Dancers: Erin Luke, Sabra Nelson, Heather Wayman
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Dance is a love language that originates from deep inside a person. Erin Luke has had the fortunate opportunity to seek out technical study of the art since she was young, beginning at age four when she started in tap and lyrical study. But no one style fit her best as she craved formal and informal opportunities to hone her personal expression. Since her budding beginnings she has dabbled in the worlds of Latin club bachata and salsa, Argentine tango, east coast swing, Lindy, and the sultry improv of blues fusion. Sabra Nelson, Troupe Leader of Raqs Yakima, introduced Erin to the beautiful world of improv tribal-style belly dance six years ago. She fell in love with the fierce costumery, deep primitive connection to the drum-based dance style and the intense connection it enables between dancers, musicians and the audience.
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Sabra Nelson has been a dancer since she learned to walk, from many years as a ballet ensemble member to the ASU Dance/ HipHop Team in college, along with tap, show dancing, salsa, ballroom and more. However, her true passion lies in Tribal Belly Dance! Sabra studied and performed with Troupe Salamat in Prescott, Arizona for many years, moving on to many master classes along the west coast while continuing to learn and grow in her art. Since moving to Yakima in 2010, she has graciously taken over the Raqs Yakima Troupe, helping many dancers to grow into the graceful dancers you now see. She resides here with her two children and offers community classes weekly to all ages. Namaste!

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Heather_Wayman_092Heather Wayman is a second-generation professional dancer. She is classically trained but discovered classic Egyptian Oriental and Folkloric dance in 2007. She found that middle-eastern music, through its “maqamat” (similar to western modes), has a unique way of eliciting a wide range of emotional moods in its listeners. Heather has trained with dance masters from Egypt, Russia and the United States. She won medals in 2012, 2013 and 2015 in the internationally acclaimed “Yellow Rose of Texas” belly dance competition and was a finalist in the “Randa Kamel Crown” competition in 2014 in Dallas, Texas. Most recently, she won first runner up in the “Belly Dance Off” at Seattle’s famed Teatro ZinZanni, dancing to live music chosen on the spot. Heather has captivated audiences from Okinawa, Japan to Dallas, Texas with her commanding and elegant stage presence. She performs in theater shows, galas and fundraisers, and she specializes in women’s events and retirement community performances. Find information about Heather’s instructional DVD, performances and classes at BellyByHeather.com. Photos by Carl Sermon.