Andrea / Ayame (she/her)
Dance Instructor & Performer
Andrea fell in love with bellydance in 2006 while living in Farmville, VA. Her Vintage Fusion Bellydance style has been inspired by the theatricality of the Egyptian Golden Era, American Cabaret, and other contemporary dance forms. Andrea has performed at parties and staged productions throughout Richmond as a solo performer and with Laterna Dance Company.
Andrea has been a member of Laterna Dance Company since its creation in 2016. She is also part of the planning committee for the Dance Gathering; a pop-up show that partners with local markets to create a performance space that welcomes dancers of varying experiences.
The example Twila set inspired Andrea to carry the torch and continue Electric Nomad's story. As an instructor, Andrea loves to foster community so students feel empowered. Her goal is to explore ways to strengthen core dance movements and teach them in ways so they are accessible to everyone. She also has a passion for learning and aims to provide a culturally mindful education regarding the history of dance styles taught.
When she’s not in the studio, she balances her time as a graphic designer, community activist, and playing D&D with her husband.
Laterna Dance Company
Laterna Dance Company is a diverse collective from Richmond who are dedicated to exploring fusion in belly dance. They carry on the legacy their dance mama, Twila Jane, began with Electric Nomad Studio. Each member is unique in their dance experience so choreographies have been inspired by American Cabaret, Swing, Hip-hop, FatChanceBellydance style, Modern and more.
Laterna is co-directed by Andrea and Stephanie. Troupe members are Alicia, Andrea, Ari, Ashlee, Robyn, Stephanie, and Tarsenna.
Legendary Dance Mama
With a penchant for thinking outside the box and an insatiable drive to create and inspire, Twila opened Electric Nomad, (formerly Illumination Dance Studio) Richmond’s only studio dedicated to bellydance in all its forms, incarnations, and evolutions in September of 2010. Over the past decade, she has taught an organically delicious blend of Egyptian Raqs Sharqi and Fusion bellydance, and pulls from her training in both forms. Her dance education includes training in prenatal and postnatal yoga instruction; she has earned her Level 1 certification, and has studied in level 2 in the Suhaila Format, has earned her Journey Through Egypt 1 and Cairo Style 1 certifications with Sahra Saeeda, and has studied with world-traveled instructors in many forms of bellydance. She received her SEEDs teacher certification from Myra Krien in June of 2015. Twila has recently delved into Hot Pot ITS (improvisational tribal style) dance, and continues to study with innovative, thoughtful movers in the dance world. She recently completed a teacher training for level 1 and 2 Hot Pot ITS with Amy Sigil, and is working on her certification to teach this form. When she's not dancing, she is busy being a mama, singing and playing music, reading tarot professionally, creating costumes and other wearable art, shooting photos and working on her own little urban homestead.
Twila is also a co-author of several books, including Dance Vines, a dance journal and resource guide, with Arlechina Verdigris with RDI Publications.
She has offered all levels of classes over the last decade, and continues offer guidance to her dance company, Laterna. Her goal as an instructor is to provide a strong technical foundation while having fun, and allowing students to become better acquainted with their bodies, spirit, and individuality through dance, while staying rooted in the cultures and traditions that are the foundation of transnational dance, the movement and fusion she is part of. She is also a sought after internationally traveling performer and producer of events in Richmond, which included the yearly Theatrical Fusion bellydance production featuring live music and international stars, Raqs Luminaire. She has produced three more theatrical works that stand alone, Oceanic, Eternal Forest, and Alchemy, which are boundary-breaking and fantastical works produced alongside Laterna, with a focus on collaboration with artists and dancers of every stripe. Twila has also collaborated with dancers across the country, is honored to be a member of Rin's Myriad Project, and was also cast as a principal dancer in Zoe Jakes House of Tarot in Asheville, NC. Explore Twila's solo dance, musical, modeling, and other creative work here.