Oasis: 1983-1989

Oasis was formed in 1983 by Rob Pearson (oud), Jim Greeney (doumbek), and Carl Posz (bass guitar). The original dancers were Cindy Kissee (Cynthia), Heidi Pearson (original dance name Halima, later Khandani) and Carlotta Posz (Karima). Many thanks to Carlotta and Carl Posz for their generous input to this article.

Oasis performed at various Twin Cities venues and festivals, Minnesota Renaissance Festival, Guild of Oriental Dance shows, and such special events as the Special Olympics. The band recorded several cassettes and was known regionally for their musicianship.

The Oasis troupe dance style was traditional, with the movements being less rigid and structured than today’s belly dancers. Their performances included group choreography, duets, and solo work. Each dancer would contribute to the choreography as well as showcasing their own unique dance specialties in solos. These solos would vary, incorporating drum solos, sword, veil, cane and performing with snakes of various sizes.

Oasis was a main attraction on the Gypsy Stage at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival from 1985 to 1989. For the 1985 season, The Oasis Dancers were Devorah, Heidi (Halima/Khandani), and Carlotta (Karima), with Cassandra Shore and Margo Abdo O’Dell as guest artists. Also in 1985, the band expanded to include Michael Sullivan (riq/tambourine) and David Stenshoel (violin).

For the 1986 Renaissance Festival the band added Nas Fellah on vocals, and Christina Ouma (Shadia) joined Devorah and Karima as a dancer. For the 1987 Renaissance Festival Devorah and Karima performed duets, with dancer Rana Haugan performing a gypsy style dance with a snake. By 1989, the founding members of Oasis band decided to part ways, and Oasis band went on to become Electric Arab Orchestra.

Where are they now?

  • Cynthia Kissee went on to co-found the local Tribal Group Improvisation dance troupe Totally Northern Tribal and the musical group Felahi with her husband Charlie Obert.
  • Devorah is a successful bellydance teacher and performer in Barcelona, Spain.
  • Halima/Khandani performed with Jawaahir Dance Company for several years before moving to Colorado, where she still teaches bellydance.
  • Karima is an Account and Office Manager for a Minneapolis firm.
  • Shadia still performs in local festivals, both as a soloist and with Raks Bedawia.
  • Carl Posz is a Quality Assurance manager in the computer software industry.
  • Rob Pearson owns a building/construction company.
  • Jim Greeney moved to the Chicago area.
  • Michael Sullivan is employed in the genetic research industry.
  • David Shenshoel continued a successful musical career with local bands Electric Arab Orchestra and Boiled in Lead and still performs with local ensembles.