Founder, Artistic Director,
and Choreographer Julianne Battaglia:
It has been over a decade since I
first wrote my "bio" for the site. Funny thing, the more
things change the more they stay the same......
"Smitten" is still the word which best describes my
reaction to the first up close and personal encounter I
had with "belly dancing". A local belly dance class was
performing at my neighborhood shopping mall. I was
mesmerized by the way they used their bodies and spirits
to express the most exotic and beautiful music I had
ever heard. I approached the teacher and immediately
signed up for her class (thanks Lisa Davis), which was
offered through the local Continuing Education Program.
I was hooked! I was shown a whole new way of physical
expression, quite a paradoxical experience from the
alternate nights I spent pursuing a black belt in
I still remember my dad jokingly remarking:
"So what... now you want to learn to
dance so you can lure men close enough for you to beat
In that dance class filled with exotic music and
graceful movement, I was enveloped with the feeling that
I had "come home"! That well over three decades ago and
the obsession still holds sway and insha’allah, will
I somehow managed over the years, as a single mom, to
raise a beautiful daughter. She is grown now and
surprisingly well adjusted considering her formative
years were spent amidst a plethora of sequins,
glitter, fringe, drums, tambourines, swords,
other eclectic dance props. The anecdotes stemming from
the experiences of mommy/dancer are endless.
If you have not had the experience yourself, just ask
any dancer/mom and persuade her to share some of her
humorous tales of joy and horror.
I am always surprised, thrilled and inspired by
experiencing how other dancers hear and interpret their
music so I still take every opportunity my time and
budget will allow to attend seminars and workshops which
focus on music and dance. My dance and music research
horizons have now expanded to include study and dance in
Egypt and Morocco!
I have always been involved in some kind of artistic
expression both visual and kinetic. I took
ballet and tap as a child and twirled my way through my
teen years as a majorette. It was during those twirling
years that I discovered my penchant for choreography. I
made up dance moves to everything from John Philip Sousa
for my high school majorette team to songs by Ricky
I love to teach and watch the light bulbs radiate when
dancers enthusiastically “get it”. I am always thrilled
when I see them embrace a whole new facet of themselves
and their vocabulary of personal expression. But my most
enjoyable and often rewarding moments are spent
experimenting with my own dance technique and the
challenges of dance fusion.
It would get very boring for me if I were to allow
myself to become complacent and cease the personal
challenge of stepping out of my comfort zone and playing
with a variety of dance styles, cultural traditions, and
inspiration. One of my favorite approaches to
choreography was inspired by a "one liner" from comedian
Stephen Wright. Of course, my troupe members always
laugh when they hear it but it is surprisingly close to
the truth: "Let's try this....I saw it in a cartoon."
the bottom of my heart I want to thank my troupe of
"paper clip" dancers (whole other story!) for trusting
me and having the patience to work with me on some of my
flights of fantasy!
To help fill my daily 47 minutes of spare time.....I
have added doumbek drumming to my obsessions. I study,
perform, and teach it. I am thrilled to have the
opportunity to play doumbek with a local group of
amazing musicians. All too often I am torn between
dancing with and drumming for Sahara Silk and Troupe
Tarab performances. It is always a tough decision. I do
I look forward to the day when cloning becomes available
to the general public!
Through this avocation, which has also served as my
personal therapy, I have been blessed
with the opportunity to know some of the most talented,
joyous and spirited people imaginable. They have become
the best friends that anyone could hope for.
Some details of my non dance related life:
I am wife to a brilliant and
supportive man who has resigned himself to living
with sequins, swords, cymbals, and a sarcophagus!
And who, thankfully, spends much of his time
building and maintaining our web sites.
I am the proud mother of a
beautifully spirited and artistically talented
I am a retired Civil
Service Department of Defense employee and now a
free lance Graphic and Fine Artist. My new focus is
to pursue my dream of spending more time in the Fine
Arts field of drawing and experimenting with my 3-D
I have earned Bachelor of
Arts degrees in both Fine Arts and in Graphic
Design.....these were fun.
I have earned a Bachelor of
Science degree in Psychology...this one was hard
I am still a computer nerd
"wannabe" inspired by my computer genius husband who
does magical things in cyberspace that I can never
even hope to understand!