teacher - Lisa Wylie

Lisa Wylie

Dance should be fun, stress-reducing, challenging, and as pain free as possible. Dance exercises your mind as well as your body. My goal is to share the joy I receive from expressing myself through music. Belly dance is a dance form for all, from classic folk dance beginnings to tribal fusion styles.

My classical ballet background directs me to respect the origins and history of the dance style. My experience with UCSC Theater Arts/Dance Emphasis inspires me to explore and entertain through dance, but above all, it should be fun.

Inspired by my younger friends at Pennsic and Renaissance Faires, I returned to dancing, at the ripe age of 45. Ugh! What was I thinking? I found belly dancing to be fun, challenging, and community driven. When I was left with a belly dance studio with no teachers - a result of sudden transfer of my friends, teachers, and troupe mates - I began to share my own knowledge of this dance. I found I had a lot to learn, and I still do. Teaching has been challenging and one of the most rewarding journeys of my life. I truly enjoy it.

I focus on the basics and the foundations for good belly dance technique from the inside out. I find it far more important to learn where the movement originates from in the body rather than just making pretty pictures. I hope my students leave class feeling good about themselves and their accomplishments.

This California beach-loving free spirit and my retired military native Alabamian husband, Ed, retired to the south in 1990. I also practice my skills as a wire jeweler and sell on-line or at renaissance faires. Our home is way out in the country and we love it. Ed keeps very busy with his famous dried apple chips and curry dill pickles. His church work and yard work also keeps him out of my hair. Ed has 2 grown daughters who live in California and Virginia. His 2 grandchildren also live in California. Ed is very supportive of my unique endeavors, and if you do meet the elusive Ed at an event or pool party, then you are truly one of the lucky ones.

teachers - Jennifer Sheely

Jennifer Sheely

Jennifer became involved with the studio in January of 2009. She was drawn in by an open house event and quickly fell in love with both the dance form and the environment. She immersed herself in classes and workshops. She became a part of the student troupe after six months, and joined the performance group a couple of years later. She began teaching beginner classes at the studio in 2012 and went on to teach an ongoing strength and flexibility class for belly dancers. In June of 2015 she was certified in Myra Krien's SEEDs (Self-esteem, Empowerment and Education through Dance) program.

Jennifer hopes to share the joy and beauty of this wonderful art form in a safe and supportive environment and loves teaching students of all ages.

Kelley Blevins

Kelley Blevins

Being an introvert, teaching was not the first option to come to mind. However, after discovering her affinity for dancing /performing with the sword, in the fall of 2014 Lisa was finally able to gently persuade her to teach a class.

Kelley has had a long time fascination with ancient history and its weaponry, so naturally she was excited by the chance to actually dance with a sword. She dove in headfirst and found her greatest influences to be the likes of Isadora Bushkovski, Belladonna, and the incomprable Nicole Hannah.

Drawing from her love of all types of music, she tries to bring styles ranging from Cabaret and Tribal through Jazz and Hip hop. Her philosophy can be definitively described as Fusion. She strives to be as informative as possible while remaining easily approachable. She promises to keep learning relaxed and fun. Confession... She really likes the numerous other props veils, fans, baskets, and canes that we as dancers get to play with. She also loves the challenge of creating new and original choreography. Her main goal is not necessarily for her students to love the sword like she does, but to be able to appreciate the fine art and empowerment of comfortably dancing with one.


Amber Ponder Skantz

Amber's background includes competitive and studio ballet, lyrical, jazz and hip-hop, modern, liturgical dance, musical theater, yoga, and tap. She began studio dance at age 5 and hasn’t stopped dancing since! Amber has experience teaching all ages, from toddler to adults.

She took her first class with Shahala at Dublin Park in Madison in 2007, and performed with Nalah Caravanserai, an Egyptian troupe under the direction of Safiye before joining Lumani in 2009.

Amber holds a Master of Arts from the University of Louisiana Monroe and currently works in a university library. Belly dance marries Amber’s lifelong loves of history and dance in a wholly new way. She feels blessed to be able give back to the dance community through teaching, and pass on what has been given to her by teaching classes that incorporate and fuse elements of studio dance into belly dance.


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