Cover photo by Jeanie Lewis (Shot on location on WA Hwy. 17 between cars)
Ashira began her belly dance journey in 1987 in Montana. As high school student, she wnted to become more active. She decided to try belly dance instead of aerobics, thinking it would be more fun. And she was right!
Ashira studied American Oriental dance (also known as American Cabaret or AmCab) with Shamira. After taking private lessons for 4 years, she and her teacher become dance partners. When Shamira moved out of state, Ashira took over her classes and led a small troupe. She also studied with Sonja Alarcon before moving to Tennessee in 1995.
Aside from a few performances, Ashira took a hiatus from dance during her time in Tennessee. Upon moving to Washington state in 1999, she was ready to get back into belly dance and performed with Troupe Arashida before having her only child.
After having her baby, Ashira danced as a soloist on occasion, but she wanted to refresh her dance and learn more complex techniques and other styles. She took classes with Indigo, studying layering, Turkish Rom and belly dance fusion. She performed with Indigo’s troupe during this time.
In 2011, two months after her 40th birthday, Ashira was diagnosed with a skull bone tumor and had 2 brain surgeries. Unable to participate in the dance community during this time, Ashira kept up with other dancers via social media. After her year-long recovery, Ashira became obsessed with belly dance, once again studying with Indigo and with Tamalyn Dallal. Ashira credits belly dance as a major part of her continued healing – helping her to cope with the pain and stress of what had happened as well as strengthening her body and satisfying her need to create.
Between 2013 – 2014, Ashira took workshops from various teachers and began regular study with Tamalyn Dallal. After taking classes with Tamalyn, Ashira was able to take her Week-Long Workshop and Intensive. After completing this wonderful intensive, Ashira decided she wanted to teach again. She started teaching Tamalyn’s Bothell, WA studio, Zamani Culture house, which then became Zamani World Dance when Roxy Stimpson purchased the studio.
A believer in continuing education, Ashira studies with other teachers to keep her dance fresh, to study different styles, and to deepen her historical and cultural knowledge of Middle Eastern dance.