Our performers are highly experienced and have years of experience under their shimmy belts.

We are proud to have the following dancers perform on a regular basis.

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.  Melanie was the lead dancer in the studio’s 2009 production “A Journey Home”, and can boast to shimmying away with a Gold and Judge’s Choice prizes at the local All Starz Competition in 2011.  She earned bragging rights for Zahra’s Oriental Dance Studio when she achieved the position of second runner-up at the Miss Belly Dance South Africa competition in 2013.

Her style is influenced by the Egyptian genre of belly dance and she has had the privilege of learning from international stars such as Rania, Ajsa Samia, Mihrimah Ghaziya, Sheyla, Paola Blanton, Silvia Salamanca, Maya Gaorry, Abir & Magdi, Latifa Saadi, Gitza Estrada, Nicole McLaren, Michelle Joyce, Kami Liddle, Secilia Basilika, Nuriyya, Sahla, Danisa de Paul, Artemis, Kristine Adams and Karina Lencina.

Melanie has also been taught by wonderful local teachers including Marina Rehbein, Thelma Rose, Beverli Al-Masrah, Kash, Robert Harris, Senta Duffield, Marina Basson, Rowena Mckay and Shriya.

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.

Jessica Perelson

Jessica has had an affinity for dancing since she was very young.  At the tender age of two years, she would attend her sister’s ballet classes and dance with the older girls.  When she was six, she was enrolled in the Norma Blakeway School of Ballet, and attended classes there for 11 years.  During that time she passed the Royal Academy of Dance grade 7 and pre-elementary exams.  She also achieved Bronze, Silver and Gold certificates at the Port Elizabeth Dance Festival and took part in the Port Elizabeth Youth Ballets from 1992 until 1994.

Jessica then shifted her focus to her academic career, and took a sabbatical from dancing until 2008, when she began belly dancing under the tuition of Janka Kliment.  In 2009 she joined the Evolution Oriental Dance Troupe and began performing regularly at festivals and functions.  She also auditioned to become a teaching assistant and started her apprenticeship in 2010.  During that year she started teaching an evening class at Shapes Gym in Parkside, as well as a morning class and many of the beginner classes at Janka’s Oriental Dance Studio.  In October 2010, Jessica danced at the International Oriental Dance Festival’s Gala event with the Evolution Troupe.

Jessica then took another another sabbatical in 2011 to start a family, but returned to belly dance and began performing again in 2013.

At the end of 2013, Jessica joined forces with Melanie Wallis and bought Janka’s Oriental Dance Studio, changing it’s name to Zahra’s Oriental Dance Studio.  Jessica now runs classes, workshops and performs for Zahra’s.

Jessica has attended workshops with the following local and international dancers:  Marina “Ajsa Samia” Rehbein, Beverli Al-Masrah, Pablo Acosta, Artemis Dewald Eberhardt, Paola Blanton, Mihrimah Ghaziya, Maya Gaory, Thelma Rose and Kristine Adams.

Karla Bouwer

Meet Karla Bouwer, fusion dancer, lover of cats and good food.  Karla has trained in dance since the age of 5.

She is a qualified Junior Modern dancing teacher with a background in several dance styles, these include gold level Hip-Hop, some line dancing and a little bit of Latin.  She started training in oriental belly dance in 2015, with Zahra’s Oriental Dance Studio.  Since starting her training, she has attended over 20 workshops in various forms of oriental dance styles, from contemporary to tribal fusion, Shaabi to Gypsy.  She has taken lessons from national and international teachers at festivals such as the International Oriental Dance Festival, Theatrical Oriental Dance Festival, East London Belly Dance Festival and Miss Belly Dance South Africa 2017.

The teachers she has studied under include Bhana, Taryn Reed, Senta Duffield, Micha, Sasha, Jessica Perelson, Natalie, Levona Bredenkamp, Sandra Dance, Melanie Wallis, as well as Nix and Marissa from SOMA Fusion Belly Dance,

When I dance I feel like my soul can breathe.

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