Belly Dancing by Tasha

  Tasha was the  featured Belly Dancer at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City from 1990 to 1992, performing for tens of thousands of impressed Casino visitors. 

    Tasha has authored and designed the Instructional Series,  "Let's Belly Dance", produced and distributed by Cablevision of Monmouth.

    Tasha teaches belly dance to adults, continuing the tradition for future generations.


About Tasha

   Half way through college I experienced an identity crisis and joined the army.  Through a series of fortunate mishaps, I ended up stationed in Frankfurt at the 97th General Hospital.  There was a small club on a nearby Air Force base called the Jaegerstube.
    One Wednesday night in early 1979, as I enjoyed dinner, there suddenly was a beautiful girl in a silver costume who belly danced through the room.
    I don’t remember a thing that she did, just that I wanted to dance like that.  I found an ad for a class and signed up right away.
    My first teacher was terrible!  She only taught for the money (which was incredibly meager), and when I went to see her perform, she was not engaging.
    I kept going back to the club until I saw Marta Ingles perform. I approached her in the dressing room and begged to take classes with her.  She was gorgeous, delightful, and enthused to have such an avid student.  She freely shared her knowledge with me, and after three months of classes, and just weeks before I was to leave Germany, she lent me her skirt, and I did my debut performance at the Jaegerstube.
    I had choreographed every beat of the music, and never considered that I would have to enter and make my way up to the stage.  Thus was I introduced to the concept of improvisation-- rather unexpectedly!  
    It was to become my strength.
    When I got back from Germany, I lived on Staten Island and found a teacher there.  Another terrible teacher!  I went anyway, there was no internet back in those dark ages.  One class featured a guest performer from Brooklyn.  She was terrific!  I took her card and called her, but she wasn’t teaching.  However, she referred me to her instructor, truly an icon of our dance, Serena Wilson.
    Over the next ten years, I went to New York at every opportunity and learned everything I could from Serena.  The highlights of this period were seminars which catapulted my growth as a dancer.  I had the opportunity to perform at Lincoln Center, the Hyatt in Cairo, Egypt, Club Ibis and Club Darvish in New York.  I also traveled to Egypt with Serena, a must for every belly dancer.
    I left Staten Island, moved to my native Monmouth County, NJ where I returned to college to finish my degree.  I was waiting tables for a living, but decided to start my own belly gram business.  By the time I graduated, I had a full time business going that I loved.  Most of my work was local at first:  fiftieth birthday parties, retirements, nursing homes.
    I attended a seminar with Elena Lentini, another New York icon, and this changed my life and the direction of my dance.  Elena’s innovative style pushed the boundaries of the dance, as well as my comfort zones.
    My performing life grew to include cruise ships, Greek night clubs, resorts in the Poconos and Catskills, and TV appearances.  I produced an audio tape and book series with Parade Records called “Let’s Belly Dance!”.  I also produced my own instructional cable TV show.
    In 1990, I auditioned at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, and spent two years performing with the Taj Players, entertaining casino guests and headlining at special events.
    The Taj Mahal provided something even more profound in my life, which changed its direction forever.  I met my husband, R. J. Lewis, who was stilt-walking and doing magic shows with the Players.  As our lives grew together, I began transitioning into teaching the dance, and found a fulfillment I never expected.
    I can’t even begin to describe the satisfaction teaching gives me.  Every time I see a student succeed at something they struggled with, I feel incredibly purposeful.  I will continue to produce shows with performance opportunities for students, and I delight at being a part of what they accomplish.

    Kim was the first student I ever had that came to me with a comprehensive dance background.  She is one of only three people I’ve ever known who could put on finger cymbals and just play them (took me two years of struggle).  Once she started, she took off at light speed.  She owns The Drum and Dance Learning Center in Lawrenceville, NJ, where she offers multicultural dance instruction at the highest level.  I feel that starting Kim in belly dance was the best thing I’ve ever done for the dance.  I encourage you to read what she wrote about me on her website under “influences and inspiration”.  Kim has found her niche in the dance through her studies with Suhaila Salimpour, who has inspired a whole generation of new belly dancers.

  Tasha began Middle Eastern Dance training at Serena's School of Near Eastern Dance, and she has continued studying with Elena in both New York and Cairo, Egypt.

    To name a few of her numerous appearances, she has performed for standing room crowds at The Darvish, Club Ibis, Fazils, The Lafayette Grill, and Cafe Le Figaro in New York City and The Middle East Restaurant in Philadelphia. No stranger to international travel, Tasha has appeared at the El Salaam Hyatt in Cairo, Egypt, and at the Jaegerstube in Wiesbaden, Germany. 

My Story