THE BELLY DANCER
Rena has been studying and performing Middle Eastern Dance since 2002 when she began training with Miami-based Oriental Dance Artist, Virginia. Rena initially incorporated belly dance into her workout routine as part of her health and fitness regimen. Within days, she fell in love with the art form and decided she not only wanted to reap the physical benefits from it, but was also interested in performing and educating others. Rena's performance style is American Cabaret, with elements of Egyptian, Lebanese, Turkish, Latin, Brazilian and Flamenco. She has been commended by both her mentors and colleagues for her precise hip and abdominal work, expressive hand and arm movements and overall passionate delivery.
In order to further both her artistic and emotional interpretation of Middle Eastern Dance, Rena strives for personal excellence through consistent training with various dance instructors and has taken intensive workshops with some of the best Oriental Dance Artists including: Sahra Saeeda, Fahtiem, Raqia Hassan, Aziza, Suhaila Salimpour, Virginia, Jim Boz, Kaya and Momo Kadous.
While living in Philadelphia between March 2005 and August 2010, Rena maintained a busy schedule as a performer and instructor. She taught both Beginner and Intermediate Level Belly Dance classes at Studio 1831 and collaborated closely with the studio owner and artistic director, Valerie Rushmere, in coordinating belly dance shows, workshops and training as well as writing and teaching choreography. During this time, Rena also performed extensively at various locations including cultural festivals, weddings, corporate events, haflas (which means party in Arabic) and other VIP parties. Additionally, she appeared on Philadelphia's Channel 6 Action News as the featured belly dancer at the Annual Spring Festival Parade. Other performance venues are: Caesar’s, Harrah's and Ballys casinos in Atlantic City, World Café Live in downtown Philadelphia, St. Maron's Annual Lebanese Festival in South Philadelphia, Drexel University, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology and Rakkasah East Middle Eastern Dance Festival in Somerset, New Jersey.
Rena has performed with some of the best musicians in the Philadelphia/South Jersey/New York areas including: Roger Mgrdichian (Oud), Joe Tayoun (Doumbek/Riq/Percussion), Adeeb Rafela (Violin), Bill Phipps (Percussion), William Tayoun (Doumbek/Riq/Percussion), Elliot Levin (Flute/Saxophone), Chris Marashlian (Bass Guitar), Elias Sarkar (Violin/Vocals), Tito Rubio (Guitar), Hafez Ali Kotain (Doumbek/Durbuka/Percussion), Bill Koutsouros (Bouzouki/Oud/Doumbek) and World Fusion Band Animus. She feels beyond privileged to have shared the stage with these virtuosos who are masters at their craft!
After having relocated back to Miami to be near her family, Rena continues to strive in sharing her love and passion of Middle Eastern Dance through performances, educational opportunities and her support of other colleagues in the South Florida community. She has performed at the annual Anti-Cancer Belly Dancers’ “Shimmy for a Cause”, an event which raises money for and awareness of cancer and features dancers who are either cancer survivors or have family members who are. She currently performs regularly at Sawa Restaurant & Lounge in Coral Gables along with a rotating lineup of other talented performers. She is extremely thankful that she can bring her love of dance to this elegant venue and, most importantly, bring joy into the hearts of children and adults alike. Rena’s energetic spirit, drive and positive outlook are strong factors in her determination to stay strong, healthy and at peace. However, the greatest contributing factors are her loving family and spiritual connection with God.