Troupe Roja was formed in 2009 by three like-minded women from Dayton, OH, who share a vision and desire to create exciting new fusion performances within the genre of belly dance. Each brings to the show her own unique set of skills and compelling love of dance that shines through her performance. Although their primary style is American cabaret belly dance, the Roja dancers also perform folkloric styles, Bollywood, and Dunyavi (Gypsy fusion). Their performances often showcase props like veils, fans, sword, and finger cymbals. The Roja dancers are constantly expanding their repertoire by attending classes and workshops with nationally and internationally recognized masters to bring even more fire and pizzazz to their performances.
Roja (pronounced ROW-jah) is the Hindi word for "roses". The queen of all flowers, the rose represents classic beauty with its vivid colors and velvet petals, but also strength and power with its thorns. Roses are hardy and can flourish anywhere, growing bigger and bolder each season. Troupe Roja embodies the meaning of this word through their love of fusion dance, beauty, strength, endurance, and growth.
Meet the Roja Dancers...
Zattana, Troupe Director & Co-Founder
Thanks to her musical background, Zattana took to belly dance with ease when she began studying in 2001 with Ray-Anne, founder of Egyptian Breeze, and she hasn’t slowed down since! In 2009, she co-founded the award-winning belly dance fusion troupe Roja, and began teaching and choreographing for both troupes. She regularly performs at events all over the Miami Valley area with Roja and Kira's Oasis Dancers, and also dances solo at private parties.
A self-proclaimed “prop-aholic”, she enjoys dancing with (a real!) sword, hoop, poi, veil, fans, Isis wings, and finger cymbals. Zattana also studies Middle Eastern percussion and can be found playing tabla at local haflas and drum circles.
A strong advocate of continuing education, she strives to deepen her knowledge of dance by attending workshops and seminars with such well-known performers as Ava Fleming, John Compton, Dahlia Carella, Artemis Mourat, Faten Munger, Deniz Miller, Amira Moor, and others. In addition to belly dance, Zattana pursues other ethnic dance styles like folkloric, Bollywood, and Carella's Dunyavi Gypsy.
When she is not performing, she enriches the dance scene by lending over twelve years of experience and extensive henna body art talents to Middle Eastern events as well as non-dance events like the Ohio Renaissance Festival.
For more information on Zattana's upcoming events and classes, to view her henna and belly dance galleries, or to contact Zattana, visit her page at www.zattana.net.
As an artist of many different mediums, Nafretiri channeled her love for art and music into the form of belly dance. Her love for both stems from her parents, who blessed her with their talents in both areas. From a young age, she has played musical instruments and has been dancing from the heart to music of all types. She has a few years of ballet training as well from The Dayton Ballet Company.
Nafretiri found her love for belly dance while walking through Yellow Springs Street Fair. The sound of the music and seeing the fun the dancers were having inspired her to take classes. She took the classes with ease and flourished in this style of dance while learning a few others including Kahleegy and Dunyavi Gypsy. She has also learned a few props along the way, such as zills, fan veils, and voi (veil poi).
Asiya took her first bellydance class with RayAnne, the founder of Egyptian Breeze, in 2003 as an alternative aerobic exercise. She was asked to perform at that first class and quickly fell in love with the dance and the supportive environment of the bellydance community. Asiya has continued her studies with workshops conducted by several nationally and internationally known dancers. Prior to bellydance, she choreographed and taught high-intensity water aerobic and aerobic classes. Asiya has relied on this experience to develop and teach introduction to bellydance classes.
Her diverse musical talents are put to use as well. Earlier studies in sound reinforcement and production enable complex edits of performance tracks. In the 1990’s she sang and played the guitar at a local musicians’ co-op and with other local artists. This love of music now extends to playing finger cymbals and the tabla.
Asiya is excited about expanding her knowledge of Middle Eastern dance technique and percussion as well as fusing elements of other dance forms to create dynamic and captivating choreographies.
After graduating from college, Izanami began the search for a worthwhile hobby. Her intense love of music and art forms of all kinds lead her to belly dance. She began taking classes with Egyptian Breeze in 2008 and her hobby soon blossomed into a way of life! After a few years of study and training, she was invited to join Troupe Roja, an honor which she accepted with great excitement.
Izanami’s background in piano contributes to musical and rhythmic understanding while her near-decade of Karate training assists her in the areas of body awareness, discipline, control, and isolation. Her training enhances the sharp, precise hip movements so vital to the art form of belly dance. Her repetoire of props includes finger cymbals and veil. Although predominantly versed in American Cabaret style belly dance, Izanami has begun exploring the styles of fusion and folklore with Roja.
Izanami continues to take classes, attends workshops whenever she is able, and performs with both Roja and Egyptian Breeze as often as possible to improve her skill. She loves to share the dance with others. Seeing the sheer joy and excitement that this art form brings to the audience and performers continues to inspire her on her journey of discovery, learning, and growth within the world of belly dance.
Nashwa was attracted to music and dance at a very early age. As a toddler, she began studying various forms of classical dance, which taught her to be cognizant of the lines she creates as she performs. She was also an avid and highly-competitive swimmer and became absorbed in the sport up through her early teens. During this time, she trained as a classical pianist and studied both flute and clarinet, an experience which has sharpened her soulful interpretation of Middle Eastern music.
Her love of athleticism, music, and dance guided her to begin studying Middle Eastern dance at the Al-Khahina Dance Studio in 2001. Under the tutelage of Kathleen Hennessey, Nashwa gained a strong foundation by learning the technical aspects and history of this art form. She has since studied at workshops with other master instructors such as Sadie Marquardt, Faten Munger, and Laylia Gamal in order to continue refining her technical skills. In 2011, she began taking classes with Zattana and joined Troupe Roja as a performing member.
Nashwa has a passion for the grace and fluidity of Golden Era Egyptian-style belly dance, finding inspiration in the styles of Samia Gamal and Tahiyya Karioka. She enjoys dancing with props such as finger cymbals, veil, and cane. For Nashwa, belly dance is an art form and a way of telling a story. As she watches other great dancers perform, she finds herself inspired to enhance and broaden her skills, allowing her own story as a dancer to continue to unfold.