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I am the Co-Director of the Athena Studio of World dance where we teach Turkish Cabaret style Oriental Dance, Polynesian dance and Flamenco both through our studio and through Southeast Community College in Lincoln, Nebraska.

I’ve been dancing since the age of 5, I began my dance studies in typical fashion: Ballet, Jazz Ballet, Modern Dance, and Tap. During college one of my summer jobs was teaching dance at a fine arts camp in Northern Indiana. I discovered Oriental Dance later in life, and fell in love with the beautiful music, the moves and was instantly hooked! Polynesian dance came a little later, when I was offered the opportunity to learn this art form. Private lessons got me hooked, and I was soon attending Polynesian Workshops on both the mainland and in Hawaii.

In my Oriental Dance persona, I dance under the stage name of Naajidah, and along with the Director of the Athena Studio – Ashiya – are the featured dancers at The Parthenon, a Greek Restaurant here in Lincoln, Nebraska. Additionally I dance with our troupe, the Athenian Dancers at such events as Ethnic Festivals, workshops, corporate events, civic events and private events.

As a member of The Trade Wind Dancers, we perform regularly at civic events, educational events, corporate events and private luaus.

The Athena Studio hosts an annual Oriental Dance workshop in June here in Lincoln, Nebraska. We will also be co-hosting a Polynesian dance workshop in what we hope will be the first annual July Workshop in Kansas City.

For information on The Athena Studio, including our Oriental and Polynesian workshops,please visit our website.

In real life I hold a bachelor of science degree from the University of San Francisco and certificates in electronics and computer technology from Las Positas College in Livermore, California. I work in the computer field as a systems administrator.

Articles on Gilded Serpent by or about Naajidah

  • Don't Come Whining to Me! An Open Letter to Aspiring Young Belly Dancer
    If you audition for a Greek restaurant – do NOT come to an audition with anything other than Greek music.
  • She's Got the Look! Establishing Yourself as a Professional, Part 2
    Right or wrong, the average person hiring dancers has certain expectations.
  • There's More to Being a Professional?
    Many are the times we have heard belly dancers bemoaning the fact that there are so few venues, especially paying ones, for our art form. They long to be professional dancers, and are understandably frustrated at the lack of opportunities afforded us for acceptable venues for performances. But, does the lack of venues keep dancers from being professional, or does being unprofessional create the lack of venues?
  • Where Have All The Cover-ups Gone?
    What happened to professionalism? Mystery? Decorum and good taste?
  • The Ethics of Fusion
    If the culture that you’re borrowing your moves from objects to your fusion, does it matter? Are you being respectful or exploitative if you borrow steps from a culture that doesn’t want their music and dance used that way?