|President: Samantha Giridhar||
Sammie’s love of belly dance began when she joined the student organization, Hill and Veil at Virginia Tech in Spring of 2007. For the rest of her time as an undergraduate, a Master’s student, and a Doctoral student, Sammie remained involved with belly dance as a way to stay active, relieve stress, and make lifelong friendships – things that she hopes to bring to all of her dance students. She currently directs 4 performance troupes on Oahu, and teaches classes in three different locations.
As a dancer, Sammie continually seeks to challenge herself through participating in workshops and classes with a variety of instructors, creating new choreography, and performance! She has had the amazing opportunity to take lessons and/or workshops with Thana Tarab, Karim Nagi, Elena Faye, Sabah, Victoria Teel, Moria Chappell, Bagoas, Madame Onca, Petite Jamilla, Bozenka, Mira Betz, Frank Farinaro, Zoe Jakes, and Kami Liddle – all of which have played a role in her growth and development as a dancer.
As the new president of MEDAH, Sammie is committed to service. Important to her are the initiatives of developing community, and providing student-centered opportunities to MEDAH members. At its core, belly dance is about having fun, and Sammie intends to not only work hard, but play (shimmy) hard as well!
|Vice President: 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, achieving her 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.
|Secretary: Cristyn Tamashiro
|Treasurer: Kornélia Szauter
||Nelli started bellydancing with Jean Yanagawa. She has an extensive background in costume design, and helped Shakti Dance Movement and the Devi Dance Company with their costumes when they ventured to Tribalfest.|
|Member At Large: Renée 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.|
|Member at Large: Janos Molnar|
|Member At Large: Helenka Ratzlaff Bauer
|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.|
|Member At Large: Miko Ries
||Rev. Dr. Miko Ries is currently serving as a MEDAH member-at-large after several terms as president and vice president. He has been playing percussion since 1978 and has headlined in Honolulu, New York City, Chicago, Beijing, Tokyo, Seville, Seoul, Mexico City and New Orleans. He provides freestyle accompaniment on the local belly dance circuit and collaborates with other musicians of various stripes. His Spirit Drum approach has been featured live at the Blue Note, Jazz Minds and Ward Rafters, and on recording with Netflix, The Mid-East Fusion Band, Tamr Henna, Jammarek, and The Behaviorists. Dr. Miko founded Beats Generation and Habibi Racoon– both improvisational collaborations with contemporary musicians. The Reverend Doctor is also a Clinical Psychologist in his spare time and hosts a weekly live, call-in radio hour called “Sublimiminal Peeks”|
|Website: Tammy Custodio||Illustrator/webmaster Tammy has studied Egyptian cabaret and folkloric dance with Shadiya and Naia, American cabaret with Sammie Giridhar, and ATS® Belly Dance with Dayl Workman. She has performed with the Habibi Hawaii Ensemble under the direction of Shadiya and Samak Bala Hasak under the direction of Naia Amwaj. She currently performs with Sahara Spirit and Habibi Sisters. Tammy has served in the past as a Vice President and a Member At Large.|