Dans Aşkina ("Dahnz Ash-kih-nah", broadly translated to 'love of the dance') was formed in 2009 by our Artistic Director Amina Beres. Our mission is to authentically present Turkish Oryantal, Romani, and Folkloric dances to the public through performances and educational activities. We are part of Springboard for the Arts Incubator Program.
Reviews recognizing our ‘love of the dance’, ‘high energy performances’, and ‘a joy to watch’ inspire us to bring our best interpretations of Turkish dance to our audiences.
Our performance and educational activities include:
Our Dans Askina Logo is original artwork graciously donated to us by Minneapolis-based artist Mary Sandberg.
with fiscal sponsorship through Springboard for the Arts. Dans Askina project activities are made possible in part by a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (supported in part by an appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature and the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund)
If you would like to help support Dans Askina, we appreciate your consideration of a donation.
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Mahsati (Jennifer Cole) From the modern and jazz classes in her teens to dancing at the clubs, Mahsati discovered belly dance in the late ‘90’s through her local community education program. After an almost 10-year hiatus, she returned to bellydance classes in the fall of 2006 and hasn’t stopped since. Relatively new to performing, Mahsati enjoys continuing to learn the art of belly dance, as well as the history and the culture. She feels honored and privileged to have been a part of Dans Askina since October of 2010.
Kerime (Carlotta Posz) Co-Director and Choreographer. A founding member of Dans Askina, she has been involved in Middle Eastern Dance for over 30 years. Also one of the founders of Oasis Music Dance Ensemble, a MN Renaissance Festival favorite for several years, she continues to perform at venues across the Twin Cities. Her performances are infused with her love of music, which began with learning to play the piano at age 6 and continued through college where she earned a degree in music.
Meira (Wendy Famodu) has loved dancing and music since childhood, participating in band and choir throughout high school. Dance eluded her until 2006 when, after raising 6 children, she learned about Middle Eastern Dance through her local Community Education program. Since then she has attended classes through two different Community Education programs and has participated in as many performances as possible, thoroughly enjoying every moment. In 2012, Meira became an apprentice dancer, and she is very excited and happy to expand her dancing world as part of Dans Askina.
Marilyn (Marilyn Christianson) began dancing in college as a member of the University of Minnesota Dance Line, and since graduating has returned every year to dance in the homecoming parade and game. She began taking bellydance classes through community education in 2004 with Amina Beres, and fell in love with the music, the dance moves, zills, and the costumes. She has also taken classes and workshops with Mirah Ammal and Artemis Mourat. Marilyn has performed at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, in Banat el Kamar and Al Bahira haflas, and in the Eden Prairie International Festival. Marilyn was thrilled to become part of the Dans Askina family in 2011.
Ben Suleyman (Benjamin Lamb), Artistic Captain: Benjamin’s lifelong journey with Middle Eastern Dance began in San Francisco in the 1980s, studying Jamila Salimpour’s original tribal folkloric style with the incomparable John Compton and Katarina Burda. As a member of Aladdin’s Lords and Lasses, he performed on the California Renaissance Faire circuit before moving to Minnesota, continuing his dance studies with Margo Abdo O’Dell and Cassandra Shore. Benjamin has been a featured performer at Old Arizona Theater, Intermedia Arts, Como Park Pavilion, and Ren in the Glen. In addition to dance, Ben is an a cappella vocalist with One Voice Mixed Chorus, the largest LGBTA chorus in North America.
Robin (Robin Kaehler) has always enjoyed dancing, but did not have any formal training until finding a community education belly dance class in 2007. Initially studying Egyptian-style dance, she has performed locally with several community education programs. After beginning a Turkish-style dance class with Amina Beres in 2013, Robin became intrigued by the rhythms, costumes and how much fun this style of dance was. Robin is honored and excited to be learning from and performing with Dans Aşkina!
Alexandra (Alexandra Howes) began her dance journey when she fell in love with theatre. As part of her curriculum, she studied various dance styles including ballet, jazz, modern, and belly dance. She moved to Japan after graduating, returning to the states in 2009 when she began to study Middle Eastern dance in earnest. Much of her dance training is through the Banat al Kamar program; she also has taken classes with the instructors at the Cassandra School. After taking a dance workshop with Artemis Mourat, she fell in love with the Turkish and Romani dance styles and continued her Turkish dance studies with Amina Beres from 2011-2014. After a brief hiatus from dance, during which she served on Dans Aşkına’s Artistic Board, she returned to dancing in 2017 and to Dans Aşkına in 2018. Alexandra looks forward to sharing her love of this dance with others.
Anthea (Laura Powell Imholte) has been dancing since 2010, performing with Sisters of the Sahara and with Afsana. She teaches “Belly Dance for Every Body” at G365 Fitness in Coon Rapids, and leads an informal group, Muse, comprised of students from her class and local dancers. Her goal for the class and Muse is to introduce as many people to belly dancing as possible. Anthea joined Dans Aşkına in 2018.
Nahila (Nancy Holden) began her journey with dance in 2001, studying a variety of Middle Eastern dance styles through Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, and Hopkins Community Education classes. Nahila is excited to expand her appreciation of Turkish dances with Dans Aşkina and to share her love of the music, dance, and culture by encouraging others to participate.