Belly Dance by ÂYA of Istanbul
Performance, Instruction, Choreography
Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, Aya is a professional Middle Eastern Style Belly Dancer, instructor, and choreographer living (mostly) in Atlanta, Georgia. She is known for her authentic style, elegant musical interpretation, magnetic stage presence, and an innate ability to connect with audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
Aya’s dance background includes Turkish folkdancing and lessons with Sema Yildiz, Birgul Beray, and Zehra Telli of Turkey. She has also studied in Egypt with Mahmoud Reda, Hasan Afifi, Farida Fahmy, Hasan Khalil, Aida Nour, Mohamed Kazafy, Nesrin, Nour, Farouk Mustafa, Khaled Mahmoud, Ahmed Fekry, and in the United States with Jillina, Elizabeth Artemis Mourat, Sahra Saida, Jasmin Jahal, Eva Cernik, Aziza (of Montreal), Ansuya, Hadia, Laurel Gray, and Habiba.
Aya's professional career started in 2002 under the direction of Schadia in the Nazeem Allayl Middle Eastern Dance Company. Since then, she has performed at numerous venues across the U.S. as well as in Turkey, has been featured on PBS, Eleven Alive News, Fox’s Good Morning Atlanta, ATL Scene, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, and Mundo Hispanico, and has been a popular instructor and choreographer. After starting a solo career in 2006, she has continued her frequent travels to Istanbul, which allows her to keep up with the latest dance trends and do research.
Aya’s authentic style and captivating stage presence has made her a favorite within Middle Eastern communities. A requested performer at weddings, anniversaries, galas, openings, cultural and educational events, wrap parties, restaurants and nightclubs, Aya always represents Middle Eastern Dance and Culture with dignity and pride. Her deep connection and commitment to the dance are apparent both on and off stage.
Aya teaches with the same love and skill she performs with. A knowledgeable and sought after instructor, she instills in students the historical background, cultural connections, meaningful expressions, and authentic movement that characterize this art form. Aya is also the founder and director of Ayaat, a student dance troupe which performs regularly in the Atlanta area.
When not performing or teaching, Aya speaks at cultural and educational events and attends question and answer sessions. She is also active in research with a special focus on "The Role of Social Dance in Middle Eastern Communities" and "The Image of the Professional Dancer in Turkish Society".