Queens of the Universe
Middle Eastern Dance Troupe
Ann became interested in Middle Eastern dance when she saw a local dancer perform and became mesmerized by the movements and power of the music. She has had the opportunity to study and learn from master teachers around the world. Ann was a member of the Women of Selket dance troupe when she decided to branch out and start her own class/troupe. The wonderful result was the Queens of the Universe.
One of the founding members of the Queens of the Universe, Varvara began belly dance lessons in Germany from Satania Sheva. After performing in her first recital, she was hooked on the dance and the costumes. Varvara danced at the Phonecia and the Palisades. In Nuremberg, she had the opportunity to dance on a regular basis in several local restaurants featuring belly dancers. Since returning to the U.S. she continues her belly dance education through local teachers and seminars and performs in Colonial Heights and Richmond.
Zahirah began dancing in 1982 with the great Lettie Abdelaziz (Mish Mish D'Amira) at the YWCA in NYC. She danced for five years in NY before moving to Germany where she continued to dance for several years. Upon return to the US and moving to Virginia, she studied with Alice Warner, Heather Merrill and Ann Elliotte. Zahirah is now the teacher of the Colonial Heights beginners class.
Lahna joined a belly dance class on a dare with some co-workers in the late 70's and continued to take classes for several years. She then decided to try martial arts and after 10 years and a 3rd degree black belt, she returned in 2002 to belly dancing. An original member of the Queens of the Universe, she participates in classes taught by other local teachers, workshops, and Latin dance.
Ameena started taking a belly dance class for exercise, which turned into a passion. She began in 2004 and has been dancing ever since. She plans to keep going until she cannot dance any more. When the Queens were formed, Ameena was one of the original dancers who helped Ann make the decision to create the troupe.
Gaia decided to start belly dancing after a trip to the Virginia Renaissance Faire in 2007. Since then she has taken lessons with a multitude of teachers and has taught workshops on fan veils, her favorite prop. Gaia won runner up at the East Coast Classic amateur/junior professional competition in 2014 and first place amateur/junior professional in 2015.
Ondreya began her belly dance journey in 2010 under the instruction of Debby West. She discovered an immediate passion for the dance, especially, the sisterhood, personal growth, and therapy for which belly dance offers the willing student. She has taken classes and workshops from a variety of instructors and enjoys incorporating new techniques into her dance. She performs with the Richmond Raq Stars, is a member of the Jewels of the Oasis dance troupe, and in 2014 became a member of the Queens of the Universe.
 Zaida was first introduced to Middle Eastern dance through an extracurricular dance class at the College of William & Mary in 1998. She has studied with a variety of teachers in Richmond and Tidewater and has also participated in many workshops with nationally known artists. Zaida has performed at many local festivals, charity events and restaurants. She is known for her graceful, fluid, precise style and loves to do drum solos.