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Founder, Artistic Director, and Choreographer Julianne Battaglia: 

It has been over a decade since I first wrote my "bio" for the site. Funny thing, the more things change the more they stay the same......

"Smitten" is still the word which best describes my reaction to the first up close and personal encounter I had with "belly dancing". A local belly dance class was performing at my neighborhood shopping mall. I was mesmerized by the way they used their bodies and spirits to express the most exotic and beautiful music I had ever heard. I approached the teacher and immediately signed up for her class (thanks Lisa Davis), which was offered through the local Continuing Education Program. I was hooked! I was shown a whole new way of physical expression, quite a paradoxical experience from the alternate nights I spent pursuing a black belt in Kodakan Judo.

I still remember my dad jokingly remarking:

"So what... now you want to learn to dance so you can lure men close enough for you to beat them up!?!"

In that dance class filled with exotic music and graceful movement, I was enveloped with the feeling that I had "come home"! That well over three decades ago and the obsession still holds sway and insha’allah, will continue.

I somehow managed over the years, as a single mom, to raise a beautiful daughter. She is grown now and surprisingly well adjusted considering her formative years were spent amidst
a plethora of sequins, glitter, fringe, drums, tambourines, swords, and other eclectic dance props. The anecdotes stemming from the experiences of mommy/dancer are endless.
If you have not had the experience yourself, just ask any dancer/mom and persuade her to share some of her humorous tales of joy and horror.

I am always surprised, thrilled and inspired by experiencing how other dancers hear and interpret their music so I still take every opportunity my time and budget will allow to attend seminars and workshops which focus on music and dance. My dance and music research horizons have now expanded to include study and dance in Egypt and Morocco!

I have always been involved in some kind of artistic expression both visual and kinetic. I took
ballet and tap as a child and twirled my way through my teen years as a majorette. It was during those twirling years that I discovered my penchant for choreography. I made up dance moves to everything from John Philip Sousa for my high school majorette team to songs by Ricky Nelson....for me!

I love to teach and watch the light bulbs radiate when dancers enthusiastically “get it”. I am always thrilled when I see them embrace a whole new facet of themselves and their vocabulary of personal expression. But my most enjoyable and often rewarding moments are spent experimenting with my own dance technique and the challenges of dance fusion.

It would get very boring for me if I were to allow myself to become complacent and cease the personal challenge of stepping out of my comfort zone and playing with a variety of dance styles, cultural traditions, and inspiration. One of my favorite approaches to choreography was inspired by a "one liner" from comedian Stephen Wright. Of course, my troupe members always laugh when they hear it but it is surprisingly close to the truth: "Let's try this....I saw it in a cartoon."

From the bottom of my heart I want to thank my troupe of "paper clip" dancers (whole other story!) for trusting me and having the patience to work with me on some of my flights of fantasy!

To help fill my daily 47 minutes of spare time.....I have added doumbek drumming to my obsessions. I study, perform, and teach it. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to play doumbek with a local group of amazing musicians. All too often I am torn between dancing with and drumming for Sahara Silk and Troupe Tarab performances. It is always a tough decision. I do I look forward to the day when cloning becomes available to the general public!

Through this avocation, which has also served as my personal therapy, I have been blessed
with the opportunity to know some of the most talented, joyous and spirited people imaginable. They have become the best friends that anyone could hope for.

Some details of my non dance related life:

  • I am wife to a brilliant and supportive man who has resigned himself to living with sequins, swords, cymbals, and a sarcophagus! And who, thankfully, spends much of his time building and maintaining our web sites.

  •  I am the proud mother of a beautifully spirited and artistically talented daughter.

  •  I am a retired Civil Service Department of Defense employee and now a free lance Graphic and Fine Artist. My new focus is to pursue my dream of spending more time in the Fine Arts field of drawing and experimenting with my 3-D painting.

  •  I have earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in both Fine Arts and in Graphic Design.....these were fun.

  •  I have earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology...this one was hard work!

  •  I am still a computer nerd "wannabe" inspired by my computer genius husband who does magical things in cyberspace that I can never even hope to understand!






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