Colleen is the owner and director of Vitality Bellydance & Wellness Studio. Colleen began dancing as a child, studying ballet, jazz, contemporary and tap. 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. She is also certified in Levels 1 and 2 of dance anthropologist Sahra C Kent's Journey Through Egypt course.
From 2010-2014, Colleen taught and performed throughout Korea in large festivals like KEAF, BIPAF, 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 participated in the monthly Shake Shop series in Korea, 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 spent the spring of 2014 in intense study with local dance masters in Cairo, Egypt, traveling neighboring 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 that April. Later that year, she travelled to Rishikesh, India where she completed 200 hours of teacher training in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. In December 2014, Colleen 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, Martin Stokes, and Karin Van Nieuwkerk.
In 2015 Colleen was cast in the northeastern tour of Bellydance Evolution’s Alice in Wonderland. She danced with the cast on the stage at City Center and Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City at prestigious events like the Peridance Showcase and the Bookings Dance Festival.
Colleen returned to Pittsburgh in 2015 and has facilitated classes and events throughout the city, and taken part in local festivals and community events. She and her bellydance troupe Mazagat can be seen performing regularly in and around the Pittsburgh area.
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.
Viva! Valezz! has been helping students feel more sexy, sassy, and sultry with the art of Burlesque since she opened her Columbus Burlesque Academy in Ohio in 2008, and now offers her Burlesque Goddess classes in Pittsburgh.
Her dance performance career began in 1999 as a professional bellydancer, working with Habeeba of Habeeba’s Dance of the Arts. Viva! eventually fused bellydance with the brazen art form known as Burlesque in 2007. She has performed in large US cities like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, and many more. She also danced in a small tour of Moroccan cities, including Casablanca, Marrakech, Fez, and others.
Her credits include being voted 2010 Columbus’ Favorite Burlesque Performer by Outlook magazine, taking home a Golden Pasties award from the 2010 New York Burlesque Festival. Her dance troupe, the Velvet Hearts! has been the only burlesque troupe ever nominated for the Best of Columbus in the Best Dance Company category. Viva! is also the founder and producer of the touring Fierce! International Queer Burlesque Festival, now going into its fifth year. Learn more about her at www.vivavalezzburlesque.com.
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!