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The Troupe

Who We Are

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Talia is a second-generation dancer from the Pacific Northwest. She began learning Middle Eastern dance at the age of eight performing in local events and festivals. After deciding she wanted to become a professional dancer, Talia moved to Minneapolis, MN and began studies as The Cassandra School of Belly Dance.  Talia also studied with other high-quality teachers and choreographers some of the best the U.S. has to offer.  

Talia then moved to San Diego, CA performing professionally all-over Southern California both as a soloist and with her professional dance company, the Oriental Jewels.

One of the biggest highlights of Talia's career was working closely with the master oudist, John Bilezikjian for many years before his passing.

Over the years, Talia has won multiple awards for performing, taking home four "Best Oriental Dancer" awards from her peers at Oasis Dance Camp, as well as a "Spirit of Aphrodite" award. In 2006, Talia took the third runner-up award in the Egyptian category for Belly Dancer of the Universe.



Assistant Director

Ajaya was introduced to belly dancing at the age of 19. She fell in love with the music, movements and costuming. It has been her passion for over 25 years. 

Taking workshops and classes has exposed her to many styles of dance including Raks Sharki, Raks Assaya, Turkish, Persian, Khaleegy and Bollywood.

Ajaya has been performing with the award-winning troupe Shula Azhar for 16 years and is a founding member. She has also been teaching locally for 9 years.

A highlight from her dancing career was performing in the Belly Dance Showcase at Seattle's Folklife Festival for four consecutive years.




Anessa is a founding member of Shula Azhar.  She began her belly dance studies in 1997 with Troupe Rose in Ellensburg, WA.  Though she has always studied dance from a child, dancing ballet, tap and jazz, as well as learning Russian Folkdance while living in Sitka, Alaska. 

In 1998, Aneesa moved to Port Angeles and was soon performing with a local troupe around the Northwest.  It's from there Aneesa became known for her elegant fusion style of belly dance.

Some of Aneesa's greatest dance highlights are performing at Seattle's Folklife Festival and receiving votes of accomplishment for her dancing and choreographies by her mentors Sabura (Seattle) and Cassandra Shore (Minneapolis). 



Kanika's passion for belly dance can be traced back to her childhood when attending a bustling Renaissance fair.  Being brought up onto stage with a magnificently decorated belly dance group. She was in awe, hooked on the drumbeats and movements. In her late teens she began taking Middle Eastern dance classes (Raks Sharqi!) from multiple instructors across Vancouver Island BC. In 2010 with a move to the Olympic Peninsula she was introduced to tribal fusion, improv ATS and cabaret influenced belly dance. In 2022 Kanika started her studies with Ajaya and Talia joining Shula Azhar. Kanika has enjoyed many opportunities to attend festivals and shows; she loves the passion and radiance dancers bring to the stage. Kanika has volunteered time as an art/music director and has had a hand in organizing some events in the community.  

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