The art of belly dance & the community of amazing women have helped me grow and be inspired every day. -Nunah


Adrienne began her dance journey in Texas back in 2006 as a member of Sa'diyya's award-winning troupe, Danza della Luna.  She relocated to the DC area in late 2010 where she quickly joined the Saffron community.  A graduate of Saffron Dance's Teacher Training Certification, she now serves as a member of the Dalia Performance Company.

Dance has been an integral part of Andrea’s life for as long as she can remember. Though she’s enjoyed many dance styles, including modern, jazz, ballroom and salsa, when she discovered belly dance, she knew she had truly found her passion!

Persian Dance Program Director | Annie discovered her love of dance and performance at an early age, starting with figure skating and ballet. After moving to the DC area, Annie spent several years as a member of the Nomad Dancers, where she was immediately drawn to the energy and artistry of Central Asian and Middle Eastern dance styles. She has performed Persian, Afghani, Tajik, Azeri, Uzbek, Uighur, and Turkish dances throughout the Washington, DC area and beyond.

Dona considers herself Persian-American and has always had a strong affinity for music and dance.  She has been belly dancing since first discovering Saffron Dance in 2009, and is now a recent graduate of the Saffron Teacher Training program, as well as a member of the Maqsoum Performance Company.

Artistic Director | Elena Faye is an award-winning performer and teacher based in the DC metropolitan area. Born into a family of dancers, painters, and musicians, Elena was surrounded by art from a young age. She first began belly dancing at the age of 14, under the instruction of DC-based dancer Najwah (Karen McLane). After four years of study, Elena relocated to New York City in order to pursue her undergraduate degree at Columbia University's Barnard College.

Cultural Consultant | An electrifying performer and generous teacher, Faten spent over two decades delighting the international belly dance community.  A native Egyptian, Faten began dancing at 11 years of age when she was selected to attend a dance school for children run by country's first-ever national folk troupe, and was one of the first dancers selected for troupe membership.  Saffron's resident expert on Egyptian traditional dance, Faten offers extensive cultural & ethnographic knowledge and gives Saffron the ability to create informed folklore presentations.

Tribal Fusion Program Director | 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 dance training at age three and studied ballet and Russian character dance under Eugene Petrov and the late Irine Fokine.  

Keika discovered belly dance in 2002. First a hobby, it soon became a passion, as Keika fell in love with the beauty and sensuality of the dance. She was--and continues to be--inspired by how belly dance is shared by women of all ages, backgrounds, and shapes and sizes.

Managing Director | Linda found belly dance in 2010 at Saffron Dance. As she worked her way through Saffron's curriculum she noticed that her body seemed to latch onto the movement and her mind constantly wanted more. She quickly advanced and is currently a member of Dalia Company & Saffron Dance Company.

Malek's passion for Middle Eastern dance began in 2002 and continues to deepen. For the past 6 years she has trained extensively with Saphira and Saffron Dance methodology. In addition, she has studied with Artemis, Asharah, Bozenka, Faten Salama & Mohamed Shahin.

Founder | 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.

Past & Guest Faculty

April Rose began bellydance at age 11 in Sacramento, California after being inspired by one of Suhaila Salimpour’s company performances at the Renaissance Faire.  After studying 5 years of cabaret style bellydance under Daleela Morad, she became a student of fusion bellydance at Amy Sigil's Hot Pot Studios. From 2005 to 2010 April Rose danced with Sigil’s hard-hitting experimental troupe UNMATA.<--break->

Bagoas is an award winning tribal fusion belly dancer known for his musicality, lyricism, technical power, precision, dramatic presentations, overwhelming charisma and down to earth interaction with his audience.  In 2010 he won the title of the Yellow Rose of Texas at Ya Halla Y'all in the Professional Tribal Alternative Men's category.

Blythe discovered her love of Oriental dance in 2000 and has since studied with international artists such as Raqia Hassan, Amir Thaleb, and Randa Kamel as well as respected instructors Noor Jihan and Saphira. In 2007, Blythe began to study intensively under with master instructor and Saffron faculty member Faten Salama.

Kids & Teens Faculty | Belly dancer Habbibah is a Speech & Language Pathologist who has been working with children since 2004.  Through her unique Hips to Lips methodolgy Habbibah has combined her love of dance with her professional training by teaching preschoolers phonemic awareness skills via dance.

Known for her joyful spirit, Khalila delights in connecting with audiences and students alike. She treasures the opportunity to share this beautiful art form with others through teaching and performing. Khalila encourages her students to find their own voice and fosters self-expression.

Mayyada fell into belly dance in 2002 and never looked back. She began her love affair with the dance form studying and performing with DC-based dancer and performer Najwah, and was also a founding member of the eclectic-fusion-belly dance troupe Benat Baharat, which performed privately and publicly around the DC area.

A lover of music and dance her whole life, Mireya discovered her passion for Bellydance in 2006.  She began her formal study of Egyptian Oriental technique with Saphira at Saffron Dance in 2008, and has studied with Mohamed Shahin and Faten Salama as part of Saffron’s student companies.  Mireya enjoys dancing both folkloric and classical forms of this beautiful dance tradition, and is known for her playful and earthy style.  Mireya is a member of Maqsoum Company.

Egyptian born Mohamed Shahin is a world-renowned performer, instructor, and choreographer of Egyptian Oriental Dance and Middle Eastern Folk Dance. His powerful technique, magnetic personality, and masterful knowledge of all styles of Middle Eastern Dance has turned him into one of the most sought after dance instructors and performers in the world today.  

A native Palestinian born in Damascus, Mona began dancing Dabkeh at family gatherings at age 13.  In 2008, she co-founded the California-based Zaytouna Dabkeh Troupe with a group of full-time professionals committed to preserving and sharing the rich & joyous Palestinian culture through Dabkeh.  Zaytouna won many prizes and continues to be actively involved in the community & local charity.  

Moria Chappell travels across the globe performing and teaching the exquisite art of Tribal Fusion bellydance. 

Beginning her dance career in Atlanta, GA in 2001 with Awalim Dance Company, Moria moved to San Francisco in 2005 to study with The Suhaila Dance School, and was invited to join The Suhaila Dance Company and Bal Anat, from which she learned the extreme muscle control and isolation fundamental to her current style.

With over 4 decades of experience, Nourhan Sharif is a leading artist of Middle Eastern dance and music.  Her years of immersion in Arabic culture lends her dance an authentic depth that is immediately recognized by her audiences – including students, peers, and Middle Easterners. Nourhan deftly combines Egyptian lyricism and Lebanese theatricality with her own personal expression.

Tamalyn Dallal has done nearly everything in her 38 year Middle Eastern dance career. She has performed for stars such as sean Connery, Michael Jackson and James Brown (to name a few), the president of El Salvador and the King of Jordan.

Directing the Mid Eastern Dance Exchange, a non profit organization, dance school and performing company in Miami Beach, she taught and mentored dancers such as Amar Gamal and Bozenka, Virginia and others. She organized the Orientalia dance festival and produced numerous theatrical productions. 

Victoria Teel is an award winning performer and instructor. Quickly growing a passion for the dance and culture, she soon worked with internationally acclaimed artists, directors, and producers. In 2010, Victoria was chosen along with 24 dancers to participate in the world's first belly dance reality show, Project Belly Dance.