Middle Eastern Dancer, Instructor & Choreographer













About Marlena

Marlena is an American born and raised in a large family in Southern California and is the youngest child of six.  Her mother was artistically blessed and father was driven by a passion for music and who taught all his life.  Her father passed away at an early age, but left in her a passion for which Marlena has discovered in the art form of Raqs Sharki (aka Belly Dance.)


With five older siblings who loved popular British bands, Marlena was immersed in a constant flow of music and rhythm.  In school was where she experimented with instruments playing guitar and saxophone, trying to express the same love as her father.  Marlena took her first belly dance class in her community taught by the soulful dancer, Kahena.  From the very first class, she was in love with the rhythms of the Middle East and North Africa.  The music brought back wonderful memories of going to band practice with her father and playing on a drum much larger than her.

After taking several classes, Marlena was invited to join Banaat Al Qamar.   Marlena performed at the Long Beach Women’s Spirit Summer and Winter Solstice as well as the Laguna Beach Sawdust festival.  While studying with Kahena, Marlena learned how to express the music from her inner soul through movement of the body.  A few years later, and just one week after her mother passed away, Marlena dedicated her first solo dance to her mother, Virginia, performing a beautiful Hossam Ramzy piece at the Arabic club, the Luxor.

Marlena continued studying for the next several years with Fahtiem, a world renowned master teacher and dancer.  With Fahtiem she learned to be playful and entertaining while dancing.  Then, she studied with the internationally known and highly respected instructor and dancer, Angelika Nemeth.  It was with Angelika that she fell in love with Egyptian style Oriental dance.   Marlena has also been coached by and studied with the elegant Egyptian dancer, Lilla Varese in Orange County.

  Marlena has developed into a professional dancer and her opportunities have soared over the last several years.  She has been the house dancer at several Orange County restaurants such as Junka Mahal, Saffron Restaurant, Darya Kenar, as well as for special parties at the Maharaja.   She also performs at the Aladdin Jr. in Pomona, California.

Marlena feels blessed to have had the opportunity to study with so many wonderful master teachers and instructors in the Middle Eastern community.  She is thankful to each of them for sharing their knowledge, dedication and passion and for helping her to become a better dancer.  Marlena’s hope is to continue to teach and express the love she has for this exquisite and unique art form.