RSDC About Us

Raqs Sharqi
(pronounced Raks-Shark-i) 

is an Arabic word meaning “Dance of our Country ”


Raqs Sharqi Dance Company (RSDC) is governed by a
"Sisterhood
of Dancers" incorporating its owner,
Anne Knowles (Alhena) and four
other teachers whose
bellydance roots are RSDC based.


Meisie, Angela, Micah and Nadia teach classes in the
Pietermaritzburg
& Howick area of Kwazulu-Natal. 

Anne's classes are held at her home in Bethulie,
southern Free State.




Our aim . . .

To uphold good ethics, preserve dance fellowships and maintain
a high
standard of Middle Eastern Dance.

Irrespective of which teacher a student dances under,
all RSDC dancers
are encouraged to see themselves
as part of a "family" and to  participate
and interact as such.




Middle Eastern Dance Styles
covered by RSDC


Classical Egyptian
Egyptian Folkloric (Saidi)
Turkish Gypsy
Finger Cymbals
Modern Egyptian Shaabi
Arabic-Flamenco
Persian (Khaleegee)
American Cabaret 
Isis Wings
Tribal Style







RSDC supports SADTA
Bellydance Division Accreditation


Foundation Phase:  Tests 1 - 3
A fun introduction for young children which introduces
musicality, body isolation and core stability


Amateur Grades:  Assessments 1 - 7
Development of the dancer, focusing on musicality,
Arabic rhythms, dance technique
and performance


Sisterhood

AlhenaALHENA

Alhena's journey into dance began in Shalimar Harrison's studio (Johannesburg - 1989). 
A move to Kwazulu-Natal created an opportunity to introduce 'Maritzburgers' to belly dance and RSDC was born in 1999.    The RSDC Sisterhood came into being in 2014 and the small town of Bethulie in the southern Free State is now her home.


From Turkish style beginings, Alhena's path of study has meandered through a variety of studios and workshops of local teachers and international master teachers, including Mahmoud Rheda, "Grandfather of Modern Middle Eastern Dance".  
Deeper insight into the cultural and multi-faceted aspects of the dance were gained by working visits to Lebanon and Egypt and Egyptian influence is now very evident in her dance. 

"Gypsy" will, however, always be upper-most in nature and this is reflected in her preference for gypsy-syle costumes and a personal dance style which has become a fusion of Turkish and Egyptian.  She also has a deep seated interest in a version of American Tribal Style dance.

Anne has been heavily involved in pioneering a national assessment structure for South African belly dance and was instumental in promoting the 'Belly Dance Association of South Africa' for inclusion in SADTA www.sadta.co.za She administered SADTA Bellydance Division www.bellydancingsa.co.za for a number of years and now fills the role of treasurer for the organisation

PHILOSOPHY:  
“I believe that Belly dance and Holism go hand-in-hand"

Meisie

MEISIE

Meisie began her belly dance career with RSDC in 2006 and has completed
SADTA-BD Amateur Grading. 


 A patient and ethusiastic, Egyptian-style teacher, Meisie also enjoys the flair of Arabic-Flamenco.  

She has attended a number of workshops given by visiting master teachers and is currently working through her SADTA-BD Teacher Levels.


Meisie teaches beginner and intermediate classes in Pietermaritzburg. 


PHILOSOPHY:
“Dance with your heart;  Dance with your soul”

AngelaANGELA

A natural mover and ex-Irish-tap dancer, Angela finally decided to try belly dance and joined RSDC in 2006. 

She brings a "funky-ness" to our group and is in her element with Modern Egyptian style dance.  


Angela is a professional performer for RSDC and heads up the Advanced classes in Pietermaritzburg.


SADTA-BD Amateur Grading is behind her and Teacher Levels are her next step.



PHILOSOPHY:
“Dance like no-one is watching"

MicahMICAH

Micah’s love for dance started at the age of 11 when she joined RSDC - it quickly became more than a hobby. This young woman began taking numerous workshops and master classes with world-renowned dancers and choreographers - including trips to Egypt, Europe and the USA. She has also completed her SADTA-BD Amateur Grading and, in 2015, won the title of Miss Belly Dance South Africa.

Micah finds inspiration for her dancing in music, movies, books and life experiences. Micah teaches Tribal belly dance, creative workshops and beginner courses at RSDC.


PHILOSOPHY:
“I value the belly dance community and the powerful impact it has on women across the globe.”

 

NadiaNADIA

Nadia began belly dancing with RSDC in 2009. 

Her Italian roots give rise to a passion which is stirred by the grounded, Gypsy elements of the dance.  

Tribal style is also dear to Nadia's heart.
She attends a variety of visiting master teacher workshop and has completed SADTA-BD Amateur Grading.

Nadia teaches beginner classes in Howick and she is currently working on SADTA-BD Teacher Levels.

 
PHILOSOPHY:
“If you think positively - Sound becomes music;  Movement becomes dance;  Smile becomes laughter;  Mind becomes meditation and life becomes a celebration!”

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