Zaina Hart; a Dancer’s Dancer, Teacher’s Teacher, and Builder of the Hart
Zaina has a very kind and generous heart, and when she cares for you, nothing gets in the way of that expression. Her persevering strength lies in her intelligence, dignity and respect for herself and others. She is a jewel and it is a privilege to call her friend….Isis San Miguel
She was given this name, Zaina, by the Grandmother of a Lebanese friend she knew in Phoenix. The Grandmother and Grandson both said the name given to her by her first teacher did not suit her. The Grandmother explained the name meant jewel, emerald, diamond or the first shining thing you see when you walk in a room. How lucky could a person be to be named such, and luckier even that one of the most beautifully written pieces of music is as well her namesake. The second name, Hart is part of her birth name, and was attached to Zaina after a student told her, “you have given me back my heart with this beautiful dance”. Once the two names were put together, her true dance persona emerged.
Zaina is described as grace itself, entering a stage and room with elegance, power and confidence. Passion and fire do not elude her, she will in fact wrap you up in it and leave you breathless for having joined her. This multi award winning performer, who seemingly leaves the stage “sizzling” and the audience mesmerized, has forged her place in “Belly Dance” with the best of them. Zaina actually becomes the music, never chasing it, nor ignoring it, but rather breathing it deep into her soul and heart to then offer the audience, never holding back, all that she becomes in those moments.
Zaina has shared the awe inspiring stage with us for nearly 40 years. A respected College Instructor whose classes were over capacity at every quarter, she continues to inspire women from all backgrounds not only to dance, but helping them to be the beautiful, strong women they desire to be. Her charisma on stage is equal to that off stage where she is mother/grandmother, friend, mentor and writer. As the former owner/editor of iShimmy.com (formerly The Belly Dancer Magazine) she forged a new road, h-artful education for dancers.
Zaina’s dance style is based in classical Egyptian, however, she adds to this her own extraordinary flair – her Zany-personality, which depending on performance and music is a powerful mix – elegance and sass, playfulness and humor, and a sensuality seemingly born to her. She has equally developed quite the reputation as comedian and emcee for various events around the country. Her mesmerizing arm and hand work combined with unique body styling have brought forward the “Wings of the Phoenix” performances bringing the house down at each emotionally charged offering.
Currently residing in Vancouver, WA she maintains Zaina’s House of Dance, continuing to teach weekly classes, monthly workshops, twice annual “Black Belt Belly Dance” Intensives and coach to dancers and pageant participants. Former owner/producer of the Double Crown Belly Dance Competition (a highly respected competition which was in production for 13 years) has her sought after as judge at many competitions throughout the country. Zaina continues to stay in tune with the “Hart-Beat” of Middle Eastern performing arts, sharing that valuable information with readers, students, and friends alike. Having served on multiple boards for the arts and animal conservation, as well as staff writer for various Middle Eastern Dance publications in and outside of the US, has given her a vast array of experience to further tap for her students.
“The beauty and strength of our dance art comes from the diversity of those who participate . . the differences in styles, age, gender, race, body form and passions of its performers”. . . Zaina Hart
Recognizing her unique teaching and performing style, in 1999 the Producers of Oregon Public Broadcasting approached her to be the feature of a documentary about Middle Eastern Dance and its effect on the lives of the women and men who have chosen the art form for their creative outlet. The segment was aired on “Art Beat” which as of this writing (2005) has aired on three separate occasions and received the most votes for re-airing by the summer of 2004.
This dance continues to challenge me as a person and performer moving me to think, teach and reach “OUTSIDE THE BOX” … Zaina Hart
Some of Zaina’s Awards & Titles
2001 Headliner of the Year
2001 Wiggles and Giggles – (Comedy Category) Winner
1998 Entertainer of the Year 1st Runner Up
1998 Wiggles and Giggles (Comedy Category) Winner – Bedouin Babes
1997 Alternative Stylist-Belly Dancer USA
**1995 Miss USA (Belly Dancer USA)**
1995 Alternative Style Winner – Corvallis Classics
1993 Alternative Style Winner – Coos Bay Classics
1991 Winner – Professional – MED&CA Olympics
1990 Alternative Style Winner – MED&CA Olympics