Serpentina began in 2005 with as a tribal fusion duet in New York City with partners Joanne and Orkideh. When Orkideh emigrated to Canada in 2007, they parted ways amicably and she planned to create a troupe in Toronto.
The Serpentina North Ensemble is primarily a group improv troupe. They have a foundation in Fat Chance style ATS, but also incorporate ITS from Gypsy Caravan, kathak stylings, classical Persian, cabaret, and other dance forms that inspire them.
They frequently perform in Kensington Market during Pedestrian Sunday, but have also been a part of TedX at YorkU, the International Stage at the CNE, Funkasia at Pride, The Serpents’s Muse at Cues & Tattoos, and several editions of Mirage and Inversion.
The current members of the Serpentina North Ensemble are dancers Elana, Sandy, and Kelly.
In September 2017, Snake Bite, the student troupe of Serpentina North, made their debut performance. Snake Bite continues to grow and train in fusion group improv.
Orkideh is the director of the Serpentina North Ensemble. Bellydance has proven to be an integral part of her life and she continues to train every day. She began studying American Cabaret bellydance in 2000 with Safiya in New York City. Several years into her training, she discovered tribal style and was instantly smitten. While living in New York, she also studied regularly with Anahid Sofian, Sarah Locke and Susan Frankovich, as well as kathak with Najma Ayshah.
She is inspired by integrating other dance styles (particularly classical Indian) and seeks to continue growing as a performer, teacher, and choreographer. Orkideh continues her kathak studies in Toronto with Joanna De Souza, and takes workshops or private lessons when she can, particularly with Rachel Brice, Zoe Jakes, Ariellah Aflalo, Paulette Rees-Denis and Dalia Carella. Orkideh also augments her dance with yoga, pilates, and weight lifting, a discipline she has grown to love.
Bellydance gave her a positive body image and confidence in expressing herself; group improv gave her community and camaraderie. She is inspired and excited by the community in Toronto and wants to share her enthusiasm for the art form. Orkideh became a certified ATS® teacher by Carolena Nericcio of Fat Chance Bellydance in October 2009. She is also Stott Pilates trained and is pursuing her certification.
Kelly began performing in local musical theatre productions at the age of eight, but only began intensive dance training as an adult. Always active in choirs and theatre, Kelly was accepted to study at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. Well versed in jazz/contemporary, tap, ballet and ballroom styles, along with singing, acting and stagecraft, Kelly travelled to California and Montreal to work on multiple projects before returning to Toronto.
Since discovering belly dance in 2010, Kelly has been training Egyptian Cabaret and Fusion style with various studios in the GTA. Always looking for new opportunities, her interest in ATS® was piqued by the strong physical form and improvisational aspect within the tribal group structure. Kelly is excited to work and perform with Serpentina North.
Elana experienced her first bellydance class at a fitness centre and immediately fell in love with the art form. She started training in traditional bellydance with Roula Said and performed with the Om Laila student troupe before joining Serpentina North Ensemble. She enjoys exploring various styles of bellydance, and finds that each teacher provides a new perspective and fresh inspiration. It was through Hadia’s Instructor Training course that Elana discovered her love of anatomy and was inspired to study the art and science of human movement and rehabilitation.
Elana is drawn to the powerful group dynamic of tribal improv and the creative expression of tribal fusion. She seeks to continually evolve as a dancer and performer, and is honoured to share the stage with the members of Serpentina North Ensemble.