Rafi'ah Ruyah has danced since childhood, probably starting in the womb judging from her mother's complaints. She combines over 30 years of experience as celebrated performing artist, teacher, troupe director and event producer of Middle Eastern dance with a rich background of other dance genres, meditative movement and spiritual practices. Her dance studies include classical ballet, modern dance (Martha Graham technique), tap, latin ballroom and jazz as well as 8 years of Sufi dance, whirling and zikr with Adnan Sarhan of Baghdad and Continuum Movement with Emily Conrad and Susan Harper. Other training includes Jin Shin Jitsu practitioner training and contemplative studies of Vedanta and Sanskrit. All this contributes to her traditional yet unique dance style and diverse methods of teaching. In Rafi'ah Teaches from the Soul written by her Grand Lake retreat sponsor Kysheema: "Rafi'ah can make you feel the magic. Her spontaneous yet skilled teaching style inspires you to dance with a freedom dictated by your soul and the music, allowing you to break away from the constraints of choreographed performance."
When Rafi'ah saw her first bellydance performance at Denver’s Khyber Pass Restaurant over 30 years ago, it was “ love at first sight". Since then her artistry has graced the stages of national and regional venues, restaurants, nightclubs, theatre shows, concerts and festivals. Equally competent dancing to live or recorded music. her great love is dancing to live. In Jareeda magazine, Cassiopeia, a past student writes "Rafi'ah translates music virtually to perfection, by molding to the music, feeling each phrase and combining the melodies and sharpness of the percussion. She conveys the music deeply. Her ability to execute shape, dynamic hip isolations and then finish with a look of ultimate lightness and liquidity is a visual treat."
She has performed weekly at the Taverna Terzakis in Boulder, Co. with Cameron Powers and Sherefe Band, Sahara Night Club, Sorentos Night Club and Ali Baba's Restaurant in Denver with various Arabic Musicians as well as at numerous concerts with Sherefe, Sadaqah from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Meg York’s Hejazz Messengers Ensemble. Rafia’h was a featured soloist at Cameron Powers Musical Missions of Peace Gala at Cleo Parker Robinson Theater in Denver. She was also a weekly performer at the Mataam Fez in Boulder Co. and Colorado Springs for 13 years and presently co-produces the monthly Mercury Cafe Belly Dance shows with Eva Cernik, a student teacher showcase and community dance event.
Passionate about preserving the art of dancing to live music, and inspired by Susana Del Veccio's live music retreats with Pete Jacobs and Dawn Green, a decade ago Rafi'ah began a collaboration with Beth Beaver's Ensemble from New Mexico, Sadaqah, presenting annual workshops and concerts in Denver. She continues this heartfelt project biannually with musician Meg York.
For 12 years, Rafi'ah produced a Fall Bellydance Retreat in Grand Lake
Colorado sponsored by the Kysheema (Cathy Walton-Smith) and the Grand Arts Council.The highly revered 3 day weekend with 10 hours of master classes and the beloved “Night in Morocco Dinner Show” with live background music by the Fellaheen Ensemble, came to an end in 2015.
Tarab Retreat, a collaborative vision, came into being with Meg York’s long time dream of creating a music and dance camp in Colorado.