Vikki - Director
Vikki Gale has been a professional tribal style belly dancer since 2000. She is drawn to tribal style because she enjoys the spontaneity of the dance along with the camaraderie that is shared between dancers. She is currently co-director of Hipnosis, director of Persephone Rising and Daughters of the Hip, owner of Tribal Bellies Dance Studio where she teaches improv tribal and tribal fusion classes, and can be seen dancing regularly at Samarkand Restaurant in Feasterville, PA. She has played a major role in the growth of tribal style belly dance in the area, and is pleased to be able to share her passion for this dance with others.
Dawn has enjoyed dancing since she was a young girl, beginning with ballet then moving on to jazz and aerobic classes.
In an effort to find low impact exercise and wanting to reconnect with the dance community, she began belly dance classes in 2008 at Dancers Oasis instructed by Suffiyah. There she studied American Cabaret Belly dance which incorporated a strong Turkish base. She joined Dancers Oasis Performance Group in 2009, this provided opportunity and experience performing at renaissance fairs, restaurants and other related venues.
She has also explored other styles of dance which include Egyptian, Bollywood, Bhangra, Debka and Romanistica dancing.
Her exposure during belly dance events created curiosity and a desire to move on to improvisational tribal style belly dance. In 2012 she continued her dance journey and joined Tribal Bellies Studio with teacher Vikki Gale. Here she found a wonderful teacher, sisterhood of dancers, positive influence, sharing of dance technique and knowledge, and loves the “lead and follow” aspect of improv tribal dancing. Dawn is currently a member of Daughters of the Hip and Persephone Rising.
She enjoys designing and sewing belly dance costumes, gardening, reading and exploring nature.
Photo by Bryan Wlodarczyk.
In the beginning of 2010, Donna walked into the Tribal Bellies studio with absolutely no idea what to expect and discovered ITS. It is with much delight that she has since then participated in this style of dance and the act of communal creativity that it entails. Along with the enjoyment of spontaneous group improv, Donna has also developed a distinct fondness for Tribal Fusion; she finds the broad range of music and movement encompassed in the dance form to be inspirational for generating choreography and exploring creative self-expression. When not dancing barefoot, Donna can be found making mandalas, taking photos, or creating collages out of random objects.
Jenn has been dancing since she was a young child, starting with ballet, tap, and jazz. She discovered belly dance and began taking classes in Raqs Sharqi in 2010. After sticking with that for almost two years, she moved on to Tribal Bellies Studio to study with Vikki Gale. Vikki can attribute a few extra grey hairs to Jenn’s presence in the studio. She is currently a teacher assistant at the studio and is a member of Daughters of the Hip as well as a founding member of Persephone Rising. Her primary focus is on ITS, with a nod to the older versions of tribal style belly dance. Jenn is a former veterinary technician. She currently teaches belly dance to senior citizens in an adult care facility. She also teaches beginner ballet, preschool gymnastics, and children’s fitness in her community.
David Bowie Rules!
Photo by Bryan Wlodarcczyk.
In 2001 Jess was looking for a new activity to take up, and as luck would have it, a flyer for the local adult evening school arrived in the mail. American Cabaret Bellydance was one of the advertised classes, and it seemed like the perfect thing. After the first class – the music, the costumes, the fun new way of moving – she was hooked! Bellydance quickly became a beloved passion, not only as an outlet for dance creativity, but also for costuming and crafts. As she expanded her studies with other dancers in the Philadelphia area, Jess discovered Tribal Bellydance, and knew that she had found her true passion. Jess soon joined Philadelphia Tribal Bellydance, and enjoyed taking workshops from national teachers and founders of Tribal style such as Paulette of Gypsy Caravan and Caroleena of Fat Chance Belly Dance.
In 2003 Jess co-founded the troupe Hipnosis with Vikki Gale and Maeve Doyle – their aim was to grow Tribal style in the Philadelphia region, so they could have more people to enjoy dancing with. Their passion for tribal bellydance, engaging performances and regular events to bring in national teachers, helped to grow tribal style in the area and drew many women to Tribalbellies Studio.
Jess took a few years off from Tribal to explore other dance forms, including hoop dance. But her true passion remains Tribal Bellydance and the ITS style of Tribalbellies Studio. And for the past few years Jess has been back in the studio, enjoying the energy, camaraderie, and beauty that is dancing with her tribal sisters.
When she is not at the studio, Jess enjoys sewing up a storm making tribal bellydance costumes, gardening, reading sci-fi and fantasy, and home automation. Jess works professionally as a software sales engineer.
Katie Montella is tribal fusion belly dancer. She currently studies with Vikki Gale of Tribal Bellies Studios and Datura Online, and is the founder of Shimmy Support. Katie has been belly dancing since 2010 studying a variety of belly dance styles, but mostly is a tribal fusion and ITS belly dancer. She started belly dance while at Penn State, and became President of the Penn State Belly Dance Club. She has also studied with Diana Shahein, Haifa, and Pam Ames joining both Haifa and Pam’s student troupes. In addition she has studied with an array of professional belly dancers: Anasma, Aneena, Elisheva, Leila Haddad, Irina Akulenko, Sera Solstice, Suhaila Salimpour, Kami Liddle, Zoe Jakes, April Rose, and several others. Currently she lives in West Virginia and is a member of Persephone Rising.
From a young age, Melissa could always be found dancing or tumbling. A competitive gymnast and cheerleader, she had a solid foundation in movement and body awareness. She loved to perform and was involved in music and drama for as long as she could remember. It was almost as if tribal bellydance found her at the exact moment in her life that she needed it most and she has never looked back.
In 2009, Melissa, with her husband and friends, went out to eat on a Friday night at a Moroccan restaurant. It was there that a tribal belly dancer came out among the tables to perform. Melissa’s jaw dropped. She had never seen anything like it and was absolutely mesmerized. Her friend across the table said, “That’s my teacher, Vikki”. Melissa replied, “Teacher of what?” It was then that she learned that Vikki was a tribal belly dance teacher and that you could sign up to take classes. Melissa came to her first class that same week and instantly fell in love with everything. Melissa has been an active member of the studio ever since and can’t imagine her life without Tribal Bellies.
Melissa enjoys traveling and performing. She has been to countless belly dance festivals including Tribal Fest 14 in Sebastapol, California, Art of the Belly in Ocean City, MD, Cues and Tattoos in Seattle, WA, and Tribal Momentum in Montreal, Canada. She continues to study the art of belly dance and enjoys taking workshops whenever she can. When not dancing, Melissa enjoys arts and crafts of all kinds. Her latest interests include henna art, jewelry making, and crochet.
She lives with her loving husband, Bryan and her pitbull puppy, Nya.