Colleen is the owner and director of Vitality Bellydance & Wellness Studio. Colleen began dancing as a child, studying ballet, jazz, contemporary and tap, in addition to voice and theatre. She graduated from the Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts and went on to tour with Bodiography New York, Ballet Box and Visions Contemporary Dance. She trained with the Dance Alloy of Pittsburgh, Labco Dance, and at Point Park University.
Colleen began bellydancing while studying at University in her home town of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has trained extensively in Tribal, Raqs Sharki and folkloric styles of bellydance, taking classes and workshops in the US, Canada, France, Bali, Thailand, Egypt and Korea. She has performed in the US, Canada, France, South Korea, Japan and Egypt.
From 2010-2014, Colleen taught and performed in the bellydance entertainment industry throughout South Korea. She performed in large festivals like the Korea Experimental Arts Festival, the Bucheon International Performance Art Festival, the Samcheonpo International Performance Art Festival, and the Chungju International Performance Art Festival. In 2012, Colleen competed and won in her category at the Tokyo International Bellydance Competition. Throughout 2013, Colleen performed in the monthly Shake Shop series in Seoul, bellydancing with some of the biggest names in Korea’s indie music scene like Jambinai, Harry Big Button, Love X Stereo, Galaxy Express, Modsdive and Apollo 18. In July 2013, Colleen made it through to the finals in the first ever Top Talent Korea, and was invited back to perform as a special guest in the finale showcase.
Colleen regular travels internationally to further her dance training. She has spent weeks in intense study with local dance masters in Cairo, Egypt, traveling neighbouring countries and immersing herself in Middle Eastern culture. She was personally invited by Madame Raqia Hassan to perform in her celebrated Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival in April 2014. Colleen completed 200 hours of teacher training in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga in Rishikesh, India. In December 2014, she attended the first ever SHRQ Symposium on Middle Eastern Culture in Prague, with celebrated ethnologists, anthropologists, and ethnomusicologists including Farida Fahmy, Sahra C. Kent, Morocco, and Karin Van Nieuwkerk.
Colleen is a 5 time Bellydance Evolution alumni, joining the cast for tours of Alice in Wonderland and Fantasm. She has performed featured roles in both productions. Highlights of her time with Bellydance Evolution include dancing on the stage at City Center and Jazz at Lincoln Center in the prestigious Peridance Showcase and Bookings Dance Festival, performing at the celebrated Ford Theatres in Los Angeles, and performing in the US debut of the new show Fantasm.
In August 2018, Colleen produced Sleeping Beauty, a full length theatrical bellydance drama, featuring Mazagat, Sahra DeRoy, and Kaitlyn Bellydance of North Carolina. The sold out debut attracted interest from producers along the East Coast.
Colleen opened Vitality Bellydance & Wellness Studio in 2016, where she facilitates regular classes, workshops, and events. It is the home base of her performance troupe, Mazagat. Her studio regular facilitates charity driven classes to benefit the Pittsburgh community. She also coproduces a Refugee Benefit Concert with band King Fez. To date they have raised over $4000 for displaced people arriving in Pittsburgh.
Teaching is a great joy for Sahra. She provides students opportunities for self-growth through dance in an encouraging supportive environment. In her classes you will learn the fundamentals for a comprehensive belly dance toolkit. Sahra was one of the first people who completed the final phase of Rachel Brice’s 8 Elements (™) Belly Dance Training Program and is an 8 Elements Certified Datura Style Teacher ® . She founded a student group at the University of Pittsburgh – the Panther Belly Dancers that has maintained a campus presence for the past 7 years. She also leads several other student groups and provides a variety of classes for all levels and interests. In 2014 she completed a 200 hour yoga teacher training program through Schoolhouse Yoga and incorporates her knowledge of yoga and alignment into her dance classes.
Sahra has performed annually at Elevation Belly Dance Festival in Colorado since 2010. She has also been a featured performer at events throughout the country including Buffalo, NY (2013); Morgantown, WV (2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014); Cleveland, OH (2014); Portland, OR (2014); San Francisco, CA (2015, 2016); and multiple times in Toronto (2013, 2014, 2015). Her performance credits include auditioning and being selected as a performer in Kami Liddle’s Expansion (2015, 2016), being invited by Audra Simmons and Heather Labonte and performing in The Lavish Project (2015), and appearing as a guest artist with the Mary Miller Dance Company. She can be seen at venues throughout Pittsburgh for regular performances (www.sahrashimmies.wordpress.com).
Internationally recognized, Sahra is a 3rd generation dancer with over 16 years of experience. She is greatly influenced by her grandmother – a talented dancer who studied with Martha Graham and her aunt who was a belly dancer performing and teaching in Colorado during the early 1980’s. Sahra began her dance training with classical ballet for several years. She was admitted to Point Park University’s pre-professional dance program as a teenager. After exploring many dance forms, it was the art of belly dance where she found her passion.
Sahra currently studies regularly with Rachel Brice and has completed over 350 hours of in person study with her. She is an 8 Elements Certified Datura Style Teacher ® completing the final phase of the 8 Elements Program, Phase 4 Transmission in July, 2016 http://www.rachelbrice.com/list-of-datura-style-teachers, Phase 3 Culmination in 2014 http://www.rachelbrice.com/list-of-culminates/, Phase 2 Cultivation in 2012 http://www.rachelbrice.com/list-of-cultivates/, and Phase 1 Initiation in 2011 http://www.rachelbrice.com/list-of-initiates/. Sahra regularly attends workshops and trains with a wide array of highly sought-after instructors to expand her knowledge and skills including Audra Simmons, Heather Labonte, Samantha Emanuel, Kami Liddle, Heather Stants, Mardi Love, Aegela, Jill Parker and Eva Cernik.
Tricia Chirumbole is a life-long lover of dance, who is passionate about co-creating emergent and connective group experiences through movement. Tricia has studied Ballet, Jazz, West African, Afro-Brazilian, Contact Improv, and Modern among other dance forms. Her influences in “conscious dance” and as a movement facilitator include: Dancing Mindfulness (trauma-informed), 5 Rhythms, and Ecstatic Dance. Tricia’s classes weave a range of mindfulness & expressive arts practices together, including: meditation, chanting/toning, breath work, yoga, ritual, and play! You may find her dancing through the grocery store, up the sidewalk, or following the beat of distant drum and she hopes that you will join her and find joy in dancing like the whole world is smiling on you!