Khalisah’s love of dance has always been tightly intertwined with her love of music. For her, dance is a way to become part of the music, by making it visible with the body.
Her first foray in music began with her begging her parents for a piano. She studied piano, various melodic instruments, and voice throughout her childhood. She spent her time playing in bands and chamber groups, and as a soloist. Then put those away in favor of a burgeoning interest in dance and the visual arts.
In college, she deepened her involvement in dance, studying ballet, modern and jazz. While she loved these dance styles, she felt like they were not friendly to her body type, so she put those away along with her other childhood interests. After college, her visual arts activities fizzled, as well, as she thought being an adult meant that she should stop engaging in artistic activities.
Years passed, and Khalisah didn’t dance, play music or create art. Then she happened upon a bellydancer at her sister’s wedding reception. That moment was a catalyst, as she came to a realization there was nothing childish about her need for artistic expression and that she wanted to try bellydance. She started learning that very month.
As her interest and experience in bellydance grew over the last 15 years of study, Khalisah has studied dance with a large number of teachers across a variety of bellydance disciplines. She values ongoing learning, and continues to set stretch goals in learning dance from a broad variety of sources, across many cultures. She has studied with master teachers in many formats, from Journey Through Egypt (immersive classes in the ethnology of the dances of Egypt) to intensives from master teachers.
As a teacher, Khalisah loves helping students experience body acceptance and empowerment through bellydance. She teaches workshops and coaches students privately in musicality, artistry, and dance technique.
As a professional belly dance performer, Khalisah has performed at a wide variety of events: weddings, parties, restaurants, festivals, and local exhibitions. She is deeply committed to partnering with musicians to perform to live music, and dances with several bands in Columbus.
As a founding member and creative director of The Hip Art Collective, she collaborates with troupe members to create dances and performances. In addition, the team works independently and in collaboration with other organizations to build events for the community, including Shimmies for Kitties, HAC Presents, Belly Laughs, and ZAKA Bellydance Music Festival. You can find Khalisah and the rest of The Hip Art Collective performing all around Ohio and surrounding states.
In a full circle, Khalisah has also started studying and performing music again. She is learning to play doumbek and to deepen her skill and expertise in playing finger cymbals as a musical instrument. Stay tuned as Khalisah continues to explore and experience the world as a dancer, choreographer, teacher, student, musician, event promoter, and human being.