16 de junho de 2015


Hahbi 'Ru is a 16 member troupe of Middle Eastern dancers and musicians.

We perform in the Old World-Folkloric style.

You can see us at dance festivals, period events, and private parties throughout the Bay Area of California.

Hahbi 'Ru has been dancing together since 1991...

Hahbi 'Ru Dance Ensemble Hahbi'Ru: an early term for the Bedouin tribes who wandered the Arabian deserts enriching themselves by taking what they pleased from the many countries they traversed. Like these Bedouins, the Hahbi'Ru Dance Ensemble's performance style has been influenced by the folkloric dances and music of many regions of North Africa and the Middle East.

John Compton and Rita Alderucci, the CO-directors of Hahbi'Ru Dance Ensemble, were students of Jamila Salimpour, founder and director of the Bal-Anat Troupe. Jamila's Bal-Anat was the first to bring the tribal performance style to the American Public in the late 1960's and 1970's. Both John and Rita appeared as soloists in Bal-Anat during these years.

In 1991, John and Rita reunited and brought together the group of seasoned dancers and musicians that became Hahbi'Ru, including Paula Oxman, Hahbi'Ru's costume designer. Their goal was to recreate the tribal ensemble style of performance begun by Jamila Salimpour, and to utilize the skills they acquired over the last 30 years as professional entertainers. Under their direction, the group built a repertoire based on Arabian folkloric music, dances, songs, and customs. These traditional dances have been fused with modern day technique and performance skills thereby creating a style which is unique to Hahbi'Ru.

Hahbi'Ru captures the tribal spirit of a bye-gone era while entertaining audiences with polished performance pieces that combine humor with precision ensemble dancing, and dazzling costumes.

About the members of Hahbi 'Ru:

Paula Sequeira Oxman
paula.jpgwas born and raised in "Baghdad by the Bay" in the heart of North Beach. Her Training includes modern, jazz, Polynesian and flamenco dance; she studied Oriental dance with Jamila Salimpour and was a member of Bal Anat. She has been performing for over two decades as a soloist and ensemble dancer locally, and in Los Angles, New York, and Hawaii. Paula has traveled through Egypt, Israel, Turkey, and Tunisia researching folkloric dances and costuming. Paula has been with Hahbi'Ru since it first formed in 1991; she has contributed to many of the groups choreographies and has helped design our unique costuming. 
Elayne Clewett Von-Ronne
Elayne has been an avid dancer of various forms of Middle Eastern and Ballroom Dance since 1990. She really started concentrating on Middle Eastern Dance in 1995, while taking classes from several teachers in San Francisco, including Baraka, Magana Baptiste, Fat Chance Bellydance, and Ultra Gypsy. Completely taken with traditional folkloric style, she couldn't believe her luck when she discovered John's and Rita's classes in 1999, and ecstatically became a member of the troupe in 2000.
Heather Marden 
heather.jpgHeather first became interested in Oriental dance after seeing Hahbi'Ru perform at
the Northern Renaissance Pleasure Faire where she had spent years as a participating member in several of the Guilds. She started her studies in San Francisco with Magana Baptiste and later with
Baraka. She was a quick learner and was featured as one of the dancers on Baraka's teaching tape.
Amanda Baer 
Amanda has been studying Middle Eastern dance since 1991. From 1992 to 1996, she performed with the Folkloric Dancers for the UC Santa Barbara Middle East Ensemble, under the direction of Alexandra King. In addition to extensive classical ballet training, she has learned a wide range of dance styles, including Egyptian raks sharki, Lebanese Debke, Turkish Rom, and Persian classical dance. She began studying with John and Rita in 1998, and joined Habhi'Ru in Fall, 1999..
Heidi Wohlwend 
heidi.jpgAs a child Heidi took ballet and modern dance until she was ten. Next came the "sports" years -- in high school Heidi went to the WA State Track Championships running the 200m relay and the high hurdles. She was known for her killer spike in Volleyball and her endurance on the basketball court. While in college her interest in Middle-Eastern dancing was sparked by watching Hahbi'Ru perform at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire. She studied cabaret and Egyptian style with Beth Youngdoff (Baraka) for five years, dabbled in "American Tribal" with Fat Chance Belly Dance, and also experienced Nana Canderlario's distinctive style.
Heidi is a graduate of SFSU with a degree in English Literature, and is currently at work on her MFA in Creative Writing. For Heidi it is absolutely a dream come true to be able to perform with Hahbi'Ru, the group who first made her interested in this beautiful dance.

Photo by Matthew Reyes
Lyn Harton 
Lyn joined Hahbi'Ru in the fall of 2001 performing as a student dancer in two of our dances.. She has since become one of the full time members of the group developing her skills in many of the Hahbi 'Ru dances.

Peter White 
peter.jpg"Peter White first caught the dance bug as an undergrad at UC Berkeley, where he was transformed into an avid ballroom dancer. He competed as a member of the 
UC Ballroom Dancers
 in college, and with the Dancing Illini while at grad school in Illinois. Upon his return to the Bay Area, Peter was inspired to pursue a new dance form when he saw Hahbi'Ru perform at Rakkasah 1998. He became an enthusiastic student of John and Rita in spring of 1998, and joined Hahbi'Ru in the summer of 1999. In his spare time, Peter plays soccer, West Coast Swings and swirls on the ballroom with friends, and Tangos with his Honey."
Barbara Towner 
barb.jpgBarbara joined Hahbi'Ru in the summer of 1999.
"I'm a dancer and a singer and a musician.
I'm a thinker and a writer, a philosopher.
I'm a seeker, a traveler, an explorer,
and an adventurous lover of life"
Jill Zahner 
Jill spent childhood years surrounded by music and dance. Nights were spent dancing and singing with Grandfather on fiddle, Grandmother on guitar, Mother on piano, and Father & siblings singing. Jill studied tap and ballet as a child, until moving to San Jose at age 12. Although she kept her interest in the arts, particularly drama and dance, her inspiration to pursue Middle Eastern dance came in 1996 when a friend suggested that she catch one of Hahbi'Ru's shows at the Northern California Renaissance Faire. "Watching the troupe brought back clear memories of my grandmother's stories of biblical history-particularly the tales of the desert tribes, their life-styles and travels-and it all spoke to my childhood fascination with the Magi. When I first saw Hahbi'Ru, I thought to myself, 'Now THIS is the how the music is supposed to be danced!' Hahbi'Ru made a whole cultural heritage available to me in a way that made sense to my body and soul." Jill joined the troupe in the autumn of 2001.
Hector Bezanis 
hector.jpgHector joined Hahbi'Ru in 1998 and brought with him his many years as an accomplished wind instrument musician, and his great love of playing the Mizmar. .He is well known for his Balkan folk tunes on the Gydah, and can often be heard throughout the Renaissance faire site after hours playing the folk dance melodies.
Frank Aviles 
frank.jpgFrank has been with Hahbi'Ru since the first season at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in 1991. His dumbek playing dates back to the early 1970's when he played for his wife, and many of the Bay area belly dancers and groups performing at the time. He is also well know for his unique and exciting Conga drumming.
Jon Michael Caxton
"Jon Michael started playing mizmar with Hahbi Ru in
2001 after many years of behind the scenes work. Prior
to performing with Hahbi Ru, Jon Michael spent over a
decade as a live sound engineer, working with artist
such as Lyle Lovette and David Sanbourne. He currently
holds a B.A. in Sound Arts, recording musical styles
that range from Ethnic Folk to Blues, as well as
recording natural ambiences for sound design in film.
Sandy Hollister 
"Sandy joined Hahbi'Ru in 2002 ... You may recognize her as one of the featured drummers from Amira's in San Francisco.
more info soon
Jorden Zahner 
Jorden is our most dedicated helper and stage hand.
She makes sure all props are set on the stage and that all of
our costumes are ready for our quick changes. 

Each of our members is unique in their style and experience, but we have come together to form a beautiful whole. Select a name to the right to learn a little about each dancer in our troupe.


Core Members Performing Yemeni Folk Dance 

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