Faculty Bios

200KaeshiChaiHeadshotKaeshi Chai
is a NYC-based performer, theatrical director, teacher trainer, and award winning designer. She co-founded the professional dance company and school, Bellyqueen, and PURE (Public Urban Ritual Experiment), a global community focused on healing and social change through dance and music. Kaeshi has extensive training in contemporary dance, physical theatre and Silk Road dances spanning the Middle East to China. She has taught or performed in 47 states and 38 countries.
She is an alumni member of the Bellydance Superstars, Jillina’s Bellydance Evolution and Kenji William’s Bella Gaia and curates the Djam NYC event for dancers and musicians to create and play together.
Current projects include Ocean Stories, a performance integrating art and science to create more environmental awareness, and Creative Labs in which participants conceptualize, choreograph and mount full-length theatrical dance shows in 3-4 days. www.kaeshi.com  www.pureglobe.org  www.bellyqueen.com

200IrinaAkulenkoHeadshotIrina Akulenko
Irina Akulenko is a New York City-based performer, teacher and choreographer with a burning passion for arts of all genres. Although she discovered Middle Eastern dance purely by chance, her interest in expression started at an early age and was channeled into ballet training, in addition to piano and voice lessons as well as drawing. Since 2001, Irina explored Egyptian Cabaret and American Tribal style belly dance, Flamenco and Classical Indian dances (focusing mainly on Odissi) and now enjoys fusing these styles as well as everything in between. Today, Irina performs on various New York stages and tours nationally and internationally as a soloist and as member of various stellar projects. She released three instructional DVDs with World Dance New York and has two instructional series of videos with the popular website “Howcast.com”. Furthermore, she holds a Bachelors degree in Political Science, and has a strong interest in women’s issues and visual arts.  www.DanceIrina.com

200MakiMovesHeadshotMaki Moves
Maki Moves is a dancer and performing artist who relocated to New York city in 2012 from Nagoya, Japan. She has a background in hip hop, Cuban Salsa, Reggaeton, Egyptian belly dance and Tribal Fusion. She is one of the principal dancers and instructors of Sahara Layla from the Hermes Dance Company and has trained in the Bellyqueen style since 2005. Maki Moves has performed in NYC, Japan, Australia and Thailand and has taken respected Teacher Training programs led by Tamalyn Dallal and Bellyqueen. She was a competition winner with Bellydance Evolution in Sydney, Australia and was selected as the very first belly dance choreographer to be showcased at the prestigious 2014 7th Annual Choreographer’s Canvas in NYC. www.makimoves.com

200AliceHeadshotAlice Giampieri
Alice Giampieri (Italy) is one of the greatest exponents of Tribal Fusion in Italy, and has been member of the “Emotional Tribal Fusion” company De Nova Luce directed by Francesca Pedretti. She has studied Ballet, Flamenco, Bharatanatyam Indian dance, oriental dance, Tribal Fusion and Tribal ATS and has improved her oriental and tribal technique by studying with numerous international teachers. As a soloist, she has been invited to teach and perform in the most important festivals in Italy and has performed internationally in Paris, New York, and Barcelona. Alice is the founder and director the school “Aynin” and it’s and associated dance company. Alice was selected to be a member of the show the Bellydance Evolution show “The Dark Side of the Crown” directed by Jillina. She performed with BDE in Washington DC and New York City, Miami, Japan and in 2013, a 28 show tour in Holland.

200SandralisHeadshotSandralis Gines
Sandralis is a visionary dancer, educator choreographer and dance/movement therapist with a solid belief that the arts are powerful tools for healing.  Her diverse dance experience and training includes Modern, Contemporary, Raks Sharqi, Turkish and Fusion Belly dance, Ballet, Jazz, African, and Afro-Caribbean.

Since 2006, Sandralis has danced as a principal dancer of Bellyqueen. She has performed nationally and internationally with Bellyqueen on stages throughout United States as well as in Europe and Asia. Beyond her extensive experience as a performer, she also is a highly regarded, charismatic and dedicated dance instructor with over 15 years of experience. Sandralis recently received a MA in dance/movement therapy from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY to help heal the trauma of others. 

200DanielleHuttonWhen New York-based fusion belly dance performer Danielle Hutton moves, it’s sensuality incarnate. It’s a concentrated slow burn of sincerity and elegant emotionality. Authenticity and nuanced grace imbue all of Danielle’s work: in her dancing, both her solo and collaborative work, as a choreographer, creator, and consultant, and as an educator, teaching privately, instructing classes, and conducting transformative workshops. For over 17 years, Danielle has been a fixture within the New York City belly dance community. She was principal dancer in Solstice Dance Ensemble from 2008-2010. During her tenure with the collective, she performed at such distinguished events as Tribal Fest, The Massive Spectacular, Rakkasah East, and Spring Caravan. In addition to these collaborations, she’s had the honor of performing with Zilla Dance Ensemble, Bellyqueen, and Solstice Tribe

Danielle is the director and producer of A Choreographer’s Vision, a theatrical belly dance salon that promotes the exploration of human connection through dance.

200NatalieHeadshotNatalie Nazario
Born in Puerto Rico, Natalie Nazario moved to New York City in 2012 and started dancing and teaching with Bellyqueen soon afterward. In honor of her late sister and dance partner Dayna, she created the DAYNA PASS which is a scholarship program to provide educational opportunities for financially disadvantaged dancers. In 2014 she won the Bellydance Evolution People’s Choice Award in Australia, and also won 2nd place at the 2014 NYCairo Raks Festival. Additionally, she founded the Oriental and Folkloric style troupe, Raks Al Zahra which is made up of her most talented and dedicated students. Raks Al Zahra won 1st place in the troupe category at the 2015 NYCairo Raks Festival. www.natalienazario.com