice of belly dance in the United States. She has been featured regularly by DANCER, Fox Morning News, THE WASHINGTONIAN, and THE GEORGETOWNER. Saphira also holds the title of 2003 Grand Champion and People's Choice Award of the East Coast Belly Dance Competition. Before following her dreams to open her own dance studio, Saphira spent ten years as Rachael Galoob-Ortega, a practicing lawyer licensed in Washington, DC and Florida.
- Birchmere with Belly Dance Superstars (Alexandria, VA)
- International Belly Dance Conference of Canada (Toronto, Canada)
- Impressions of Egypt - Dance Place (Washington, DC)
- Nancy Ajram Concert (Crystal City, VA)
- 9:30 Club (Washington, DC)
- Oriental Dance Gala
- Egyptian Academy ( New York, NY)
- Ahlan Wa Sahlan (Cairo, Egypt)
- Artscape (Baltimore, MD)
- Embassy of United Kingdom (Washington, DC)
- "Sin Den" sponsored by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel (Washington, DC)
- "Caliente" Red Circle Gala at Flashpoint (Washington, DC)