Shahina is a professional belly dancer, a performer of Middle Eastern dance or danse orientale. Shahina lives near Glen Ellyn Illinois in the western suburbs of Chicago. In addition to her vocation as a belly dancer and her other dance pursuits, Shahina finds artistic expression in silk dyeing, figure modeling, painting, drawing, and composing poetry.
Shahina’s love affair with belly dance began at the age of 15 years when she made her stage debut at Dulles Athenian Fireside in Elmhurst Illinois. Since then, her appreciation and respect for this art form have evolved into a deep passion to pursue dance as a vocation. Shahina trains intensively in ballet, jazz, dance theatre and yoga as well as Middle Eastern dance.
When performing Shahina’s focus is on her life long love, Egyptian style dance. She does also perform other styles of belly dance and Hawaiian style hula dance. On occasion she may also be seen performing jazz and dance theatre.
Shahina dances for public and private events and parties across the United States and teaches in her Glen Ellyn studio. Shahina’s classes are a balance of stretching, strengthening, dance technique, meditative dance and visualization practice for lessons that nourish body, mind and spirit.
Although she has studied under many teachers, she credits every dancer she has ever watched with teaching her the dance of life.
“It isn’t what you know, but what you feel that brings the dance to life. Whenever I dance it is my hope that something in my dance will light a spark in someone who has been searching for healing or compassion or a kindred soul.”
Shahina finds means of artistic expression through a multitude of avenues. In addition to writing poetry, she enjoys painting and dying silk scarves and veils and teaches belly dance and silk dying to dancers and artists. She has performed and taught across the United States and has studied with many internationally acclaimed dancers and musicians.
Shahina is the Artistic Director of dance troupes Zephyra and Asfoura, presenting the art of belly dance in its true spirit— artistic, joyful, sensual and with respect toward the Middle Eastern cultures from which it originates.
Most belly dancers use a special name when they dance. Ideally the name is chosen for its meaning, not just because it sounds pleasant when spoken. It took me a long time to choose a name because I wanted one that fit me then, but which would still allow me to grow and change without outgrowing my name.
Shahina is an Arabic name meaning “falconess.” I chose it as an inspiration to keep soaring ever higher and more gracefully. Yet, like a falconess, I am never truly free but always return to my falconer, fledglings, and worldly responsibilities.
Some say that the Sanskrit name Shahina means “gentle, soft and tender.” In Lebanon the Sanskrit meaning of Shahina is taking as “one who watches over.”
Zephyra is Shahina’s performance troupe. Zephyra, under the artistic direction of Shahina, is comprised of western dancers honoring and uniting the ancient Middle Eastern origins of belly dance with the modern day madonna that lives and breathes within all women from all cultures.
Asfoura is the Arabic word for a little bird still under the wing of its mother. Not yet a soaring falconess, Asfoura is Shahina’s pre-teen maiden dance troupe, consisting of girls ages 7-14.
About Middle Eastern Belly Dance
This huge topic is well categorized in the links area. Current brief articles about belly dance from the world press are found on the news page; older articles are in the news archives. Lengthier texts and musical selections are reviewed in the bookstore. Illustrations are found in the gallery.
Shahina has taught Middle Eastern dance at:
Academy of Dance Arts Downers Grove Illinois
University of Chicago International House Chicago Illinois
Wilderness Trails Ranch Durango Colorado
Simone’s Seventh Veil St Louis Missouri
Villa Park Recreation Department Villa Park Illinois
Shahina now teaches exclusively at Shahina’s Studio Glen Ellyn Illinois.