Stefanie Mari, a Los Angeles native, began her dance training at an early age with a variety of western dance forms, including ballet, tap, jazz and modern dance. This love of dance eventually continued into her academic studies when she earned a dual degree from the University of San Francisco in Performing Arts & Social Justice (Dance), and African History. Stefanie also took this opportunity to begin expanding her dance horizons by exploring the San Francisco modern dance scene and studying with many of the local teachers that were available outside of her academic experience.
Upon returning to Southern California in 2007, she was accidentally introduced to Modern Egyptian Bellydance through her roommate. She began apprenticing with a commercial company and went on to start performing professionally with them shortly after. The more she learned about bellydance, the more she started to feel like she had finally found the dance form that she was meant to call “home.” Stefanie’s new found love of Middle Eastern dance also inspired her to start to study the folk dances of the region and seek more professional opportunities with local dance companies.
More than 10 years later, Stefanie has continued to dedicate herself to growing as a dancer. Most notably, she completed Aubre Hill’s Raqs Artist Project in 2015 and has attended programs such as the Arab Dance Festival, Journey Through Egypt and Middle East Music and Dance Camp to help further her artistic and cultural work.
She is proud to have worked closely with Aubre Hill on many projects: as a former Contemporary Dance teacher at Movement Art Space in Los Angeles, an assistant director & producer for stage shows such as “The Nutcracker~ a bellydance tale”, the co-director of Los Angeles Raqs, and as a dancer in duet performances and with both Lumina Dance Co. and Qabila Folkdance Co. As one of the original members of Qabila, Stefanie continues to be dedicated to the company both onstage and behind the scenes, and currently is serving on the Executive Board as the Community Manager.
Stefanie’s solo career has continued to bloom as well and she currently performs professionally as both a Raqs Sharqi and Contemporary Bellydance Fusion/Transnational Dance soloist. She enjoys the duality of these experiences and is endlessly inspired by both learning more about the deep cultural roots of Middle Eastern dance and by the creation of unique movement ideas. A recent transplant from Los Angeles to Seattle, Stefanie is looking forward to the next phase of her dance career and is excited to continue growing the artistic expression of her dance, as well as deepening her understanding of its cultural context and roots.
QABILA FOUNDATION Dancer, 2011 - Present; Community Manager, 2013 - Present
LA RAQS Co-Director, 2015 - 2019
LUMINA DANCE COMPANY Dancer, 2013 - 2019
ADAM BASMA DANCE COMPANY Dancer, 2010-2012
SABABA DANCE COMPANY Dancer, 2008-2014
University of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, B.A. Performing Arts & Social Justice (emphasis in Dance); B.A. History (emphasis in African History) (2007)
Aubre Hill’s Raqs Artist Project, Los Angeles, CA (2015)
Journey through Egypt, CA, Level 1-2 (2013 & 2016)
Arab Dance Seminar, CA and NV (2012, 2013, 2018)