Amala Gameela
Amala Gameela is a passionate Middle Eastern Dance Artist specializing in folkloric Middle Eastern dance and Egyptian Orientale.  She is a sought after performer, a generous instructor and an enthusiastic event producer who who presents traditional Middle Eastern dance with beauty, culture and professional artistry.  After over twelve years of Middle Eastern dance studies with world renowned professionals she is an advocate of preserving the traditional art form.  Amala has dedicated her life to avian conservation and ecstatic to be welcomed into the ornithology, parrot and dance communities in Hawaii since her move from the East Coast in 2015.  For more information on Amala, her classes, bookings and upcoming events please visit:
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.
Renee Arnold

Renée Arnold was a featured dancer for 14 years at Pyramids, and teaches French at Kapi’olani Community College where she created a study abroad program to France. Before coming to Honolulu, she danced for a year in Paris, a month in London, and for 13 years in more than two dozen venues in Los Angeles where she also appeared in films, commercials, television shows and music videos. She is currently serving her ninth term as secretary of MEDAH.

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.

Ariyana Lucarelli
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.
Bob McKeand
Event photographer Bob McKeand’s work can be seen throughout MEDAH’s website. He has been a member of the Board since 2015.
Dayl Workman

Dayl fell in love with ATS® belly dance during her first class in January 1999 and has been performing and teaching ever since. Dayl has performed with several professional troupes in Oklahoma (Gypsy Fire), Texas (Tribal Evolution, Wild Sky Tribal) and Sydney (Urban Turban, Tribal Spirit) She has studied the dance form extensively in the USA and Australia, taking classes from such greats as Carolena Nericcio-Bohlman and Megha Gavin of Fat Chance Belly Dance, Jill Parker of Ultra Gypsy, Heather Stants of Urban Tribal Dance Company, Melusina of Underbelly, Rachel Brice of Indigo, Sue Erokan, Morrocco, Devi Mamak of Ghawazi Caravan and Hilary Cinis of Sydney Tribal Bellydance, achieving her  ATS® Teacher Training Certificate in 2016. Dayl incorporates zills, sword, veil, flags, fire fingers, poi/ fire poi, and fire lotuses in her performances, classes and workshops. She also facilitates mask making workshops working with dance related themes.

Dayl’s passion for tribal belly dance extends to the love of community, bringing people together to move and dance the same “language”. She believes that creativity is a vehicle for good health, and what better way than to express it than through the art of dance! Dayl creates a great space in which to learn, injecting humour and encouragement in the class environment whilst catering for all learning styles.

Helena (Helenka) Ratzlaff

Helenka was born in Siberia and grew up in Germany. She began performing at a very young age in the Russian Gypsy style that was influenced by the widespread Gypsy culture at the time, and discovered Middle Eastern Dance a few years ago in South Korea. A lifelong dancer and AFAA Fitness instructor, she shares her passion for Oriental dance and yoga with young students at Skies Unlimited Schofield Barrcks and Aliamanu Military Installation.
Holly Rudin-Braschi,
Master of Music, ACSM
Music Instructor: A veteran music instructor, Holly is the author of Holly’s Ukulele Method™. Known for the enthusiasm, sense of humor and positive energy that she brings to her teaching, Holly has taken the mystery out of reading music for hundreds of students on the ukulele, guitar and piano. She has taught privately and through group lessons at Santa Rosa Junior College, Petaluma School of Music, her home studio and, master classes at venues like the Lark in the Morning Music Camp in Mendocino, CA. Currently she resides in Honolulu and teaches at her home studio in Hawaii Kai, and at Kailua Music School in Kailua, Oahu. Please visit to learn more.

Dance and Fitness Instructor: Holly is also a highly experienced American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) certified fitness instructor who teaches Zumba® and Sharqui™ Belly Dance Workout on Oahu. Check out Holly dancing:

Education: Holly holds a B.A. in musicology and languages from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York and a Master of Music from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.

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.

Illustrator/webmaster Tamima 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. Tamima has served in the past as MEDAH Vice President and Member At Large.

Currently, Tamima duets with drummer Aric, her husband of 27 years, and also performs with the Habibi Sisters of Hawaii.

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