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Bellydance Booster & Beyond: We have two more classes left in our Bellydance Booster 2 series: Saturdays April 8th & 15th! So what's next? Saturday, April 22nd will be a pop up drum solo workshop with performance opportunities. In May, we will be moving into special dance collective rehearsals: May 6th - 27th, 10:00 - 11:00 am. With May 27th as our dress rehearsal for Cairo ShimmyQuake, 10:00 - 11:30 am. So get ready to dance, dance, dance!


Come to my Drum Solo Choreography workshop, learn the choreo and dance with me in the IndepenDANCE Day Gala Show with Master Percussionist Issam Houshan! Sign up for the workshop, get in the show for free, and dance with me and Issam!


Be whisked away by mesmerizing song, intoxicating dance and delectable libations - a most extravagant evening of music, wine & performance!

More about the Players:

Georges Lammam Georges Lammam was born in Beirut, Lebanon. He is a solo violinist exemplifying the Arab style of instrumental improvisation. His repertoire spans a wide range of Arabic music from classical to contemporary. Having performed with some of the most well-known singers and musicians of the Middle East, his reputation as a virtuoso with expertise in maqamat (eastern musical scales, ornimentation, tones and melodic phrasing) precedes him. Georges has toured and is celebrated internationally alongside artists like Eddie and Gabriel Navia, and is passionate activist in humanitarian causes in Greece, Syria, Iraq and Iran. His work has scored and can be heard in multiple documentaries.

Janelle Rodriguez Janelle has been teaching dance in Santa Cruz for nearly 2 decades. She has owned Desert Dream Dance Studio in Santa Cruz since 2008, and founded the dance company and music ensemble, "Desert Dream Music and Dance Company" in 2002. Passionate about dance study, Janelle received her Salimpour School Teaching 1 certification (formerly Suhaila Salimpour Level 5) in 2020 and is currently working on her Performance 2 (formerly Jamila Salimpour Level 4) certificate. She also teaches barre and pilates. Her thriving studio, Desert Dream Dance, has survived and expanded during the pandemic. For more information about Janelle and her belly dance classes visit

Surreyya Hada An international dancer, singer and instructor, Surreyya Hada teaches belly dance, barre and pilates in Santa Cruz at Desert Dream Dance Studio. Surreyya received her AA and Dance Major and African and Contemporary Dance Certifications through the Izzy (Isadora Duncan) award-winning City College of San Francisco, and her BA in Dance/Kinesiology at Saint Mary's College of Moraga as a LEAP program awardee, where she is completing her MA in Dance. Surreyya teaches and dances throughout the bay area and has performed and taught internationally. She is a Master Trainer in Pilates, and has trained and certified many of the Bay Area's leading pilates instructors and dancers.

Devilla DeVilla is a professional belly dancer and award-winning makeup artist for television and film based in Los Angeles. Her elegant dance style reflects her love of old Hollywood and Egyptian Raks Sharqi. She has traveled throughout the US and Egypt to study with master teachers to hone her craft and create her unique blend of beauty, art, and dance to delight audiences everywhere. DeVilla is the Artistic Directorof Sekhmet Dance Company in Los Angeles, established in 2010 and house dancer at Cafe Sevilla inLong Beach. She teaches dance and makeup artistry in LA and is available for workshops, both locally,and throughout the world. Info at

About MJA Vineyards: The story of MJA Vineyards brings you on an adventure. The founder, Marin John Artukovich – the “MJA,” comes from a long line of Croatian tradesmen and farmers, steeped in the culture of winemaking. During the process of farming the land, and handcrafting from its bounty, the winemaker in him was awakened. In August 2007, Marin purchased vineyards in Napa and made his first barrel of MJA wine under the Serene Cellars label. In 2011, he purchased more land in the Santa Cruz Mountains, where a selection of our DaVine Cellars grapes are grown. His success at growing and producing a high-quality product transferred to MJA Vineyards, with many of his wines placing in competitions across the United States, such as the Los Angeles International Wine Competition, Monterey International Wine Competition, Finger Lakes Wine Competition, and many more. From Croatia to Hawaii, to Napa, to Santa Cruz – when you visit our tasting rooms or drink our wines, we swear you can taste the journey and feel the Aloha!



Get those dance films ready and check the website / facebook for all the submission details: or


Best Story

Best Picture

Best Cinematography /Visual Effects / Editing

Best Raqs Sharqi (Oryantal, Vintage, Am Cab)

Best Folkloric

Best Fusion

Best Live Performance

Best Documentary Short & Long

Best Artistic Production / Dance Theater

Best Ensemble

Best Costume Design

Best Original Song

People’s Choice


All Films Must Be:

Original works

Feature a form of Raqs Sharqi (Bellydance) or Middle Eastern folklore

Minimum of 2 minutes long and a maximum of 10 minutes

Documentary submissions may be any length up to 90 minutes

Documentaries may feature any topic related to Middle Eastern folkdance, history, research etc.

Should not be available for purchase or widely distributed

May not have already been submitted to this festival whether previously featured or not

Films that are explicitly sexual, violent or racist will not be considered in any way.


These two masters of their craft are teaming up for a sizzling Sunday of workshops with performance opportunities and a gala show on July 9th, 2023. Deepen your knowledge of Arabic rhythms and sharpen your skills dancing to **live music**, and then get glammed up to watch DeVilla and Issam perform in the IndepenDANCE Day Gala with some extra-special guests! Registration info is live - hit the link below to reserve your spot either in-studio or online.



The union of music and movement is the essence of dance. The union of a musician and a dancer to create a seamless artistic expression of oneness between the two is the ultimate manifestation of such a union. Issam Houshan is one of the rarest of talents as that is exactly what he does, Call him the Wassan Pharaoun, King Of The Drum, or Mr. Magic Fingers and you only tell the half of it. It's his connection to the dancer that is the essence of his magic. It is a merging of egos serving a mutual and identical goal that few musicians ever master fully. Issam is now recognized as the ultimate master of this art. In the BDSS Issam has become a mentor, partner, and inspiration giving selflessly to the good of the troupe as a whole. Issam was born in Syria and emigrated to the U.S. 24 years ago. He had formal music training in the Damascus Academy of Music and went on to drum for a host of Arab music stars and famous bellydancers. He is also the only remaining disciple of the legendary Arab drum master Mahmood Salahadeen. In the U.S. he performed with Sting on the Grammy's and with the BELLYDANCE SUPERSTARS in over 879 shows in 20 countries. Issam's background, training and experience have made him in huge demand for drum tutorials and workshops. He does these both on his own and in conjunction with bellydance instructors especially Jillina, Sonia, Amar Gamal, Bozenka, Aziza, Rachel Brice, Sharon Kihara, Kami Little, Zoe Jakes,..and more.


~ dance ~ fitness ~ beauty ~ body & soul ~

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