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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Shira's Dance Bio

 

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Biography

Shira’s journey with Middle Eastern dance began in 1981. Having already studied folk dances of other regions, she tried a class in Middle Eastern dance in Iowa City, Iowa, and discovered a passion for it. Shira continued her studies in Ohio and California over the years that followed. She began performing professionally in 1986, and teaching in 1997. She is the creator of Shira.net, the most popular web site in the world for belly dancing.

Shira is known worldwide for her work as a researcher, author, lecturer, and publisher of information on Middle Eastern dance, music, and culture. She has been interviewed by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal for stories on Middle Eastern dance, and is highly sought after as a contributor to magazines centered on this art form. This web site, www.shira.net, is the most comprehensive and most linked-to Oriental dance web site in the world.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Pixie Vision Productions, Glendale, California.

Shira

Although she had already been dancing many years by then, in 1997 Shira began her serious study and research into the historical and cultural foundations of Middle Eastern dance. For continuing education, she has traveled three times to Turkey and nine times to Egypt.

In 2014, Shira was the recipient of two dance awards in recognition of her work with the Shira.net web site:

  1. Electronic Instructor of the Year category of the International Ambassador of Bellydance competition
  2. Lifetime Achievement Award category of the International Ambassador of Bellydance competition

Her academic credentials include:

  • Bachelor of Arts. University of Iowa. 1979, double major in journalism & French
  • Master of Business Administration. University of Iowa. 1982.

At this time, Shira is based in Iowa City, Iowa, USA. She spent 20 years living and dancing in the San Francisco Bay Area, in Sunnyvale.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: Shira appeared on the cover of the May/June 2009 issue of Zaghareet Magazine. Photo by Kaylyn Hoskins, Solon, Iowa.

Zaghareet Cover

 

50-Word Version of Bio

Shira is known worldwide for her work as a researcher, author, lecturer, and publisher of information on Middle Eastern dance, music, and culture. Her web site, www.shira.net, is the most comprehensive and most linked-to Oriental dance Internet resource in the world. She has traveled three times to Turkey, twice to Morocco, and eleven times to Egypt.

 

100-Word Version of Bio

Shira is known worldwide for her work as a researcher, author, lecturer, and publisher of information on Middle Eastern dance, music, and culture. She has been interviewed by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal for stories on Middle Eastern dance, and is highly sought after as a contributor to magazines centered on this art form. Her web site, www.shira.net, is the most comprehensive and most linked-to Oriental dance Internet resource in the world. For continuing education, she has traveled three times to Turkey, twice to Morocco, and eleven times to Egypt.

 

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Lectures, Articles, & Interviews

 

"Belly Dance Origins & History" Lecture

  • Bellyqueen Teacher Training, New York City, New York. August 15, 2015.

 

"Belly Dance in America: Where Cultures Intersect" Lecture

  • Shira's Lecture Double-Header, Lincoln Nebraska. November 15, 2015.
  • Bellyqueen Teacher Training, New York City, New York. August 16, 2015.

 

"Quivering Thighs: Movement Foundations of Belly Dance" Lecture

  • Mediterranean Fantasy Festival, Seattle, Washington. July 18, 2015.

 

Cultural Appropriation

  • Bellydance Blossom Festival. April 3, 2016.

 

Health Benefits of Belly Dance

  • Bellydance Blossom Festival. April 2, 2016.

 

"Queen of Theaters & Other Egyptian Legends" Lecture

  • Saqra's Showcase, Portland, Oregon. April, 2015.
  • Theatrical Bellydance Conference, New York City, New York. June 8, 2013.
Queen of Theaters

 

"Before Tahia" Lecture

  • Ahlam Men Cairo, Las Vegas, Nevada. June 21, 2014.
  • Saqra's Showcase, Portland, Oregon. April 26, 2014.
  • Shira's Fireside Dance Lectures, Orange County, California. December 30, 2012.
  • International Bellydance Conference of Canada, Toronto, Canada. May, 2012.
Before Tahia

 

 

"Hares in the Harem & Fantasies of Seduction" Lecture

  • Mezdulene's Retreat, Camp Myrtlewood, Oregon. September 7, 2013.
  • Legends of Dance Lecture Event. Atlanta, Georgia. November 10, 2012.
  • Shira's Lecture Extravaganza, Iowa City, Iowa. January, 2012.
  • Festival of Oriental Dance. Minneapolis, Minnesota. November, 2011.
  • International Bellydance Conference of Canada. Toronto, Canada. April, 2010.
Hares in the Harem

 

"Oriental Dance: Egypt's Shameful Profession" Lecture

  • Mezdulene's Retreat, Camp Myrtlewood, Oregon. September 8, 2013.
  • Shira's Fireside Dance Lectures, Orange County, California. December 30, 2012.
  • Shira's Lecture Extravaganza, Iowa City, Iowa. January, 2012.
  • Morocco's Weeklong Intensive. New York City. August 2010.
  • Saqra's Showcase. Portland, Oregon. April 2009.
  • Arabic Arts Festival. Liverpool, England. July, 2008.
  • International Bellydance Conference of Canada. Toronto, Canada. April, 2008.
Shameful Profession

 

"Egyptian Dance: Evolution of an Art Form" Lecture

  • Shira's Lecture Extravaganza, Iowa City, Iowa. January, 2012.
  • Liquid Hip Therapy. Sioux Falls, South Dakota. April 2009.
  • Northern Lights Belly Dance Festival. Cable, Wisconsin. October, 2007.
  • Diva Soma Studio Grand Opening. Omaha, Nebraska. August, 2007.
  • Saqra's Showcase. Portland, Oregon. April, 2006.
  • Kahraman Dance Studio. Iowa City, Iowa. September, 2005.
Evolution of an Art Form

 

"Dance in Egyptian Cinema" Lecture / Video

  • Beach Belly Dance and Arts Guest Instructors, Long Beach, Washington. September 13, 2013.
  • Shira's Fireside Dance Lectures, Orange County, California. December 30, 2012.
  • Shira's Lecture Extravaganza, Iowa City, Iowa. January, 2012.
  • Festival of Oriental Dance. Minneapolis, Minnesota. November, 2011.
  • Infinity Sport Center. San Diego, California. June, 2011.
  • Northern Lights Bellydance Festival. Baraboo, Wisconsin. October, 2010.
  • Cassandra's Festival Forum. Minneapolis, Minnesota. October, 2007.
  • International Bellydance Conference of Canada. Toronto, Canada. April, 2007.
Dance in Egyptian Cinema

 

"Artistic Marketing" Lecture

  • Bellyqueen Teacher Training. New York City, New York. August, 2015.
  • Mediterranean Fantasy Festival. Seattle, Washington. July 19, 2015.
  • Saqra's Showcase. Hillsboro, Oregon. April 26, 2014.
  • Diva Soma Dance Studio Grand Opening. Omaha, Nebraska. August, 2007.
  • Arts a la Carte. Iowa City, Iowa. November, 2006.
Artistic Marketing

 

"Egyptian & Tribal: Sibling Rivalry & Sisterly Love" Lecture

  • Shira's Lecture Double-Header, Lincoln Nebraska. November 15, 2015.
  • Bellyqueen Teacher Training. New York City, New York. August 16, 2015.
  • Northern Lights Bellydance Festival. Baraboo, Wisconsin. October, 2010.
  • Las Vegas Bellydance Intensive. Las Vegas, Nevada. September, 2009.

 

Panel Discussions

  • "Is Bellydance on the Rise or Decline in North America?" Bellydance Blossom Festival, Toronto, Canada. April 1, 2016.
  • "Foreign Influences - Impact of global Bellydancers on Arab Art and Vice Versa". International Bellydance Conference of Canada, Toronto, Canada. May, 2012.
  • "Bellydance: Honoring or Exploiting? Issues of Cultural Appropriation". International Bellydance Conference of Canada, Toronto, Canada. April, 2010.
  • "Spanish Dance Through the Centuries". Iowa City, Iowa. November, 2007. Event was funded by Humanities Iowa grant.
  • "Professionalism in Middle Eastern Dance". International Bellydance Conference of Canada. Toronto, Canada. April, 2007.
  • "Dance in Egyptian Cinema". Iowa City, Iowa. July, 2006. One of the panelists was Mahmoud Reda.
  • "The Future of Belly Dance". Carnival of Stars. Hayward, California. November, 2004.

 

Articles

  • Mahmoud Reda Interview. July 2006. Topic covered the origins of Reda Troupe dances. This led to a 9-part series of articles based on the interview which began appearing in Zaghareet Magazine with the November/December 2006 issue. The series of articles has also been translated into German, appearing in TanzOriental magazine.

 

Interview Subject

  • Interviewed by Amanda Isabella for Belly Dance Success web channel. June 2011.
  • Interviewed / quoted by PNN Sports on Voice of America for broadcast to Iran.
  • Featured on the cover of Zaghareet Magazine in the May/June 2009 issue, with an accompanying interview inside the magazine.
  • Interviewed / quoted by the New York Times for the obituary of Tahia Carioca in 1999.

 

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Continuing Education

 

Travel to Egypt

  • February, 2016. Attended Journey Through Egypt Part 3 & Part 4. Included dance workshops with Khairiyya Maazin (Ghawazee), khafafa (a Saidi clapping dance), Mostafa Booriya (masculine stick dance), and Ahmed Awedony (Nubian).
  • February, 2015. Attended Journey Through Egypt Part 3 & Part 4. Included dance workshops with Khairiyya Maazin (Ghawazee), khafafa (a Saidi clapping dance), Mostafa Booriya (masculine stick dance), and Ahmed Awedony (Nubian).
  • April, 2010. Continuing education in Egyptian culture, including sha'abi clubs and dance style.
  • June, 2009. Continuing education in Egyptian culture, including sha'abi clubs and dance style.
  • June & July, 2008. Attended Ahlan wa Sahlan. Included dance workshop with Raqia Hassan (Oriental).
  • July, 2007. Continuing education in Egyptian culture.
  • June, 2006. Attended Ahlan wa Sahlan festival. Included dance workshops with Sema Yildiz, Matrouh Folk Ensemble (hagallah), Raqia Hassan, Khairiyya Maazin (Ghawazee), and others.
  • June, 2005. Included dance workshops with Khairiyya Maazin (Ghawazee) and Randa Kamel (Oriental).
  • June, 2004. Included dance workshops with Hamada Hossam, Khairiyya Maazin, Loubna, and Dandash.
  • Summer, 2003. Included dance workshops with Hamada Hossam (Nubian pop), Khairiyya Maazin (Ghawazee), Raqia Hassan (Oriental), Aida Nour (Oriental), Dina (Oriental), Nagwa Fouad (Oriental), Dandash (Oriental), and others.
  • January, 1999. Included semi-private lesson with Nadia Hamdi (Oriental).

 

Travel to Turkey

  • July 2008. Continuing education in Turkish culture and dance.
  • July, 2006. Continuing education in Turkish culture and dance.
  • July, 2000. Continuing education in Turkish culture and dance.

 

Travel to Morocco

  • October, 2015. Continuing education in Moroccan culture and dance taught by Nawarra. Also continuing education in Iraqi Kawliya dance, taught by Asala Ibrahim.
  • October, 2013. Continuing education in Moroccan culture and dance. Included dance workshops with Caroline Afifi, Nawarra, and Zahra.

 

Highlights of Workshops Attended in North America

  • August, 2011. Mahmoud Reda.
  • October, 2010. "Shaabi". Caroline Afifi.
  • August, 2010. Mahmoud Reda.
  • July, 2010. Mahmoud Reda.
  • April, 2010. International Bellydance Conference of Canada. Sema Yildiz, Cassandra Shore, Hadia.
  • January, 2010. Folkloric Intensive in New York City. Morocco.
  • January, 2009. "Journey Through Egypt, Levels 1 & 2." Sahra Kent.
  • July, 2007. Mahmoud Reda.
  • April, 2007. International Bellydance Conference of Canada. Sahra Kent, Randa Kamel.
  • July, 2006. Mahmoud Reda.

 

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Other Notes

  • Studying Near Eastern dance since 1981. The most influential of the teachers Shira studied with via weekly classes over the years have included:
    • Luceen. Sunnyvale and Los Altos, California.
    • Kamilla. Santa Clara, California.
    • Farouche. San Jose, California.
    • Dunia. San Jose, California.
  • Teaching Near Eastern dance since 1997.
  • Staff writer for three magazines serving the Near Eastern dance community, including Zaghareet, Jareeda, and Gilded Serpent.
  • Dancer with the University of Iowa Scottish Highlanders: 1979-1982.
  • Member of University of Iowa International Folk Dance Club: 1979-1982.
  • Academic Education:
    • Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa in 1979, with double major in journalism and French.
    • Master of Business Administration degree from University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa in 1982, with specialty in management sciences.
 

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