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Shanna was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has been dancing all her life but began her study of Middle Eastern dance and culture in 1995. Her first instructor was Azar, with whom she performed as a soloist and ensemble dancer and worked with as an assistant instructor.

Shanna has studied with some of the top instructors in the United States and abroad, including Raqia Hassan, Bert Balladine, Leyla Lanty and Amel Tafsout. She greatly admires the artistry of dancers such as Fifi Abdo, Lucy of Cairo, Shareen el Safy, Sohair Zaki, Naima Akef, Nadia Gamal and others. She strives to emulate them by intently studying their movements, style and musicality and incorporating them into her own performances.

When not studying, rehearsing or performing, Shanna can be found at one of the popular area restaurants or nightclubs, listening to live Middle Eastern music and social dancing with friends. She enjoys talking with Middle Eastern people who frequent the clubs, observing their interpretation of the music and gaining their insight. She is also studying the Arabic language and feels that it will enable her to better interpret the music and communicate with her audience.

Despite the many obstacles, Shanna's goal is to be a part of the force that brings Middle Eastern Dance closer to the forefront of the dance world. She is a talented and an expressive performer and would like to use her communication skills to introduce others to the world of Middle Eastern dance and culture. She looks forward to the future of the dance and her place within it.

Shanna is also a frequent contributor to the MED-Dance List-serv and founder of the Yahoo! Middle Eastern Dance Club. She currently offers private instruction and performs at speciality events.

Articles on Gilded Serpent by or about Shanna