Our Teachers

Mercedes Nieto (Hungary)

Mercedes Nieto is an internationally acclaimed oriental dance artist form a Hungarian-Spanish family, based in Budapest, Hungary. World famous of her delicate, elegant, yet passionate dance style, which is innovative and unique. 

She has spent a decade touring around the World: since 2009 she had been teaching and performing in more than 50 countries at around 30 different oriental dance events worldwide yearly. While constantly traveling and sharing her knowledge, passion and unique vision for belly dancing, she kept organizing the now internationally highly acclaimed CAIRO! Fest Budapest. The festival attracts hundreds of dedicated dancers to Hungary from all over the world every spring. 

Mercedes is producing middle-eastern music specifically for oriental dancers since 2012: creating music in Cairo, Egypt, in collaboration with some of the best musicians and composers the scene has to offer, producing and releasing the material in Europe. She has released five albums that gained wide international success among dancers. The newest one “Zikrayet” has just been released in 2021. 

Meanwhile currently focusing more on her international career, festival and music productions, Mercedes is still teaching in Budapest in her own dance studio called the “Nimfeum” whenever she’s in town, performing annual shows with her students, organizing charity galas as well as managing her professional oriental dance company “The Nymph Oriental Dance Company”.

During the pandemic times she has started her RAQSoul project: a series of online workshops and weekly classes for dedicated dancers to stay connected and inspired.

Yousry Sharif

We’re over the moon to welcome back for the third time the legendary YOUSRY SHARIF 🇪🇬 🇺🇸 

“Yousry Sharif is the embodiment of many greats when it comes to Egyptian Raqs Sharqi: a great original choreographer, a great teacher, a great mentor, a great music producer, a great presence, a great inspiration, a great mind, and the list goes on and on. In short, he is the epitome of the dance, and a phenomenon.

Worldly acclaimed and respected as the master of masters, Yousry Sharif travels the majority of the year to nurture dancers and teachers around the globe. There is rarely one dance artist worth his or her salt who is not influenced or taught by him. Everywhere he goes, he is pursued by the most talented and zealous.

By teaching in major cities, he impacts the way the world dances. His creativity, musicality, sensitivity and no-nonsense instruction take it by storm. His cutting-edge, inspired on-the-spot, give-it-all choreographies keep even the most achieved dancers on their toes. His expansive knowledge, expertise teaching, profound understanding and above all, his unmatched talent and love of the art form touch and charm every soul. And the world yearns for more.

A native to Cairo, his dance talents shone through at a tender age of seven. He grew up thoroughly trained in Egyptian folkloric dancing, plus various dance forms, including jazz, classical ballet, and flamenco, while working with various influential choreographers and teachers.

After moving to New York, the USA, in the 1980s, he started his own dance academy to educate dancers in what the world has come to adore as the Yousry Sharif oriental style. While preserving the spirit of traditions, he takes the dance to a contemporary level and beyond. To him, the dance is a life form. It evolves with time and environment, while never loses sight of its roots.

So the legend goes on, and the world awaits.” 

(Source: Heart of America Bellydance)

Nesma

“From a family of artists, Nesma started to perform in TV shows and theatre when she was a teenager. Nesma lived in Cairo from 1993–1998, where she obtained her extensive knowledge of Oriental dance, Egyptian folklore, Arabic music, culture and traditions.

Nesma performed as a soloist with her own orchestra in over 3,500 shows on the most prestigious stages of Cairo.

She broadened her artistic career in the National Egyptian Folkloric Ballet, The Reda Troupe. Since 1998 she has danced and taught around the world. In Spain she founded her own school and a prestigious dance company, Al-Andalus Danza. She is renowned as a pioneer in the Arab-Andalusian dance. Nesma’s deep knowledge and long experience as an instructor, dancer and producer along with her love for teaching has made her an essential master for passionate Oriental dancers worldwide.

Creator of the neoandalusí style, she is a pioneer in investigating and choreographing dance performances inspired by the legacy of al-Andalus.

Her deep knowledge and long experience as an instructor, dancer and producer, along with her love for teaching has made Nesma an essential master for passionate Oriental dancers worldwide.”

Esmeralda Colabone

“Esmeralda Colabone, from Brazil, started her dance classes at the age of 4. She studied Classical Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary Dance until, at the age of 16, when she had her first contact with Belly Dance. Esmeralda’s first belly dance teacher was Lúcia Nogueira, a woman with an artistic soul and great sensitivity. From the first class, she believed and invested in Esmeralda’s potential. “Raw, brown-eyes, like a Bedouin. Like ancient people,” as she was once defined by a Syrian musician in Damascus, Syria back in 2004. 

Since 1999, Esmeralda has been dedicating herself to Arab Dance and Culture.

From 2002 to 2014, she was accepted at Belly Dance Brazil by Omar and Olga Naboulsi in partnership with La Maison De L’Artiste do Líbano – considered the best entertainment agencie in the Middle East at the time – founded by Toros Siranossian. At the time, aged 19, Esmeralda was the youngest dancer at the agency. For 12 years, Esmeralda lived the real Arabic life and danced in the best hotels and restaurants in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Syria and Lebanon. She was the first Brazilian to tour the Maghreb and one of the longest contracts for a dancer in Tunisia.

These countries and their people were her family and school. 

Soloist, teacher, choreographer, speaker and producer, Esmeralda is one of the biggest names in Belly Dance worldwide, being a constant presence in the main national and international festivals with her visceral performances, unique musical interpretation and undeniable charisma.

Her contributions to the Arab Dance scene worldwide are very valuable, it is worth mentioning that she is responsible for the rise and propagation of the Lebanese style, throughout her workshop “The Lebanese Style” and was the creator of the first dance shoes for Belly Dancers in partnership with Capézio Brazil.

Today, as the CEO of the brand/movement A BAILOCA, Esmeralda Colabone continues with her desire and life purpose of contributing more and more to the world dance community.” 

Mohanned Hawaz

“Mohanned Hawaz has an impressive, award-winning background in dance and theatre in both modern/contemporary styles and Iraqi dance. He is a sought-after dance instructor and choreographer in the international Middle Eastern dance community for his unmatched abilities in the dance arts of Iraq.

A native of Mosul, Iraq, Mohanned Hawaz began performing in local festivals at age seven. At age 15, he joined Mosul’s Iraqi Arists Union of Nineveh, where he started formal training in dance, costuming and stage makeup.

He next transferred to The Iraqi National Troupe of Folkloric Arts and trained with renowned troupe founders Hannah Abdullah, Fouad Thanoon and Adel Al-Aabi. As part of his training in Iraqi folkloric dances and customs, Mohanned spent six months traveling across Iraq. This field training was crucial to his qualifying studies to become a professional dancer.

In 2006, Mohanned traveled to Cairo, Egypt, to study with renowned choreographer, Waleed Awni. After moving to Sweden , Mohanned trained further in contemporary/modern dance school with Ottilia Bergstrom and ballet with Lena Cederwall Broberg. He later founded the dance troupe Enkidu who perform with Iraqi folkloric styles of dance as well as contemporary presentations. Mohanned and his troupe, Enkidu, continue to perform both in Sweden and internationally as Mohanned continues to educate and train worldwide in the Iraqi folkloric dances.

Enkidu is the first dance company to have brought Iraqi dance to the national stage in Sweden. They have traveled the world, presenting Iraqi dance in thirty different countries and winning numerous awards along the way.”

Pablo Acosta

Pablo Acosta will be back to Budapest soon, for the first time at CAIRO! Fest Budapest.

A multi talented dancer, choreographer, event organizer, school director from Tucumán, Argentina, famous of his passionate performances, let it be bellydance, flamenco, tango. His detailed, thorough and supportive pedagogy made him loved all around the world.

He is touring internationally since several years, training dancers and ensembles regularly, and mesmerizing audiences with his energetic, technical, expressive performances. We love him on and off stage, for his talent and for his heart, he brightens up the room wherever he is at: ME ENCANTA – like he always says.

Join his tango oriental fusion choreo workshop or learn his mind blowing turns at the LAB class. 

Charafe Ennaji

Professor, choreographer, international dancer and artistique director from Morocco. Multi-disciplined dancer (modern jazz, argentine tango, salsa, contemporary Morrocan dance and Oriental), certified in modern jazz (Martha Graham technique) along with Middle-Eastern and North African dance and rhythms. Since 2002 he has contributed as a dancer and choreographer to many different dance projects in theatre, television and cinema in Morocco (Water for Life, Safar, Al Malika, Resistance, Balya, Peur et Amour, Persona non Gratta, KAADA, Starlight). He has participated in many different international dance festivals (Dahab Festival, Moroocan Dance Congress, Maghreb Dance, The Mediterranean Lights, ARRABESQUE, Orientalis Festival Lihuenia, Prague summer Dance, TARABESQUE, CAIRO! Fest Budapest, Oriental Marathon, Jewel Of The Nile Egypt, Nile Group) as a guest star and dance professor.

Also created choregraphies and concept for music videos and live shows for the A list of Arabic and international singers such as Samira Said, Hatim Ammor, Zakaria Ghafouli, Mohamed Ramadan, Zouheir Bahaoui, Grini, Ramy Ayach, Carol Samaha, Louis Tomilson, Danny Brillant, Sofia Essaidi, Kelly Rowland, Maitre Gims, I Artiste and many others.

Gulden Fatkulla (Kazakhstan)

Professional performer of oriental dance, certified choreographer, one of the leading teachers of oriental dance in the Republic of Kazakhstan, judge of the international category of the League of Professionals.  Head of the largest school of oriental dance “ESHTA”.  Creator of the “Inspiration team” project, designer of stage costumes for oriental dance.

Gulden gives master classes all over the world.  Experienced teacher and judge of oriental dance events in Kazakhstan and around the world! The artistic approach to work, a deep study of the origins of oriental dance and choreographic education make Gulden a very valuable teacher. Gulden Fatkullah is the co-director of the ballet “1001 Nights”, which is shown on the best stages of the country.  In 2023, Gulden, for the first time in the history of choreography in Kazakhstan, brought to the professional real Egyptian folklore on stage for the state ensemble “Gulder”, and it was performed on the main stage.

Her performances are always thoughtful and original, and the performances of her ensemble and students are indistinguishable from Egyptian folklore!  Gulden is an attentive teacher, an impeccable and attentive judge, a true artist and professional of oriental dance. Gulden Fatkulla’s students are the leaders of the leading oriental dance schools in Kazakhstan.

Eshta School is the winner of such festivals and competitions as AhlanWaSahlan (Cairo, Egypt), NileGroup (Cairo, Egypt), Europe-Asia (Yekaterinburg, Russia), World Bellydance Convention Korea (Seoul,  South Korea), International Festival in Shanghai (Shanghai, China), Shishaparty (Odessa, Ukraine), Raqia Hassan Cup (St. Petersburg, Russia), Ukrainian Cup (Donetsk, Ukraine), Cairo  Mirage” (Moscow, Russia), “International Cup” (Moscow, Russia), “Oriental Passion Festival” (Athens, Greece), as well as multiple winners of national competitions, championships and festivals.

Amira (Hungary)

Krisztina Németh Amira, founder of Amira Art Company. The aim of the group is to showcase the diversity of belly dance, its artistic expressiveness and to introduce the Hungarian audience to its different directions and styles.

Oriental dancer, choreographer, yoga instructor

She was one of the first in Hungary to start teaching belly dancing.  For 15 years, she was a belly dancer at iconic events such as Rudas spa parties, she toured with the Moroccan band Chalaban, and already after the first years she started looking for ways to express deeper content with belly dance and she created unique dance theater performances.  In 2000, she presented her first performance entitled “Dance Mandalas”, which was followed by numerous performances. She has won the best choreographer award several times, has taught and performed in several countries around the world, and has been working for 25 years to show the artistic side of belly dancing and its inherent power of expression.

Salima

Salima is a professional dancer, instructor choreographer of oriental dance and flamenco-oriental fusion, originally Hungarian but based in Barcelona (Spain) since 2005.

Internationally recognized artist, has performed and given classes in different countries of Europe, Asia North Africa and the Middle East. Organizer of Tarabesque Festival Barcelona, former artistic director of La Compañia Sehar  and former co-director of Naarwamaya (dance company performing FlamenContempOriental fusion) in Barcelona.

Salima first encounter with oriental dance was in 1998 and it was love at first move. She learnt from Amira since then until 2005, and was also part of the dance company Banat Umm al -Ard, directed by Amira.

Salima started to teach oriental dance  in Budapest in 2001, later also started  her dance company, Sahirat.

Parallel with oriental dance, studying flamenco has been  also part of her routine since 1998. Salima´s first teacher was Katalin Inhof “La Kati”, and was also member of her dance company “La niña de la Caleta”, performing flamenco dance teacher pieces. Being part of different dance companies from her early years, Salima learnt how important consistency, resilience, discipline and being a team player is.

After moving to Barcelona in 2005, Salima continued to learn from several important teachers of the local flamenco scene, like Sara Barrero, Yolanda Cortés, Toni Moñiz and more. To get deeper in the authentic Egyptian style, Salima continues studying oriental dance  at several festivals in Egypt. At the same time she became more and more part of the oriental dance scene in Barcelona as a teacher, performer and organiser. In 2011 she started to organise Tarabesque Festival that had already 10 editions.

Salima´s repertoire has a wide range in styles of oriental dance and folclore,  her specialty is flamenco-oriental fusion, being one of the few oriental dancers who also has a strong background of flamenco. She has not stopped attending regular classes since she started. Salima enjoys being an eternal student in dance or any kind of movement that adds to body awareness. She is also  a certified Pilates instructor.

Salima is a charismatic and expressive as a performer, with creative  musicality in her choreographies. Investigating and respecting the traditional styles from the countries origin, she is also looking for new inspirations, experiments and evolution, considers herself a lifelong student.  To understand the lyrics better, she also studied Arabic for some years.

In her classes she puts emphasis on clean technique, body awareness, musicality  and  also encourages her students to  use their personal expression to give back the feeling of the music.

Betina Hocke

Betina started belly dancing in 2001. She has many years of teaching experience and has participated in many competitions with great results. Betina’s main purpose of dancing is a profound wish to evolve and never stop learning. She keeps challenging herself with different dance projects to maintain the feeling of passion from inside.

Schafer Katalin (Magyarország)

All of our instinctive, music driven movement is a guide to freedom.

After more than 20 years of teaching Middle Eastern and fusion dances, self-awareness training and parapsychology studies, I started teaching spiritual dance workshops in 2014.

Perceiving, accepting, moving the body in a new way can help you live your life story in a new way.

The possibilities of the healing and creative forces inherent in movement and body perception are limitless.

NATURE DANCE – holistic dance

classes are created for those are like to deepening self-awareness through nonverbal movement and art therapy exercises.

NATURE DANCE – dance mantras

were created for dancers with modern dance training and combinations appropriate to the actual topic in order to prepare our bodies for an individual and group, free dance experience intertwined with spiritual exercises.

Motion experimentation is reminiscent of the experiential world of the early stages of our lives.

From skin stimulation of subtle touches to stronger physical contact (soil, other people), by stimulating deep muscle and tendon receptors, experiencing different qualities of spatial perception, physical and emotional responsiveness develop simultaneously, along with body awareness and improvisation skills. .

“My mission is to teach you how to love yourself through your movements.”

/Katalin/