Mariyah is a bellydancer, choreographer and instructor. Distinguished by her graceful and evocative dance style, she is highly regarded as a leading dance artist in NYC. The performance of bellydance with live music is one of her primary passions and has been an inspiration throughout her career. As an instructor, Mariyah encourages students to work deeply within the body both physically and energetically to find a uniquely expressive physicality. In addition to her dedication to traditional dance styles, Mariyah is a theatrical artist drawing on a variety of movement forms, the depth and diversity of bellydance, and her passion for myth, mysticism and poetry to create dances which evoke archetypal figures and a journey of the spirit. She develops her art through continuing study, travel, her work with respected theatrical and traditional dance ensembles, and new creative dance theater projects and workshop topics. Her performances have been described as “innovative and inspiring”, “timeless”, “passionate” and “bringing true meaning to the art form”. Mariyah’s professionalism, skill, and graceful, engaging presence have made her a highly sought after entertainer, solo artist, and company member.
“It is always such an amazing experience to see you dance. As I’ve told you, you are breath-taking…. I feel when I watch you dance I am witnessing the sacredness of this dance…something so real and true.”- Athena Najat
In 2007 Mariyah placed first in the “Queen of Raks Sharki” competition, a yearly event judged by Egyptian dance masters Dr. Mo Geddawi and Randa Kamel. Since 2002 Mariyah has been a member of the Dalia Carella Dance Collective, a contemporary, world fusion dance-theater company directed by world-renowned dancer and choreographer Dalia Carella. She has performed in the Collective’s Broadway and off Broadway stage productions of “Transparancy” (’02), “In Search of a Goddess” (’04), “Cabaret Macabre” (’06), and was a featured soloist in the company’s 10 year retrospective at Dance New Amsterdam theater in 2011.
Since 2008 she had danced with Zikrayat, NYC’s premier Arabic music and dance ensemble Zikrayat and has worked as the group’s dance director and choreographer since 2010. She has performed with the ensemble at numerous cultural and theater events, including the prestigious Lincoln Center Out of Doors festival in New York, NY. In 2011, Mariyah was a featured guest artist with NYC’s highly regarded Bellyqueen dance company. In 2012 she co-founded ““Entelechy Dance“” with her dance partner, renowned NYC bellydancer Layla Isis. This new dance theater project that aims to incorporate bellydance to create dances that express the element of spirit, psyche, myth and mystery, and conscious evolution. Additional professional highlights include performances for the United Nations and elite cultural and celebrity events.
As an instructor Mariyah has been contracted to teach specialty workshops across the USA and in Japan. She teaches ongoing beginner and intermediate classes in Brooklyn, NY, and offers private instruction and coaching for intermediate to advanced dancers. In 2007, she collaborated with acclaimed dance fusion artist Darshan, to create the DVD “Chakra Dance Flow” a program incorporating yoga, bellydance and movement meditation. In 2012 she co-created the instructional DVD, “Belly Dance Drum Solo: Concepts for Dancers and Drummers” in collaboration with master percussionist Faisal Zedan and Dhavir Productions
“I think everyone should know Mariyah. She is truely one of the best examples of the art of Oriental Dance in the U.S.A.”- Tarik Sultan
Mariyah’s first mentor in Oriental dance was legendary New York bellydancer and instructor Serena Willson. Mariyah’s love of the dance and its varied styles led her to study extensively with such masters as Shoshana of New York, Elena Lentini, and Dalia Carella. Mariyah also travels regularly to attend workshops and receive private instruction with the great dancers of Egypt and Turkey. Mariyah’s varied dance background also includes Modern dance, Ballroom, Swing/Lindy Hop, and Salsa.
Mariyah holds a BA from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study where she majored in Religious Studies and Studio Art and presented her final colloquium on creativity and spirituality, exploring the spiritual influence in the creative process. Mariyah has also been a student of yoga since 1995 and has trained as an instructor through the Himalayan Institute.