Emalee is an award winning belly dancer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is a featured dancer at multiple Twin Cities restaurants and travels throughout the Midwest for workshops and performances. Emalee has traveled internationally to expand her knowledge of belly dance and refine her technique under the direction of world famous dancers Jillina, Virginia, and Bozenka. She is the director of her troupe Bellydonna, and a principal dancer in the Blue Lotus Dance Company in Rochester MN. Emalee also teaches weekly belly dance classes.
Emalee took ballet, tap, and jazz as a child but didn’t find her passion for dance until she began belly dance classes in her hometown of Duluth, MN in 2003. After moving to Minneapolis and progressing to the instruction of Julianna in Rochester, Emalee found an artistic director with the creativity and professionalism she was looking for and joined the Blue Lotus Dancers in the summer of 2005. With the Blue Lotus, Emalee has been an integral part of over a dozen dinner and theatrical belly dance shows in Rochester, MN and Minneapolis, MN, along with seasonal Blue Lotus Cabaret shows and countless workshop performances.
In addition to her involvement with the Blue Lotus, Emalee dances at numerous restaurants and clubs in the Minneapolis/St Paul Area, including Ansari’s Grill and Lounge in Eagan, Beirut Lebanese Restaurant in St. Paul, and the Mediterranean Cruise Cafe in Burnsville. Her teaching schedule changes seasonally, but she regularly teaches weekly belly dance classes through Edina Community Education and in Crystal, MN.
In 2005 Emalee competed with her sister Marya in the Belly Dancer of the Universe competition in Long Beach, California. They took home trophies for first runner up in the Duo/Trio category and in Congeniality. Emalee has performed at Arab World Fest in Milwaukee, WI with the Blue Lotus in 2005, 2012, and 2014, and has a guest dancer with local Minneapolis dancer troupe Al Bahira in 2010. In addition, Emalee has traveled throughout the United States and has performed in Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, and California for belly dance events.
As part of Emalee’s dance travels, she has been privileged through the years to study with some of the world’s most admired dancers. In 2009 and 2010 Emalee was chosen to partake in Jillina’s Weeklong Intensive workshops in Los Angeles, California and to be a part of the performance DVD filmed during the 2009 show titled “Al Dunia.” Another major journey took Emalee to Crete, Greece, to partake in Bozenka’s first Dance Lab Retreat in 2012. In 2014 Emalee auditioned to be part of Bellydance Evolution’s East Coast tour and was selected to perform in the traveling show “Alice in Wonderland” with some of today’s top dancers from around the world.
At the core of Emalee’s belly dancing is her dance partner Marya. As part of the ShimmyTwins, Emalee feels that the natural connection with her twin sister allows them to perform a dynamic and unparalleled performance. After years of performing together, Marya moved across the country to Atlanta, GA. Despite the distance, Emalee and Marya always deliver a precise and exciting show when together and have helped expand each other’s horizons in the performing arts.