Internationally renowned dancer, choreographer and teacher Cassandra Shore is recognized as one of the world’s foremost performers of Middle Eastern dance, and since 1974 she focused her dance study and performance on Egyptian Raqs Sharqi and Middle Eastern folkloric dances.

Her studies began in San Francisco with the legendary Jamila Salimpour, and since 1980 she has made regular research trips to the Middle East. Her background in modern dance, with a flavoring of Jazz, Flamenco, and Tai Chi Chuan, drove her to look for ways to move Middle Eastern dance beyond a “museum” form, and to create original choreography that showcases this exciting work as a vibrant living art form.

In 1989 she founded Jawaahir (meaning “jewels”) Dance Company, dedicated to cultural authenticity, artistic excellence, and a spirit of exploration that blends traditional and contemporary Middle Eastern dance. For her productions she collaborated with internationally recognized Middle Eastern artists, such as Palestinian oud virtuoso and composer Simon Shaheen and the Georges Lammam Ensemble.

She served as Artistic Director and choreographer for the company until November 2021 and since retiring from this role, she continues to teach her dance classes, workshops, and Oasis Dance camps, play music, and work for Ruff Start Rescue.
She is a past recipient of the Minnesota Dance Alliance/McKnight Foundation Resident Choreographer's Award, as well as the MDA/Jerome Foundation Sponsor Pool and Dancer Pool Awards. 


Roxxanne Shelaby is the producer/director of the Internationally awarded "The Fez Documentary".  She teaches and performs Egyptian and Lebanese style Belly Dance as well as Dabkeh and Khaleeji both nationally and internationally and now online too!!

As a Lebanese American, Roxxanne has been dancing Dabkeh socially all her life! She has also studied performance Dabkeh since 1998 with master teachers Vivianne Hamamdjian, Karim Ali, Hasan Harfouche and Malek Andary.

Being born into the Arabic Nightclub scene in Hollywood, Roxxanne had the good fortune of growing up surrounded by Belly Dance and Live Arabic Music. She began studying Belly Dance & Egyptian Folkdance with Sahra Saeeda as well as Farida Fahmy (The Reda Troupe) and Faten Mohamed (Kowmeya Troupe) at a very young age.

Roxxanne has produced Belly Dance shows for the past 20 years throughout Southern California and currently produces the highly acclaimed "Fez Nights".

Roxxanne Shelaby

Debbie Smith is a dancer specializing in Egyptian style raqs sharqi with over 30 years of experience in this field as a performer, a writer and a teacher. Her approach is to look at and consider this dance within its cultural context, which includes not just dance knowledge and steps, but also music, language, and culture, as well as an awareness of history, politics and religion and how they affect society and culture. What enables her to do this is a combination of experience, study, and living and working in Egypt for extended periods over the last 15 years, as well as an abiding love and respect for all that is wonderful about Egyptian and Arab culture. As a performer, she is inspired stylistically by the great Egyptian dancers and guided by a very close relationship to the music and is a believer in “less is more” and in the power of subtlety. In addition to performance, she does workshops, classes and talks that allow her to share her dance and cultural knowledge from a nuanced and informed perspective. She has a BA in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. 

Debbie also has over two decades of professional experience in the United States and Egypt as an arts administrator, encompassing everything from program management and development to proposal writing and fundraising, to production and event management, and anything else that might be part of running an arts and culture organization. She now does this work on a freelance basis as an independent consultant and works with clients in the United States, Egypt, and Lebanon. The values that guide her work are providing access to arts and culture for all, bringing artists/organizations and resources together, and creating a space in the cultural landscape for a diversity of artistic “voices” and practices. She and her husband Yasser currently divide their time between Cairo, Egypt (population 20,000,000) and Bald Knob, Arkansas (pop. 2500), and so have the best of both worlds. 

Find out more about Debbie at

Debbie Smith

Bahaia of Austin, TX is a long time mover and shaker in the Texas belly dance community. She is the proud owner and principal teacher of the Austin Bellydance studio est. 2013, and a producer with over 40 events to her credit, including The Austin Belly Dance Convention, and Cabaret Dance Camp. Bahaia was a judge on the belly dance reality show, “Project Belly Dance” Season 2, and is a featured video artist on the Cheeky Girls label. Bahaia is the current president of The Austin Belly Dance Association 

Bahaia performed for many years in the vibrant Arab restaurant and nightclub scene of Houston, TX where she worked with live bands, forging lasting friendships with many of the musicians. She went on to produce the album, "Ya Bahaia" with Samer Issa and the Am'waj Band, featuring vocalist Jabour Bakla. Bahaia has more recently collaborated with musicians Matias Hazrum, and Gaston Chaade of Argentina commissioning original music.  
Bahaia is currently studying Somatic Movement Education at Austin Community College, for movement observation, notation, and therapeutic applications. She is also undertaking certification in dance notation through Language of the Dance, USA. 


Michael Ibrahim

Michael Ibrahim is a dynamic conductor, and one of the newest most innovative artists to emerge onto the Arab music circuit. His teachers have included some of the leading artists in his field including, Simon Shaheen, Johnny Sarweh, Nadeem Dlaikan, Douglas Bianchi, Anthony Iannacconne, Dr. David Pierce, Robert Williams, and Victoria King; causing him to realize the value of a solid educational background. Having earned a bachelor degree in music from Eastern Michigan University, Michael went on to further his studies at Wayne State University; completing a Master of Music degree in conducting. The impact of Michael’s musical leadership is felt equally by audiences across the globe, and the musicians he collaborates with. Throughout his early career, Michael has performed in many concert halls and venues the world over; allowing him the unique opportunity to share the stage with some of the most influential figures in Western and Arab music. Michael’s diverse musical background and unique approach to composition and improvisation has also led him to be featured on a number of recordings and film scores.

As an artist, Michael has used his educational and professional experience to fuse Western and Arab music idioms in his performances. As an educator, Michael has taught privately and in the classroom; providing instrumental and ensemble instruction, as well as lectures and demonstrations on Arab music both at the university and grade school levels. His extensive experience as a performer and educator has led Michael to found all three ensembles of the Michigan Arab Orchestra (now the National Arab Orchestra). A Metro-Detroit native, Michael was born into a Syrian immigrant family of humble origins. He began his musical studies on the ‘Ud, later studying the Bassoon and Nay as his musical training progressed. 

Georges Lammam, of Palestinian descent, born in Beirut, Lebanon is a solo violinist exemplifying the Arabic style of instrumental improvisation.  

Mr. Lammam has toured the world as a featured artist. Most recently, he toured in Bolivia with renowned artists, Eddie and Gabriel Navia and joined other stellar performers in an event hosted by Joined Hands (USA NP) and organized by Marcus Lovett, in the refugee camp in Chalkida, Greece. This event was to support refugee families and humanitarians who are receiving thousands of people from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. 

His compositions and performance excerpts are included in scores for two award-winning documentaries: “Occupation 101” and “Tea on the Axis of Evil”, and he recorded a well-known folkloric debke in a 2016 feature film, “Wrestling Jerusalem” by Aaron Davidman.   

Georges Lammam

Master Percussionist: Susu Pampanin is a world-renowned percussionist specializing in Egyptian Classical and Middle-Eastern styles. She recently took part in a music project with Reda Henkesh of the world-famed Henkesh family - artists from Mohamed Ali Street. The culmination of the project is a double album CD “Reda Henkesh Live with Susu Pampanin.”
Susu has cultivated a proficiency and interest in many other genres and styles of world percussion as well. Susu is internationally known for her virtuosity in Arabic drumming and is one of the few female Middle Eastern drummers highly respected by the Arabic professional music community. She plays several other instruments as well, including the oud and nay. 

Susu is a member of Aswat Ensemble, Aswat Women's Ensemble, the Georges Lammam Ensemble and is a founding member of Pasha Band and Caravan Band. 

Isaac Lopez is a talented guitarist, bassist, and vocalist who has mastery of a wide range of musical styles.

Isaac is a veteran of the cruise ship industry. He was hired to organize and perform in a jazz quartet for Celebrity, Norwegian, and Holland America cruise lines upon his 2013 graduation from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA.

Having grown up in the Highland Park area of northeast Los Angeles, Isaac is heavily influenced by funk, blues, and rock music. He began dabbling with instruments as a child and first picked up a guitar at the age of 12.

Although originally from California, Isaac - post-pandemic - has made his home in San Antonio, TX. Sought after by several local and South Texas bands, Isaac stays busy as a freelance musician and private lesson guitar instructor. Since the summer of 2021, he has been the irreplaceable improvisation-training-guru for Karavan Studio and its Project Band Curriculum.

Amina  has been a cornerstone of Arabic dance and music in the Bay Area for over 50 years as a dancer, teacher, musician and producer. She began her performance career in the mid-60's at the Bagdad Cabaret, dancing nightly in San Francisco's North Beach district during that city's golden era of Middle Eastern dance and until the Arabic clubs closed in that area. She founded her dance company the Aswan Dancers in 1975, which celebrated over 45 years of continuous performance and entertainment at parties, festivals, weddings, and educational venues. Over the years she has produced numerous full-length evenings of music and dance at ODC Theater, San Francisco State University, Noe Valley Ministry, Dance Mission Theater, and other theatrical venues.

Amina teaches almost daily live and online classes at her studio, in addition to private classes and workshops. Her dance passions are teaching to the music and lyrics and staying culturally correct. She spends many hours daily listening to and analyzing Middle Eastern music and trends and loves to study how it is forever changing. Amina's almost daily classes have a "club-like" atmosphere where students learn all aspects of performing, music and Egyptian culture. In 1991, she created the Giza Club, a cultural organization dedicated to promoting understanding of the music and dance of the Arab world, through cultural lectures, panel discussions, movie screenings and performances, as well as sponsoring visiting dancers and musicians in workshops. Among other honors, Amina was inducted into AAMED’s Middle Eastern Dance Hall of Fame in New York in 1994, and she has served as a judge, panelist and committee member numerous times in the Bay Area and nationally.

As a life-long student and performer of Arabic music, Amina has played percussion on the
nightclub and theater stage with most of San Francisco’s best-known Arabic musicians and singers.
Among the music groups she has founded over the years are the Cairo Cats, the Arabian Knights, Caravan Band, Layalli al-Sharq band, and Pasha Band. She was a founding member of Aswat, the Bay Area’s only Arabic choir, in 1999 and continues to perform with them. She has been a regular member of the Georges Lammam Ensemble for 15 years. She also produces music, recording in Egypt and the US, with a new project always in the works. Find her online at

Susu Pampanin

Amina Goodyear

Isaac Lopez

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