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We are pleased to announce the performers of our Gala show!

Come to our Gala show Sunday July 9th live or virtually and see this amazing array of talent:

Bonnie Grate AZ DeVilla Georgette Jill Collins Kamala Princess Farhana Sekhmet Dance Co. with Shauntel and Nova Surreyya Hada Santa Cruz Sonia and Issam Houshan

Purchase workshops and show here:

Issam and DeVilla - Sunday July 9th - 11-12:30 pm

Middle Eastern musical rhythms are ancient and profound. They call us from our seats, beg us to sway, dance and lose ourselves in the music. In this workshop Issam will teach us the structure of some of these rhythms and help us, the dancers, better understand how to interpret them through our dance. DeVilla will guide the dancers through corresponding combinations that will be crafted together to create a short dance. This will help dancers better understand how to interpret these beautiful rhythms, feel more comfortable when dancing to them and more confident dancing to them live. All Levels encouraged!

Issam and DeVilla - Sunday July 9th - 1-2:30 pm

The interaction between a drummer and a dancer should be intense yet joyful. As a dancer, how do you know what to dance to with a live drummer? How do you know when he is going to change rhythms? Should you cue the drummer? As a musician, how long should you repeat a phrase? Should you control the dancer's direction? In this workshop you will learn the answers to these questions and much more. This is a unique interactive workshop featuring Issam and DeVilla. Ideal for dancers and musicians. Beginner to advanced. All Levels encouraged!

Issam, DeVilla and special guests! - Sunday, July 9th

Doors at 5:30 Show at 6:00 PM

In-Studio and Via Crowdcast!

This week featured Gala stars:

Sonya Ochoa of Los Angeles

Her love of music and dance has led her on a lifelong journey, exploring a vast collection of artistic movement, expression, and language. With a career spanning almost 25 years, Sonia Ochoa has toured with companies of various genres featuring her as a principal dancer and contributing choreographer, most notably with the Bellydance Superstars (2002-2010). Managed by music mogul Miles Copeland, she was catapulted into the world of raqs sharqi, performing in some of the most prestigious theaters and popular television shows across the globe. Yet, her passion did not come to a standstill with one dance form. A dedicated and ardent student, Sonia circles the globe to undergo intensive dance training.

She has travelled extensively through India, Egypt and Spain to study Odissi Indian classical dance, Egyptian folk dances, flamenco and classical Spanish dance. Drawing from a vast background, she has developed a signature style of her own and has been presented with opportunities to collaborate with fellow artists worldwide. Whilst residing in her native city of Los Angeles, she collaborates with local artists, conducting workshops and directing the Sonia Ochoa Dance Co., among other projects. Always seeking to enrich her artistic voice, Sonia hopes to make a small contribution to our global dance communities, bridging cultural gaps and uplifting audiences through the knowledge and beauty of music and dance.

Princess Farhana of Hollywood

Internationally acclaimed dance star Princess Farhana (Pleasant Gehman) has performed, taught, researched and written about belly dance and burlesque since 1990. She has appeared in Egypt, Turkey, Hong Kong and Australia; toured several times across Europe and The United Kingdom, as well as throughout North America. An artistic chameleon and a boundary-pushing pioneer, she performs many styles of dance with ease, from ultra-traditional to contemporary belly dance and burlesque. Her diverse talents encompass visual, literary, musical, and dramatic arts as well as dance. She has fronted three bands, and is featured as an actor in several motion pictures and television shows, and has been interviewed for numerous feature-length documentaries, including director Steve Balderson's "Underbelly: A Year In The Life Of Princess Farhana".

Surreyya Hada of Santa Cruz

Director of the acclaimed Dangerous Beauties dance troupe and Co-director of Troupe Scimitar, Surreyya is an award-winning, international performer and instructor. She sings in English and Turkish, and dances regularly solo as well as with several world fusion and rock bands. She has performed for the cast of Cirque du Soleil and is an annual entertainer for Apple, Sandisk and Yahoo corporations and other national and international festivals. Surreyya is a LEAP program BA awardee via Saint Mary's College of Moraga, CA. She received her Dance Major Degree at CCSF, is a certified Pilates, Barre and TRX Master Trainer and holds a Guinness Book World Record in Roller Skating.


DeVilla is a prolific and multi-award-winning Middle Eastern dancer based in Los Angeles, known for her polished and dramatic stage presentations. She has studied dance extensively since childhood; including the Ahla Wa Sahlan Dance Festival in Cairo to learn from Egyptian greats such as Raqia Hassan, Dr. Mo Geddawi, Rhanda Kamel, Momo Kadous, and Diana. She has also trained with renowned dancers in America such as Zahra Zuhair, Helena Vlahos, Kamala Almanzar, Fahtiem, Jillina, Ansuya, and Sadie. DeVilla’s performances have been said to be dynamic, mixing contemporary raqs sharqi innovation with classical Egyptian inspiration. DeVilla works both locally and nationally as a soloist and troupe leader. She has held the title of Artistic Director for a multitude of troupes, and currently leads Sekhmet Dance Company, established 2010 and named Cairo Shimmyquake Fan Favorite 2021. DeVilla and Sekhmet Dance Company have performed at events such as A Night of World Dance at PCC Center for the Arts, Jillina’s nationally touring show The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and headlined Cairo Caravan on the historic Queen Mary. Even so, DeVilla and the Sekhmets may be best known for producing the Siren Sundays dinner showcase, which sold out seating for 4 years at Moun of Tunis Restaurant---a hub for North African culture for over 40 years.​


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 belly dancers. 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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