Hilal School


Suraya Hilal

Biography and information about Suraya.

Alessandro Bascioni

Biography and information about Alessandro.

Sarah Hamilton

(BA Dance, BAS Physiotherapy)

Sarah trained in contemporary dance at the Victorian College of the Arts, graduating with a teaching major in 1983, and has over 20 years’ teaching experience. Sarah’s initial training was in contemporary and classical western dance. In the 1980s she had the opportunity to learn Indian classical dance (Odissi) for a period, and she found this a stimulating and extending experience both technically and aesthetically.
Sarah was introduced to the work of Suraya Hilal in 1995 at the Adelaide International Workshop Festival. Since then she has focused on studying Hilal Dance and organising workshops and performances to establish Hilal Dance in Australia. She graduated from Hilal Dance School as a teacher in 2003. Sarah’s work in Hilal Dance includes performances at the Gallery of NSW & the National Art Gallery, performances & workshops at the Azeviche Percussion Festivals and the Steps in Time music festival.
In 2007 she set up the Mosaic Dance Company and has created and performed two full length pieces, Mizmar and Imago in 2008. She has performed with the Hilal Dance Company’s Oscillations and El Mizan in the UK and Germany 2008 and 2009 and in Sydney Australia in May 2009.
Sarah currently facilitates the training for Hilal Dance Professionals in Australia, gives workshops and continues her creative work in performance.



Thordis Carow

Thordis studied and graduated from the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. She performed as a flautist in chamber music ensembles in Germany and as a solo flautist in the Manila Symphony Orchestra and taught music ever since. Thordis has also been involved in social work for many years and specialized in group work and communication. She has trained children and young adults in music and body movement. In 1992 she became interested in Suraya Hilal’s work and went on to attend three summer school courses in England (1995/97). Thordis later joined the Professional course and graduated as a teacher in 2001. She now teaches classes and workshops on a regular basis, collaborating with two Associates in promoting Hilal Dance in the Munich area and organizing workshops. Thordis has also collaborated with Suraya and Alessandro in organizing the Hilal Dance Week for many years.


Elvira Hensler

Elvira has always had a passion for dance and movement and trained for many years in diverse disciplines. She began in her youth with Karate and over a span of ten years, she moved on to train in jazz dance, improvisational dance, contact improvisation and modern dance. Elvira then developed an interest in eastern dance forms, such as Indian Kathak and continued with Yoga and Qi Gong. Having been inspired by different types of world music, she attended courses in African rhythm and oriental dance. In 1997, Elvira then focused her training on Hilal Dance and joined the Professional course in 2001. Due to her talent, experience and dedication she graduated in 2004 from the Hilal Art Foundation as a teacher and dancer. Elvira has performed in various capacities in Hilal Dance in group choreographies and as a solo dancer. She has been teaching and performing in Konstanz ever since and continues to organise workshops for Suraya Hilal and to promote the dance.


Andrea Baumann

Andrea studied violin from early childhood and for over 10 years at the Conservatory in Karlsruhe and Freiburg. Completing her studies at the Academy of Visual Arts in Karlsruhe with a dissertation on the meaning of figure and space in the sacred art of the middle ages and the modern period. She became interest in dance through painting and started training in modern dance, aikido and dances of the East, particularly Iran and Egypt. She completed a teacher training for bodywork and eastern dance forms in Germany. Andrea started teaching dance in 1990, opening her own studio four years later. In 2000, Andrea attended the professional course, and graduated in 2004. In 2006 she joined the Iskandar Dance Company directed by Alessandro Bascioni and toured all over Europe in the main theatre including Sadler's Wells in London. with the production of El Saqiyeh. Andrea continues teaching successfully in her school.



Verena Lawrence

Verena, born in St. Moritz, Switzerland, first trained in Jazz dance as a young girl. Later in 1990, after moving to Stuttgart and discovering Egyptian dance, she began training with Suraya Hilal and Anne Ashcroft at the Summer School of Raqs Sharqi and attended the school annually. In 1993, she moved to England where she studied adult education for dance at Salisbury Arts College. Her activities in England were quite extensive, where she ran classes, workshops and performances in many places including the Larmer Tree Festival and Salisbury Arts Centre. Moving back to her native, Switzerland she began teaching classes and giving workshops, lectures and continues to do successfully.

Verena is a highly skilled and experienced communicator, teacher and dancer. She has been part of the Professional Hilal Dance Course since 2006 and has now graduated (2010) with the Hilal Dance Diploma from the Hilal Art Association. Her work in Switzerland continues successfully with teaching in St Moritz and Chur and the organisation of workshops in Switzerland for Suraya Hilal and Alessandro Bascioni and musicians.


Rachael Hilton

Rachael was born in Sydney, Australia and later moved to Canberra where she studied various dance forms from the age of 10. She was introduced to Suraya Hilal’s work in 1996 and began her training in Hilal Dance in 2002. Rachael has been teaching dance in Canberra for over a decade and during this time, has completed an advanced certificate in dance teaching through Creative Industries, Queensland University of Technology. Rachael took part in the Hilal Dance Professional Course in 2007 and now, in 2010 she has been awarded the Hilal Dance Diploma from the Hilal Art Association. Rachael continues to coordinate and participate in local events and organises workshops and performances for Alessandro Bascioni, Sarah Hamilton and Suraya Hilal. In addition to her Hilal Dance activities, Rachael actively supports the Canberra dance community as a board member for the Canberra Dance Theatre.

rachael@hilaldanceaustralia.com.au www.hilaldanceaustralia.com.au

Sabrina Siboni

Sabrina was born in Algeria, where her childhood was strongly influenced by Check Raymond’s Arab/Andalusia music. After the Algerian independence, she moved in France where she began to study painting and sculpture; then later, modern jazz dance, African dance, yoga and viet vo dao (Vietnamese karate). In 1986, she received her teaching degree in Education and began working in the schools. At the same time, she studied literature and diverse subjects such as theatre, cinema, mythology, and foreign literature which finally all crystallized into a master's degree. She then decided to train in special education for schoolchildren. This training gave her many personal developmental tools such as psychoanalytic theories, active relaxation (Martenot method), the Gestalt therapy, ethnology and interactive theatre of the Oppressed (Augusto Boal method). Her love for dance, music and art took her on many journeys across the deserts of Africa and the Middle East where she delved into her roots and place of birth. In 1994 by chance, she came upon Raqs Sharqi and began taking lessons in Paris. This lead her to the work of Suraya Hilal and in 1999, she decided to study Hilal Dance. Sabrina joined the Professional Course in 2006 and today she represents and teaches Hilal Dance in Paris through her association "Shams Dance." Sabrina in 2010 has graduated from the Hilal Art Association with the Diploma in Hilal Dance.


Alaitz Arregi Sudupe

Alaitz, was born and raised in a professional artistic family of traditional musicians from the Basque country. She studied History of Art and went on searching for a new avenue for her own creative expression by studying different dance forms, among them Flamenco and Indian dance. Thereafter, she moved to London to study Hilal Dance in 2001 and began training with Alessandro Bascioni. After three years, she joined the Iskandar Dance Company and went on tour with the productions of El Saqiyeh and the Awakening. Alaitz has been a pivotal figure in Alessandro’s creations and brings a rare talent and dedication to the work. Alaitz has been part the professional Course directed by Suraya Hilal and she is teaching regular classes in Granada.


Niki Constantinidou

Niki was born in Dusseldorf, Germany. She began to dance Ballet, Jazz and Contemporary Dance since the age of twelve, with teachers such as Alvin Mc Duffy, Bruce Taylor & Ralph Paul Haze from the Alvin Ailey Dance Company. From 1983 to 1986 she trained in a Ballet School in Dusseldorf which lead her to train in the Higher Education at the Rotterdam Dansacademie in the Netherlands where she graduated in 1991. There, she was awarded the dance teacher diploma in Contemporary, Jazz, and Tap dance. Niki has also worked as a dancer with different contemporary dance companies in Belgium and Holland from 1990 to 2003. From 1999 to 2002 she also studied Iyengar Yoga and received her teacher’s diploma as a Yoga teacher. In 2006 began to study Hilal Dance with Alessandro Bascioni and Suraya Hilal and was invited to attend the Professional Course in 2009. Niki, due to her many years of training and working in contemporary dance and considerable knowledge in the field of dance, she brings to her new vocation a great deal of experience and passion in dance. Niki is currently, working to expand Hilal Dance in Brussels by teaching weekly classes, giving and organising workshops and performances.


Susanne Eisenbarth

Susanne was born in Leutkirch, South Germany where her interests in art brought her to assist and work with a restorer (conservator) for wall painting in churches. She painted by herself and studied art from 1997 to 1999 at the Academy of Arts in Munich. She also studied yoga with Dr. Rocque Lobo and became a Marma yoga teacher in 2003. Meanwhile she took workshops in Hilal Dance with Suraya, Alessandro and regular classes with Thordis Carow in 2008 and she became a member of the Professional course of the Hilal Dance School. Susanne has been teaching Yoga and Hilal Dance since 2008 in weekly classes. Currently, she also works with young people in the context of a social project and teaches them different school subjects. Susanne lives and works in Munich.


Natalie Poole

BA Teaching, Grad Cert. in Dance Therapy. Natalie teaches weekly classes in Brunswick, Melbourne. She has danced since she was a young child in Ballet and Contemporary dance and showed a particular strength in national character dances including Spanish, Hungarian and Asian dances. Natalie also works as dance therapist and has taught dance in schools, TAFEs and University and at several Melbourne dance studios. She took part in the Professional Course in Milan in 2008 and is currently part of the Hilal Dance Professional training lead by Sarah Hamilton in Australia. Natalie's most recent Hilal Dance performance was for the guests of the International Dance Therapy Conference in Melbourne. Natalie teaches Hilal Dance classes in Melbourne.


Susie Carlino

Susie, born and raised in England, graduated with a degree in textile design in 1991. She set up her own “Creative Draping” Company and has been running it successfully ever since. In parallel to this, Susie began to train in Raqs Sharqi from the years 1996 to 1999. During this time she took part in various performances in festivals and in venues such as the Union Chapel and Jackson’s Lane Theatre in London. From 2000 onward, she began to devote her self to Hilal Dance by attending summer courses in Tanzhaus, Duesseldorf annually, with S. Hilal and A. Bascioni and training in regular classes and workshops in London. She has now been attending the Professional course since 2008. Susie has also begun to teach regular classes from January 2010 in Dunstable, Bedfordshire where she now lives.


Lamia Moulay

Lamia was born in Algiers, Algeria and since her teens, has had a great interest in her native culture of Music and Dance which lead her to courses in North African percussions and Middle Eastern Dance where she attended various workshops in Algiers. After graduating in Law, in 1987 from the «Faculté de Droit – Ben Aknoun in Algiers», she lived in Italy for some years then moved to London where she has been based since 1998. Lamia discovered Hilal Dance in 2004 and began studying in regular classes, workshops and the annual summer course, Hilal Dance Week. In 2009 she join the Professional Course.
She has combined her dance training and professional development with health and fitness courses in London which include the study of: anatomy, exercise to music. She has also developed an interest in eastern disciplines and has continued to attend Yoga and Body Balance classes and workshops and has recently joined the Yoga Foundation course. Lamia has recently begun teaching Hilal Dance classes in London while continuing her professional training.


Susana Papazajariou Lozano

Susana studied Romanic Philology at the University of Barcelona, and had also specialized in Modern Greek Language and Literature at the University of Athens and Crete. She also studied Public Relations.
Susana discovered dance through her own research in body language, which lead her to study the heritage of classical Greek dance and traditional Egyptian dance. In 1999, she began teaching oriental dance and worked as dancer and choreographer. Her interest and passion for dance took her into other disciplines such as Flamenco, Greek traditional dances, Kathak and Butoh. The study of the body also led her to study anatomy for dance, reflexology and to attend several seminars in Arabic percussion. Susana is also a member and coordinator of the International Dance Council (Unesco), organizing workshops in Greek Folk Dances. In 2005, Susana came across the work of Suraya Hilal and Alessandro Bascioni, and start travelling around Europe to train in their workshops and to understand the Hilal method. She then began to advertise and bring Hilal Dance to Barcelona by organizing workshops and events for them. Susana has joined the Professional course in April 2009 and is currently teaching in various schools including at the University of Barcelona. She has recently qualified as a Yoga teacher and gives yoga classes alongside Hilal Dance.


Marianthe Loucataris

Marianthe Loucataris is a multi instrumentalist, composer, percussionist and recording artist who specialises in creating live and recorded work for dance, theatre, film and multimedia works. Her dance training includes Egyptian Dance 1992-1994 with Helen Way, Kuchipudi (South Indian Classical) dance and rhythm-training, performing and composing music for Nikki Shephard (1994-1998); movement physical theatre 1988- 91. In 1999 Marianthe met Ibrahim el Minyawi and began to focus on learning rhythm and drumming, receiving an Ian Potter Foundation grant in 2001 to study with him in London. She has been training in Hilal Dance with Sarah Hamilton in Sydney and at yearly workshops with Suraya Hilal since 2005. Sarah Hamilton (choreographer/dancer) and Marianthe (musician/dancer) work together as Mozaic Dance Company and have created 2 programs, Mizmar (2007) and Imago (2008). In 2009 Marianthe performed drum, piano and piano accordian works live in a short season of Oscillations/Imago, performing with Suraya Hilal and Sarah Hamilton in Sydney. She became a professional in May 2009 and is currently working towards obtaining her Hilal Dance Diploma. She is currently teaching both the drum and dance in Wollongong Australia as well as developing her song work (Mahri Autumn) and instrumental works. She believes dance and music are vital cultural practices which maintain the health and well being of individuals and communities.


Melissa Lee

Born in Sydney, Melissa now lives and works in Canberra, Australia.
Melissa is a qualified Occupational Therapist (Bachelor of Applied Science, 1985) and has worked for many years in the area of mental health recovery.
Melissa has studied a variety of dance forms as well as the use of dance in therapy and has always been passionate about dance, both as an art form and a medium for creative expression. Melissa began Hilal Dance classes with Rachael Hilton in Canberra in 2003. Since this time, regular classes with Rachael have been complemented by workshops and training with Sarah Hamilton.
Melissa has been fortunate to attend many of the workshops offered by Suraya Hilal or Alessandro Bascioni in Australia since 2003 as well as attending Hilal Dance Week in Dusseldorf. Melissa was invited to join the Hilal Dance Professional Course in 2008. She is also assists Rachael in teaching in Canberra and is particularly interested in the expressive potential of Hilal Dance through choreography and improvisation.


Rita Huttenloher

Rita, was born in Munich Germany, where she study and graduate as a Gymnastics Teacher and a Sports Trainer at the Technical University in 1976.
In the same year up to 1988 she had train in Jazz and Modern dance. In 1992 she come across and studyed Raqs Sharqi since 1994 and began to train in Hilal Dance in 2003 up to now, by attending many Hilal Dance summer course (Tanzhaus, Dusseldorf). Rita has a long didactic experience and since 2005 she is part of the Professional course lead by Suraya Hilal. She is an Associate of the Hilal Art Association and currently teaches many classes in Iffeldorf and Penzberg near Munich.


Magdalena Persson

Born in the South of Sweden and now living in Malmo since 1995 she study Social Anthropology, Islamology, History of Religions of the world at the University of Lund.
Magdalena has a Master degree in Psychology. Her fascination for cultures of the world brought her to travel extensively through Israel/Palestine and Eastern & Southern Africa in the 90’, which lead her to explore music and dance of this part of the world. She also studied African dance, Tai Chi and started Oriental dance in 2002. In 2006 she attended the Hilal Dance Week summer course and from then on she dedicates her self to her training in this form. She joined the Professional Course in 2010 and is currently teaching classes in Malmo.


Martina Suess

Born in Czechoslovakia, Martina studied Art of History and Pedagogy of Art and received her Masters degree in Art. Martina also studied Ballet and Jazz dance as a child.
In 2000 she began her study Hilal Dance and joined the Professional Course in 2004. She is an Associate of the Hilal Art Association and leaves in Munich where she teaches regular classes since 2005.


Yvette Blum

Yvette was born in Konstanz, Germany from Moroccan and German parents. As a child she trained in ballet for eight years then went on as a young woman to study Jazz dance, Flamenco for four to five years and also trained in yoga. In 1995, she began to study Hilal Dance and took part in the professional courses from 1998 until 2003 attending twice a year. Yvette has been teaching Hilal Dance for over a decade. She continues to run classes, workshops and organise small group performances with her students successfully around the area of Lake Konstanz, in Villingen and Rottweil including Kreuzlingen and St. Gallen, Switzerland. Yvette is an Associate of the Hilal Art Association.


Pauline Blackwood

Born of Jamaican parents in London, Pauline first attended Egyptian Dance classes in London and was captivated by a performance of the Suraya Hilal Dance Company with the Musicians of the Nile at the Almeida Theatre in London in 1988. She continued to dance for many years attending classes in London and summer schools in Winchester, with the then Hilal Raqs Sharqi School. After a break to train as a Secondary School teacher, Pauline returned to dance and began Hilal Dance classes and workshops in 2004 with Alessandro Bascioni. Since training to become a professional member of the Foundation for Community Dance in 2009, she has taught Hilal Dance in London. She was invited to Hilal Dance professional training in 2012. She continues her dance, teaching within her local community whilst offering a learner centered approach to movement for her students.