We are so incredibly excited about our stellar lineup of instructors this year! Check it out!

Cassandra's Web Site
Cassandra Fox is a belly dance and Caribbean fusion dance instructor and performer from Coldwater, Ontario, Canada. She started dancing in 2008 and since then has been committed to developing her skills and art, and has had the privilege to learn from various workshop instructors such as Saida, Randa Kamel, Tito Seif, and Dandash.

Largely known for her powerful shimmies, free spirited performances, strong technique, and the emotion and personality that she exudes while performing and teaching she has become a sought after performer and instructor both locally and in the international dance community.

Cassandra has considerable competition experience, having competed from 2010 until 2014 in various competitions, highlights include multiple top 4 finishes at Belly Dancer of the Universe in Long Beach California including winning Champion in the fusion category in 2012, and the People's Choice Award from Drum Solo in 2014.

She is perhaps most well known for her Caribbean Fusion style which pulls on her Caribbean heritage (Her family is originally from Jamaica) which fuses Caribbean music and movement with elements of belly dance movement and musicality, and for her expressive and spirited drum solos.

Sharon Kihara is regarded as one of the most seasoned and well-traveled artists in her genre, and is known for her avante-garde artistic sensibility that defies replication. She is both a dance and yoga therapy teacher, 200 RYT certified by Yoga Alliance.

Sharon began her training at three, beginning the way most dancers begin, at the ballet barre. Jazz, Tap, and Congolese would follow soon after, and by the age of ten, Sharon stumbled upon a treasure—a belly dance performance featuring the world renowned dancers Aziza and Yemaya, and it was indeed life changing. Belly dance became a life obsession, and at age 13, Sharon began performing. Later she pursued degrees in choreography and kinesiology in tandem with holistic medicine, and performed regularly with her college repertory contemporary dance company.

Sharon’s education in belly dance has been eclectic, beginning with the legendary Zamara, grand-niece of Ruth St Denis, in Oregon in 1994; later in San Francisco with Frederique David and Jill Parker as a member of Ultra Gypsy, one of the foremost innovating companies in the earliest days of Tribal Fusion.  Later Sharon studied immersively with Suhaila Salimpour as a certified dancer and member of the Salimpour school.

In late 2003, at the behest of friend Rachel Brice, Sharon was scouted to perform with the pioneering dance company Bellydance Superstars, created by music mogul and svengali Miles Copeland. Sharon spent over five years on tour as Tribal director, soloist, and choreographer. After leaving the tour to pursue new dreams, she was recruited by Jillina to dance as a principal and choreographer in the unique and critically acclaimed new touring production, Bellydance Evolution. Sharon is in the rare position of being the only tribal dancer to have been featured as Principal dancer in two of the world’s most distinct international touring belly dance companies.

In 2009 Sharon moved to Berlin, Germany, and created the first comprehensive Tribal cross-training program in Germany, focusing on Tribal Fusion belly dance, folkloric Oriental styles, Classical Ballet, Ankoku Butoh, and Yoga.  

Sharon happily resides in beautiful Portland, Oregon where she has recently created the Catharsis Dance Collective, a world dance studio and performance group. When not creating in the studio or traveling the world, Sharon designs fine jewelry and enjoys being a Dogmom.

George's Web Site
Drummer and Egyptian tabla player (dumbek), George’s musical journey took him through Middle Eastern music, Jazz, music of the Arabian Gulf, the Balkans, and his niche and first love, Egyptian music of his native land.

Growing up as a drum kit player, George had a chance to learn several styles of music that did not necessarily use the Egyptian tabla which helped broaden his approach to composing tabla grooves. As a teenager, George performed in international clubs around the Northwest during the ’80s. In the ’90s, he relocated to LA where he performed in international shows and was a studio session artist.

Today, George performs around the Northwest with several bands and runs his Barking Dog studio in Edmonds, Washington. He enjoys teaching Tabla and sharing his music with all. George will be teaching drumming at the retreat.

House of Tarab's Web Site
The band, House of Tarab, aka H.O.T, performs vintage live Arabic music often accompanied by word-class belly dancers. Performing classic and traditional belly dance music with a heavy cabaret touch is their specialty.

Tarab is a state of ecstasy and surrender one enters while listening, with body and soul, to music. Whether it’s the dancing strings of the oud, the weeping melody of the violin, the mystical call of the nay, or the pulsating rhythm of the drums... the House of Tarab invites you in. 

Malia Clancy is a Vinyasa Yoga Instructor in the Edmonds, WA area, teaching for private group sessions and yoga retreats. She has a passion for both yoga and various styles of dance, often incorporating dance-like flows into her sequences. This will be Malia’s third year providing calm, safe, and unique instruction at Emerald Sanctuary Belly Dance Retreat, guiding with acknowledgment to all individuals needs.

Zaphara's Web Site
A master instructor & entertainer in the Pacific Northwest, Zaphara is one of the few belly dancers in the US of Greek heritage. She has appeared in night clubs and taught workshops throughout the Northwest and other US cities.  During that time, she has appeared on local, Canadian, Japanese & National TV shows (ABC's 20/20).

Zaphara has co-produced, hosted, and performed in 4 one-hour TV shows on public access; Belly Dance 101, My Big Fat Greek TV show, The Cairo Connection, and It's Greek To Me.

Zaphara has also traveled to Greece, Egypt, Turkey, Bogotá Columbia, & the United Arab Emirates to study, perform, and teach Middle Eastern dance. In Cairo, Egypt, she trained with Nagua Fuad, Egypt's "Queen of Oriental Dance" and with Mahmoud Reda, choreographer/director of the Reda Dance Troupe. In Seattle, her instructor for 10 years was Shamiriam Pick, International Singer & Dancer from Iran.

Zaphara is choreographer/director of Zaphara's Middle Eastern Dancers, who are members of the Ethnic Heritage Council of the Pacific Northwest.

Indigo is the Founder, Organizer, and Mastermind of Emerald Sanctuary Belly Dance Retreat. She started belly dancing in 1998 and is well-known throughout the Pacific Northwest dance community.