Photo credit: Sharif Photography © 2009

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Zsuzsi has lived in Santa Cruz County, CA for the last ten years, working during the day as a urban planner and dancing most evenings and weekends. As a “Navy brat”, she grew up on both coasts of the US and spent 5 years in Japan in her youth. She began studying Western music and dance at age five, but shifted to gymnastics and sports in junior high and high school. She played piano, trumpet, french horn, Japanese koto, and violin in various school bands and orchestras. She was introduced to the world of folk dance in Hungary and Transylvania in the early 1990’s as an exchange student living in Budapest at what now seems to have been the peak of the Hungarian tanchaz (traditional folk dance) movement, and enjoyed authentic social dancing with the region’s best folk musicians in community centers, remote village weddings, and other modest settings. Back in the U.S., Hungarian folk dance opportunities were few and far between, but fortunately she discovered belly dance while living Providence, Rhode Island, with teacher Nourhan Sharif and was hooked.

Moving to California in 1998, she continued to study belly dance with teachers Rabia in Stockton, Sahar in Santa Cruz, Hala in San Jose, and at occasional workshops with Amina in San Francisco and others. She performed for several years in Santa Cruz as one of “Sahar’s Serpentine Ladies” in numerous community events and theatrical productions. In 2007 she founded Mediterraneo Productions, her event production company, in order to host workshops with top-notch instructors from abroad or from the East Coast. Her urban planning skills come in handy with event planning as well. She has sponsored dance workshops and shows with Nourhan Sharif, Yousry Sharif, Karim Nagi, Mohamed El Hosseny, and others, and concerts with The Georges Lammam Ensemble, Karim Nagi, and AZA. She also began to study Arabic music and the oud several years ago with master musician Elias Lammam.

In the last several years she has taken up flamenco with Carolina Lugo and her daughter, Carole Acuna, of the San Francisco Bay Area, and recently became an apprentice in their “Brisas de Espana Flamenco Dance Company”, performing most recently on June 12 in their 10th Annual Spring Concert at the Danville Village Theater with esteemed musicians Roberto Zamora and Daniel Torres.

Zsuzsi is fluent in Hungarian, functional in Spanish, and is slowly (very slowly) learning Arabic. She enjoys meeting dancers from around the world and the US in various major events and festivals, and performing occasionally in Amina’s Belly Dancer Showcase with the Georges Lammam Band at Pena Pachamama in San Francisco. Zsuzsi teaches a monthly technique workshop known as “Move of the Month Club” focused primarily on Egyptian dance styles at Pleasure Point FDC in Santa Cruz. She is the local sponsor of Mohamed El Hosseny’s second visit to the West Coast, with workshops and a Gala Show happening July 16-18, 2010 in San Jose and Palo Alto, followed by a dance party on Sunday night in San Francisco with The Georges Lammam Ensemble.

Web sites: Mediterraneo Productions:  Sponsor of Mohamed El Hosseny West Coast Workshop MediterraneoSF.com
Mediterraneo Event Blog:  MediterraneoProductions.blogspot.com
Sharifwear:  Sponsor of Mohamed El Hosseny 2010 North America/Venezuela Tour Sharifwear.com
Mohamed El Hosseny 2010 Tour Schedule: egyptianacademy.com

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