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Persephone Dance Company
Frequenty Asked Questions
The Troupe

THE TROUPE


Persephone Dance Company is:

Natalia Ronstadt Chang
Shawn Ryan
Casey Cleve
Inna Dagman
 

ShawnShawn Ryan
Shawn's foray into and passion for bellydance began in 2000 when she met tribal bellydance instructor Palika Benton. Shawn studied with Palika for 4 years and danced briefly with her troupe, Heavy Hips Tribal Belly dance. In 2002 Shawn co- founded the Santa Cruz based troupe Shivaya Tribal Bellydance along with Valli Barrios. Shivaya enjoyed a very successful 6-year run, performing an eclectic blend of ethnic folk-inspired dance, tribal fusion and ATS®/ITS bellydance. In 2005 troupe Shivaya met tribal bellydance instructor and FatChanceBellyDance® alumni Kathy Stahlman. An instant alliance was formed and  over the next 2 years, Shivaya began studying with Kathy and performing along with her troupe Tribal Moon. In 2008 Shawn joined Tribal Moon as a full-fledged troupe member. When Kathy Stahlman moved to Oregon in 2009, Shawn co-founded the dance collective, Persephone Dance Company, along with current members Natalia Ronstadt Chang, Casey, Stefanie Kelly.

Since discovering bellydance over a decade ago Shawn has also taken countless workshops and classes with some of the most notable Bay area and international instructors the art form has to offer and is a fiercely committed student of instructional videos. She has performed with her various troupes every year at Tribal Fest since 2003 and at the Cabrillo Festival since 2002. In addition to dancing with the troupes mentioned Shawn also performs as a soloist and in collaboration with other dance artists.

Shawn would like to thank her teachers Palika Benton, Kathy Stahlman, Janelle Rodriguez, Rachael Brice, Suhaila Salimpour, Carolena Nericcio and others too numerous to mention for the instruction and inspiration they have given her.



CaseyCasey Cleve
Casey first fell in love with tribal belly dance in 2000 when she saw her dear friends perform in Heavy Hips Tribal Belly Dance directed by Palika in Santa Cruz California. She was mesmerized by the costumes, and the dancers' power, grace, and technique, as well as the connection they had with one another. Shortly after, she took a 10 week dance class with Palika, but found that a Saturday morning belly dance class was difficult to attend after a late night of salsa dancing. She didn't start taking belly dance classes regularly until 6 years later, where she took beginning classes with Amy Luna in Berkeley California. She began her studies in ATS® in 2007 with Kathy Stahlman of Tribal Moon, San Jose Tribal Dance, and former member of FatChanceBellyDance®. Casey began performing with Tribal Moon in 2008.  In 2009 she commenced her studies at the Fat Chance Belly Dance® studio in San Francisco and became one of the founding troupe members of Persephone Dance Company.



InnaInna Dagman
Inna has danced her whole life but it wasn't until her first class at the legendary FatChanceBellyDance® studio that she found her home and deepest calling in the dance world. She has trained extensively at the ATS format at it's birth place in San Francisco, danced with the FatChanceBellyDance student troupe, "Blue Diamonds", and in 2013 completed her General Skills training from Carolena Nariccio-Bohlman. Inna's dance dreams manifestations exceeded any expectations when in March 2014 she was invited into Persephone Dance Company.

Inna is currently the teaching member of the collective. She teaches ATS levels 1&2 at Tannery World Dance in Santa Cruz CA, level 3 at a private studio in Felton, and directs her student troupe "Shekinah Tribal Belly Dance". She is also available for private and semi-private instruction in the Santa Cruz and South Bay Area of CA.

Inna is also a body-worker, healing artist, and ceremonialist, and that rich background informs her approach to teaching ATS; she pays special attention to creation of an intentional sacred atmosphere, helping her students enter a meditative and transformative state through dance. Her yoga and massage therapy background enable her to create a rigorous, yet body-and-energy informed approach to progressing safely in this mesmerizing art form.

 

Natalia

Natalia Ronstadt Chang
Natalia Ronstadt Chang has spent her life dancing, moving and performing through numerous art forms; including martial arts, over 15 years in interpretive and modern dance & most recently Improvisational and American Tribal Style® bellydance. Natalia found herself drawn to tribal bellydance for many reasons; the lush costuming was intoxicatingly beautiful, the magic of how the dancers moved as one was intriguing and mysterious. The freedom from shame over the roundness and curves of the female form, and the celebration of the beauty that is in all women, was life altering. Her foray into ITS began in 2006 with Kathy Stahlman, Director of Tribal Moon, San Jose Tribal Dance, and former member of FatChanceBellyDance®. Natalia began performing with Tribal Moon early in 2008. In 2009 she commenced her studies at the FatChanceBellyDance® studio in San Francisco and became one of the founding troupe members of Persephone Dance Company. Since discovering her passion for tribal bellydance, Natalia has enjoyed taking workshops and classes from various teachers and performed in venues too numerous to mention. Natalia is FatChanceBellyDance® certified in General Skills, Teacher Training 1 and Teacher Training 2.

Outside of dance, Natalia is a mother of two and an artist in various mediums including clothing and costume design, jewelry, fiber arts, voice, facilitation of ritual and rites of passage, body art and painting. She likes walking barefoot, getting dirty in the garden and extra dark chocolate.



 


 

 

Persephone Dance Company Alumni:

Ray Dowler
Stefanie Kelly
 


RayRay Dowler

Ray Dowler has over 25 years of percussion and drum experience and has studied and taken workshops with great teachers and players such as Armando Mafufo, Dror Sinai, Jeremiah Soto, Mary Ellen Donald, Tim Bollins, Raquy Danziger, Tobias Roberson and Issam Houshan ( Who advised Ray to start teaching! ) and has performed with a growing list of Artists and Dancers including, Armando Mafufo, Issam Houshan, Kathy Stahlman & Tribal Moon, Helene & The Sisters of the Desert Sky, Red Lotus, Shivaya, Janelle & Desert Dream, Marjhani, Michael Gruber, Kali Shakti, Devi Leela, Tatseena, FatChanceBellyDance® and Persephone Dance Company. For a listing of classes and workshops check the Drum Lessons page at masalaimports.com.



StefanieStefanie Kelly
Stefanie is FCBD® certified in General Skills, Teacher Training 1 and Teacher Training 2. Stefanie has danced her entire life with 25 years of classical ballet experience.  Her studies in ITS began in 2006 with Kathy Stahlman of Tribal Moon, San Jose Tribal Dance, and former member of FatChanceBellyDance®. Stefanie began performing with Tribal Moon early in 2008.  In 2009 she commenced her studies at the Fat Chance Belly Dance® studio in San Francisco and became one of the founding troupe members of Persephone Dance Company. In 2010 she became a member of FatChanceBellyDance®.