Hi! I am Ruthie Smuts and this is my “Meet Ruthie”. I have been enjoying the art of belly dance for fours years.

I have always loved dancing and did Ballroom and Latin American dancing for four years while attending high school. A number of years later, I came across Zahra’s Oriental Dance School one evening while searching the internet for a ballroom dancing school and thought to myself: “This could be fun!” I attended my first class a few days later and as they say: the rest is history!


I only attended my first workshop at the end of my second year, a Jamaican dance workshop with the amazing Thelma Rose. What a talented dancer and with great sense of humour! Since then I’ve done a gypsy choreography workshop with a wonderful international teacher, Marina “Asja Samia” Rehbein. A couple of workshops with the talented Levona Bredenkamp, a few workshops with the vibrant Natalie Clark and of course a workshop with one of my amazing teachers, Jessica Perelson. Although I thoroughly enjoyed all these workshops and learnt a lot from each of the talented teachers, the one that stood out for me was Natalie Clark.

The way her energy just radiates to everyone around her inspired me to find my inner energy and interpret it into my dance. Natalie explained movements in a different way, also helped me finally have a breakthrough with an easy move that I’ve been struggling with for a number of years – the barrel turn. And of course I did a fan veil workshop with her where I absolutely fell in love with fan veils, so flowy and pretty, but yet so powerful! (Though they can never replace my first love, the veil!)

I do consider myself a good dancer, but there is still so much more out there to learn! And I’m looking forward to many more years at Zahra’s under the guidance my two wonderful teachers, mentors and friends, Melanie Wallis and Jessica Perelson. As well as the amazing ladies I’ve been blessed to befriend in our performance troupe.

Melanie Wallis

Melanie started dancing and performing for Janka’s Oriental Dance Studio in 2006.  Under the mentorship of Janka Kliment, Melanie began her training to become an Oriental Dance teacher in 2008 and completed it under Asja Samia in 2011.  Melanie is also a certified health and fitness instructor.   Following Janka’s return to Slovakia in 2013, Melanie and Jessica chose to carry forward the vision of their friend and mentor.  They purchased the studio and continue to teach the art and beauty of the dance to all aspiring belly dancers.