Richard (Miko) Ries
Rev. Dr. Miko Ries served two terms as president of the Middle Eastern Dance Artists of Hawai’i (MEDAH) and has been playing percussion since 1978. He has headlined in Honolulu, New York City, Chicago, Hilo, Beijing, Tokyo, Seville, Seoul, Mexico City and New Orleans. He provides freestyle accompaniment on the local belly dance circuit through sound bending solo artistry, and along with favorite modern and traditional recordings. He can also be found collaborating with other musicians of various stripes, live. Miko is adept at Middle-Eastern, African and Latin hand percussion techniques and has collaborated with local artists in recordings and live performance on Djembe, Doumbek, Congas, the standard drum set, and even the Triangle. His Spirit Drum approach has been featured live and on recording with international vocalist Kiana Luna, The Mid-East Fusion Band, Tamr Henna, Jammarek, Bang + (Plus)Systems, the electronic folk band, The Behaviorists and Beats Generation. The Reverend Doctor is also a Clinical Psychologist in his spare time.
Ashlee Domingo
 Ashlee found her love of dance at a young age and grew up with music and movement playing a big part of her life. She stumbled upon her first Belly Dance class in 2006 and fell in love. Having taken multiple workshops and classes over the years Ashlee is an avid seeker of learning and challenging herself to seek out new knowledge and actively develop new skills. As of early this year she has gained her certification as a SharQui bellydance® instructor.
She is grateful for the all the experiences and the amazing people that belly dance have brought in to her life.
Maribela Ruano

Dance has always been a key part of her life, growing up in Latin America, where one learns by dancing with parents, siblings, cousins, and friends.She first heard of Raks Sharki when she lived in London in the late 90’s, when a Mexican friend asked her to buy a costume and ship it over. The stores in Clapham were dazzling!

A few years after moving to Hawaii, Maribela sought a belly dance school. She is in love with Middle Eastern and Northern African music, and it’s the drums that do it for her.

Maribela has been taking dance lessons on and off since 2002 with a number of local and international instructors. The moves are still challenging, however she has just as much fun on the dance floor as if she was dancing the Latin rhythms. It’s all about enjoying the music and the company.

Maribela decided to join MEDAH because we are living times of division, racism, and hatred. She believes that we need to educate one another in the beauty of the differences between our cultures. We need to create cross-cultural interactions. One way of achieving it is through dance and music, because they are not isolated, they’re intrinsically linked to a language, to the costumes of the peoples of this or that part of the world. At the end of the day, we are all humans, more alike than what some might think. So, let’s dance!


Aptihaj has followed her love of Middle Eastern dance to Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia and Dubai for the past eight years. She has studied traditional Egyptian style and folklore under Naia Amwaj and Amala Gameela, and Turkish style under Hale Sultan of Istanbul, Turkey.

She also has experiences as a belly dance workshop/show coordinator and an interpreter in Japan.

She is an accountant (EA). She is excited to devote to belly dance community in Hawaii as a dancer, event planner and treasurer.

Renée Arnold

Renée Arnold was a featured dancer for 14 years at the locally- owned Pyramids Restaurant. She has taught French for 20 years at Kapi’olani Community College and created a study abroad program to the South of France.  Before moving to Honolulu, she danced for a year in Paris, a month in London, and 13 years to live music in more than 2 dozen venues in Los Angeles.  She appeared in films, commercials, television, and music videos, including “The Nile” by Santana.  She just finished 9 terms as MEDAH Secretary, and is now Member at Large.
Kikuko Byrne
Shirlita Jones

Shirlita (aka “Nubian Princess”) has studied and performed Egyptian cabaret and folkloric with Habibi Hawaii Ensemble under Shadiya and with Samak Bala Hasak under Naia Amwaj. She was formally the media representative for Island Oasis Studio and Boutique. She has been a member of MEDAH since 2010 and has served on the Board as Member at Large. She still serves MEDAH as media representative, social blogger, and active member.
Ariyana Murakami
Ariyana began her dance journey in Tokyo, Japan at the prestigious studio Lapis.  She debuted as a solo dancer at the yearly event Cutie Dream Nights in 2011, thus fueling her passion to share dance with others.  She’s studied with the top dancers from all over the world and danced on the same stage as the super star dancers of Egypt.  Ariyana entered and placed second at the Tokyo International Bellydance Competition in 2014.  She continues to study with her master teacher, Hadia, and dances once a month at the fabulous Kan Zaman.

Ariyana has served on the MEDAH Board as a Member At Large.


Illustrator/webmaster Tammy has studied Egyptian cabaret and folkloric dance with Shadiya, Naia, and Masayo Lloyd. She has performed with the Habibi Hawaii Ensemble under the direction of Shadiya, and Samak Bala Hasak under the direction of Naia Amwaj. Tammy has served in the past as MEDAH Vice President and Member At Large.

Currently, Tammy duets with drummer Ric, her husband of 28 years, and also performs with the Habibi Sisters of Hawaii.

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