It all started back in 1997 when Katy took her first belly dance class at
Habeeba's. She had been dancing since 3, but was
looking for a new style. As soon as she saw Azha dance (her first teacher and now dear friend) Katy knew
belly dancing was going to be it. Katy was completely mesmerized by Azha's grace and athletic
abilities...plus Azha had a sword on her head while doing all these beautiful, hard moves!|
Katy became a dedicated student and started teaching belly dance at Habeeba's. She also
began performing with the studio's troupe (she is still an active member today under direction of
Nataj, owner of Habeeba's).
Then one night at a belly dance show in Cincinnati, Katy saw a phenomenal troupe from Lexington KY,
Mecca's Rakadu Gypsy Dance. They were called a "tribal belly dance" troupe
because they fused traditional belly dance moves with other dance forms and non-traditional belly dance music.
Katy fell in love with the style and began driving to Lexington on a weekly basis to take 2-3 hours of classes/private
lessons with the director/teacher of Rakadu, Teresa Tomb (another dear friend..thank you Teresa!)
Eventually, other dancers in Cincinnati became interested in tribal belly dancing and Katy began teaching
private lessons in basements and held small, informal classes.
In early 2001, Katy had enough private students that she considered starting formal classes, but didn't have
a location. She collaborated with Joe Harmon and Mike Hall, fellow martial artists (did you know that Katy
does martial arts?), about starting a martial arts/belly dance studio.
In October 2001, the Blue Ash Shaolin Do/Belly Dance studio opened on Luschek Drive in Blue Ash.
The dance classes quickly grew and the dancers put on their first official performance as "Anaya Gypsy Dance"
at the Taste of Cincinnati in May 2002.
In 2003, the studio moved to its current, more spacious location on Reed Hartman Highway and the school
continues to grow!
Katy and Joe still run the school together and love every moment of it. Thank you to
everyone who was part of the journey to create the school and Katy and Joe look forward to many more
years of this incredible place.