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BIOGRAPHY

TERPSICHOREANS:

In Greek mythology, Terpsichore "delight of dancing" was one of the nine Muses, ruling over dance and the dramatic chorus. She lends her name to the word "terpsichorean" which means "of or relating to dance". She is usually depicted sitting down, holding a lyre, accompanying the dancers' choirs with her music. Her name comes from the Greek words τέρπω "delight" and χoρός "dance".

HELENA VLAHOS is well known for her classical belly dance style as well as her "Nine Quarter and Dollar Bill Act". She is in the Guinness Book of World Records for "Unique Abdominal Dexterity".

Helena started her career in 1964 in Los Angeles, California where she performed in the local Greek and Middle Eastern night clubs. She moved to Houston, Texas in 1971 where she was invited to perform at the Bacchanal Greek Restaurant. Helena opened and operated two belly dance schools in Houston and Austin, Texas.

In 1978 Helena moved back to Los Angeles and was invited to perform her unique quarter act on television shows such as "AM Los Angeles", "That's Incredible", "Spectacular World of Guinness Records" and many more.

Helena is a sought after performer and workshop instructor and travels extensively but still finds time to perform and teach locally as well. Catch Helena's show at the Bacchanal Greek restaurant in Phoenix.

Helena is on the Executive Panel of Judges for the Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition held every February in Long Beach California.

In January 2006 Helena was featured as the "Diva of Dance" in the "Studio" A Quarterly Journal of Folk & International Music & Dance. She was also featured In the Summer 2008 edition of "Belly Dance a Raqs Sharqi Magazine"

Helena is featured in the DVD "American Belly Dance Legends".

MORGIANA'S first work was performing for Western Sing-a-Gram in 1977, which she continued to do occasionally until 1980. Soon, her increasingly polished skills landed her regular engagements at the Valley's finest, most famous venues, including her club debut at the Phoenix 7th St. hotspot, The Seventh Veil. She continued to perform at the Seventh Veil from 1976-78, and also appeared frequently at The Pyramids from 1978-80. Sword-balancing became her best-known act, and continues to be a favorite performance for her even today. Feature performances included the Baghdad, Aladdin's, the old King Tut's, The Grecian Village, Andros, The Bacchanal, India Palace, and a well-publicized engagement as house dancer at the now  Moroccan Restaurant in the early 1990's

After working on the performance floor for a few years, Morgiana also began to teach, feeling it offered a great way for her to continue her own growth. In the late 70's she founded her first troupe, Musalim Sais. A natural at teaching, she found the experience rewarding and productive, but performing at restaurants as a soloist remained her primary effort but the teaching experience had captivated her, she dedicated study and lots of legwork to become a well respected instructor, fitting easily into the role thereafter at many outlets, including classes at Bookman's, Mountain Side Fitness, Tempe Parks and Recreation, Gentle Strength University in Tempe, Body Works Studio, and Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Scottsdale.

Out of her teaching, the troupe experience inevitably arose, bringing about her formation of Egyptian Cartouche in 1991. Egyptian Cartouche continues performances to this day, showcasing Morgiana's pupils at their best. A second troupe, the Daughters of Isis, was formed in 1998 to accommodate the growth of her Tempe student base.  From troupe work, Morgiana has extended her ministries to production and community service. Since the early 90's she has staged many mini-workshops and charity benefits, ever widening the scope of those she is able to touch with her very appreciable and praiseworthy efforts and performances.

HELENA and MORGIANA have formed the dance troupe TERPSICHOREANS, not only performing their specialty dances live, they are passing down their wealth of skills and experience in dance and introducing their most talented and promising proteges to the dance community to delight audiences everywhere.  The first student Helena and Morgiana are presnting is VENUSAHARA.

PERFORMANCE REVIEWS

A Revue of the Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition 2006 by Marta Schill

"One astounding moment of this extremely enjoyable evening occurred when Helena Vlahos, a legendary dancer famous for her abdominal control and expertise, performed majestically on stage – then came to a special dance floor on the ground level and enchanted the crowd with her expert wielding of quarters on her beautiful midsection: She brilliantly maneuvered the coins not only ‘in line’ up and down three times - but also rolled them down one at a time – then every other one separately! Be sure to see the video of this performance! It was truly spectacular!"

An Evening at Byblos

By Norma Westover June 27, 2004—Tempe, Arizona

"Topping off the show was the evening’s hostess, Morgiana. Introduced by her son, she took the stage, wearing a very pretty and colorful bedleh of Hot Pink and Gold. Morgiana treated us to her best work that night, set to the variety of music and dance styles that she’s known for valley-wide. With her wonderful fusion of Cabaret, Tribal, Pharaonic, and Jazz styles, she served up 100% pure entertainment, topped off by her *incredible* well-known Double Sword work and back bend with ribcage undulations. Morgiana is a living testament to what dedication can achieve in bellydance, and her finale left me inspired and hungry for more!"

Helena Vlahos! Looking fresh and ready to captivate, Helena didn’t let us down with her well-chosen variety of classical Egyptian Cabaret tunes. She wore a splashy, Silver Sequin Balady dress, accented with a heavy, jingly coin belt, all custom made by Helena. Never one to repeat herself, Helena’s tone this evening had an earthy groove to it. Her famous, concise moves and zill expertise were used with an economy that created a near-perfect syncopated display of mastery. Much of her wry, humorous character came across in her dance, and she delighted the audience as she traveled the restaurant’s tables, gently teasing, pleasing, and enticing the occasional willing gentleman to accompany her on the dance floor. A special treat was drummer Gabby Tawil’s delightful solo, designed to put Helena’s finesse to the test; of course she didn’t let us down, and it was great fun to watch drummer and dancer up the entertainment ante with their best tricks!"

Feminine Journey Festival at Plaza De Anaya June, 2009 By Colleen O'Daniel

Venusahara has a natural gift, she is a compelling performer, when she is belly dancing there is so much grace, so much finesse, such precision and passion emanating from her presence.  I can honestly say that in terms of style, intensity, polish and precision she is as good as any cabaret dancers I saw performing at the Superstars of Belly Dance this year.  

THE ART OF BELLY DANCE

Life begins in the belly. From the sexual act to conception, to birth, the center of activity and emotion is the belly. The belly dancer tells us this. Though she remains relatively stationary, she is always in motion. Undulating, twirling, shimmying and swaying, she can express the range of human emotion with dignity and grace. She dances to show the beauty of the female form, to interpret the mood of the music, to fascinate her audience. To express herself well, a belly dancer needs a certain amount of concentration and discipline. She must be able to coordinate her mind with an agile body. As far back as the ninth century, a great belly dancer was defined to Caliph Mu' tamid as one who had "loose joints and a great agility in twirling and swaying her hips" (Dance Perspectives, pgs. 7, 8,). The dance itself employs several different rhythms and follows a specific, though not rigid pattern. The dancer begins with a short introduction, which brings her on stage. Her veil is on. She begins a series of fast movements in 2/4 or 4/4 rhythm and then may either stop and assume a posture, or blend into the next part of the dance. This part can either be a Chifte- telli or a Bolero. It is slow and rhythmic. Here the dancer performs all her snaky movements such as "around the world", "sway" and "snake arms". She will remove and work with her veil, finally casting it aside. Now the dance picks up speed and the dancer performs fast hip bumps, twirls and turns. Gradually, she slows, lowering herself to the floor. Floor work consists of slow, undulating movements. Bolero or Chifte-telli may be used for her floor work depending on which was used earlier in the dance. The dancer then rises to the rhythm of solo drums, executing shimmies, shakes, and hip bumps. Her dance is nearly complete. Once again the dance gains speed, allowing her to execute a fast and lively finale. If the dancer has expressed herself well, she leaves her audience awed at her ability to control her body, and intrigued by her mystery.