The Troupe

Some initial info for those who've been asking about what goes into the making of a great troupe. A variety of experiences and training, for one thing -- here's a little bit of background on our performers. 

Shaheen founded Fata Morgana Bellydance in 2001. Originally a collaborative effort between Shaheen, two of her students, and three other soloists, it grew and changed over the next ten years. We currently have 5 active members, all of whom have multiple roles which contribute to our status as live-music-capable performance group. Fata Morgana Bellydance has performed at Renaissance Faires, cultural events, faerie and pagan festivals, dinner shows, private events and at restaurants. We are currently working on our third television program, release date TBA. Members of the troupe include: 

Shaheen has been studying bellydance since 1997 with some of the most notable names in the business. Although she would love to devote ridiculous amounts of time merely to living in each relevant country to study, she cannot. Therefore, she studies with a variety of teachers who have, individually, devoted years of their respective lives to a particular form or region. Taking some of what she learns from each of these teachers, Shaheen melds them together with modern tribal fusion bellydance to create what we call folkloric tribal fusion. Shaheen has been, intermittently, studying doumbek for four years and plays percussion within the troupe as well. Shaheen's bellydance passion is for improv to live drumming. Please visit Shaheen's official Facebook page for more information on her other projects at:

Jennifer began her bellydance career by studying ATS with Fat Chance Bellydance descendant Kendra McLean in California. Upon moving to Virginia, Jennifer began to attend classes with Shaheen and rapidly rose through the classes and into the troupe, where she is invaluable. A wonderfully dynamic, upbeat, and energetic dancer, Jennifer brings life to any stage. Jennifer also adds musical talent with her lovely voice and flute.

Chip has been playing doumbek for 7 years,  and has incorporated frame drum, riq, mandolin, saz, and various other instruments into his repertoire and continues to deliver, with amazing regularity, spot-on performances which are kept fresh with healthy doses of crazy improvisational pieces. Chip is also actively continuing his musical education with several of the nation's top percussionists, and is integral to our status as a live-music group.

Thalia, after beginning various forms of dance at the age of seven, began bellydancing with Shaheen at the age of eleven, in one of the short children's sessions offered. She never stopped. She began attending two-hour, twice-weekly adult classes shortly thereafter, proving her mettle and devotion to the art. Thalia, along with her two sisters and two other teens, created Desert Roses, a junior troupe which began choreographing their own dances five years ago. Seven years after her early introduction, she became an official member of Fata Morgana Bellydance. Her sharp, precise movements distinguish her skillful, precise dance style, while her inherent grace plays to her namesake. Thalia has also been studying doumbek with Chip for years and is also a percussionist within the troupe.

Ilia, Thalia's younger sister, began dancing with Shaheen at the age of nine in the same children's class, and like her sister, never stopped. Ilia began taking dance classes at the age of five. She also began attending the adult bellydance classes quite early, and was being recognized for her fluid, slinky precision and applauded on her own merit in her early teens. Ilia has also been studying doumbek with Chip for several years and plays percussion within the troupe.