Aimee Thornton, a founding member of Zivah Saphirah, began her exploration of dance in the 3rd grade. Since then, she has participated in tap, ballet. jazz, clogging, square-dancing, ballroom, swing, contradance, and zydeco. She teaches bellydance as well as costume construction. While she finds satisfaction in the performance of her original choreographies, she most enjoys the interaction that occurs when collaborating with her friends to create group choreographies. “Some of my closest friendships have developed through this process of sharing and playing off each other’s ideas. It’s a great feeling to generate such positive energy together; it perpetuates our enthusiasm and inspiration,” she says. Having worked in recreation with senior citizens for over 10 years, Aimee has seen that dance in general can help keep us young and that sharing in projects with friends enhances our quality of life.
Basma (troupe coordinator):
Blessed with an energetic spirit and inviting presence, Basma has been dancing for most of her life. As a child, she studied ballet, tap and jazz dance before shifting to various forms of underground dance during her teen years. While pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Women's Studies, Basma discovered a love for teaching and performing as well as a fervor for improving women's lives through female empowerment. Combining these passions brought her to the world of Middle Eastern dance. Basma studied with some of the best instructors in her area and built upon this training by studying with international bellydance stars such as Amar Gamal, Ansuya, Aziza of Montreal, Jill Parker, Mira Betz, Petite Jamilla, Sadie and Sedona. Click here to visit Basma's website.
Gema has always loved dancing and was inspired to begin taking bellydance lessons after attending a local performance. She began taking lessons from Aziza of Birmingham nearly 10 years ago and has also studied with local instructor Irene Rimer. She is excited to continue her study of bellydance as one of the newest members of Zivah Saphirah. Gema finds bellydancing to be a wonderful way to express herself creatively as well as to reconnect with her Middle Eastern background. Gema recently returned to Birmingham after spending several years in Lebanon teaching English to elementary school children.
When Sibylle discovered bellydance with Zivah Saphirah, it was love at first sight. She then started dancing with Irene Rimer, and took ATS classes from Devyani Dance Company. In addition, Sibylle is constantly seeking to perfect her technique by studying with world-renowned instructors such as Ansuya, Mira Betz, Moria Chappell, Deb Rubin, Jill Parker, Amel Tafsout and Artemis Mourat. Sibylle truly enjoys the diversity inherent to the many forms of bellydance and is looking forward to many more years of discovery.