Meet the Teams
It takes a Village
Our beautiful, accepting community exists because of each and every participant... and that includes YOU, who come to classes, workshops, events, & shows! So thank you for being part of our movement!
And a huge thanks for all those who work behind the scenes to make everything possible...
If you're interested in being part of the Team, email us, we have work-study opportunities too!
Studio Director, Owner, Instructor, Performer, Director Hip Stars Belly Dance Troupe, Massage Therapist, Belly Dancer, Fire Dancer, Yogi
Johanna 'Zenobia' Krynytzky, Director and Owner of Hip Expressions Belly Dance Studio, dedicates her life towards the evolution of belly dance and community. This ancient art originally piqued her interest while a student of both Art History and Anthropology at the University of Chicago. After graduating with a double major, she worked at the Field Museum of Natural History where she managed the Education Programs and Performances. Today, she...more
Co-Founder, Instructor, Performer, Director Island Flowers Polynesian Troupe, Belly Dancer, Polynesian Dancer, Fire Dancer
Karen has an extensive background in folk dances of Europe, Asia, the Americas and Polynesia and has studied and performed Middle Eastern Dance since 1976. She has eight years of experience as a performance director for folk dance groups. She has performed with Gainesville, Florida's internationally known professional ballet company, DanceAlive!, and has choreographed folk dance pieces for their production of Dracula. She is a member of the...more
Instructor, Performer, Flautist, Director Djinn Zoo Tribal Belly Dance Troupe, Belly Dancer, Polynesian Dancer, Fire Dancer
Marcella started belly dancing with Hip Expressions in 2006, and joined Loud Zoo, Johanna's Tribal Troupe in 2007. When Loud Zoo disbanded in 2012, she took over direction of what was then called 'The Tribe' which has now evolved into her own Tribal Troupe, Djinn Zoo. Having studied both Egyptian and Tribal styles, confident as a soloist and a troupe leader, Marcella joined a s a founding member of Karen Sun Ray's Polynesian Troupe, the...more
Dancer, Dance Instructor, Artist, Massage Therapist, Lover of Life, Kitty Mama.....
Dance has been the best part of my life since I was a child. As a teen I decided dance would be my career, my life! I have never doubted that decision and have been performing, teaching and studying professionally worldwide for over 30 yrs. My dance career has taken me from Los Angeles to New York and internationally. My performing experiences "run the gamut" from winning on the original Gong Show, to dancing in a Queen video on MTV. Some of...more
Instructor, Performer, Belly Dancer, Fire Dancer
Kimberly’s belly dance journey began in 1999, when she began studying classic Egyptian style with Deirdre Hamlett in Sarasota. In 2001 she attended a workshop with Jill Parker and was introduced to American Tribal Style (ATS) which started a whole new love affair with belly dance for her. In 2002, she discovered Johanna’s classes and was performing with Loud Zoo just a few months later. She loves the classic Egyptian style which she first...more
Instructor, Performer, Belly Dancer, Fire Dancer, Burlesque
Chris has been lucky to study various styles of dance including jazz and modern as well as gymnastics wherever she could. As a child, her family moved frequently, getting her used to exploring and discovering new places and cultures. Her gypsy upbringing drew her to another group of travelers who became her 2nd family when she started traveling with Renaissance Festivals as a teenager. This is where she was first introduced to belly dance. In...more
Instructor, Performer, Belly Dancer
Dawn is a criminology professor by day and dance teacher by night. She is passionate about being teaching people new things. She currently teaches Funky Fusion, a class in which she blends traditional belly dance moves with fusion styling and music. Former director of Themyscira, a fusion dance troupe, she now teaches 1-2 choreographies per year. The most recent of which is to Missy Elliott’s “I’m Better.” Others include Thrift Shoppe...more
Instructor, Nia Dancer
Through teaching Nia and practicing massage therapy, it is with great joy I help people relieve pain and stress, learn more about themselves through body awareness and assist in their healing process. I love to help people feel better, move better and live better! Through practicing Nia, I was guided down a very complementary path. I became a massage therapist, graduating from the Colorado School of Healing Arts in 2004. I honed my craft at...more
Instructor, Performer, Director of Samba Syndicate Troupe, Belly Dancer, Samba Dancer
Erin has loved the stage as long as she can remember, acting, singing, and cheerleading; she started her professional training as a pom pom dancer with the cheerleading squad in high school. Then, her and her friends created a group called The Fly Girls, combining hip hop and cheerleading!
It was in Denver, Colorado, where Erin first began her belly dance studies with Suzanna DelVeccio. Excited to explore more, she found Kaya and...more
Instructor, Performer, Belly Dancer, Samba Dancer, Fire Dancer, Burlesque
Jill Castle, aka, Nilla Bean, has been on stage performing various styles of dance since her teenage years. First stripping out of an evening gown on stage during the musical Guys and Dolls and being your typical boisterous cheerleader; she was hooked on making the audience laugh while being the center of attention. Nilla started belly dancing in upstate New York back in 2004 and was hooked after just one class. A few years later she and a...more
Teri began practicing yoga in 1999 for relief of back pain and tight hips. What resulted was not only a healthier body, but a more peaceful mind and joyful self. She wished to share this wonderful practice of yoga with others, so she completed her 200 hour teacher training in 2006 and began teaching. Teri completed her 500 hour teacher training in 2014 and has studied with Wanda Howe, Tias Little, Roger Cole, Baxter Bell, Elise Miller, Cyndi...more
Instructor, Nia Dancer
Nia and I found each other in 2010 at a time in my life when I was yearning to heal my body and spirit. The journey into the sensations and voice of my body has transformed me and the way I move through the world. As I continually expand my practice of Nia, I have become more compassionate and loving with how I see myself. In my classes, I create Nia experiences that are fun, expressive, and healing. Whether in the dark or light, calm or...more
Miss McConnell was born in Long Beach, CA and raised in the beautiful state of North Carolina. Encouraged from childhood to lead an active lifestyle, Elizabeth excelled in organized sports as well as water-skiing and swimming. She studied Biology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and continues to build upon that foundation to this day by pursuing health and philosophy courses through local colleges, workshops and her love...more
Instructor, Esthetician, Nia Dancer
Melia's love of dance began as a child with training in tap, jazz and ballet. Through early adulthood she taught and studied many forms of dance including folk, modern, lyrical jazz and hip hop. Then her work took her traveling and the dancing stopped for many years. She changed careers in 2000 when she became an Esthetician and has been working in the spa industry ever since. First learning and perfecting her skills in elite South Tampa...more
Maggi Soluna has been dancing for 26 years and an instructor for 12 years. Over the years, she has studied Classical Ballet, Contemporary Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Jazz, Music Theater, African, Celtic, Belly Dance, Cabaret, Hip-Hop, and more. She has performed in many Recitals, Ballets, Operas, and Variety Shows. Ms. Soluna has been dedicated to her training as a performer, choreographer, and instructor, attending many different studios,...more
Instructor, Performer, Belly Dancer, Samba, Latin Fusion, Theatrical Belly Dance
Ilia, Performing Artist and Designer
Ilia is a lifelong performer who enjoys blending genres of performance and a visual art with storytelling and characters. Having begun with ballet and jazz, then ballroom for six years, she eventually transitioned into Bellydance in 2007 and combined it with her roots in theater, in which she has a BA from Yale University. From 2014-2017, Ilia owned and operated Gaia Dance & Unity, a dance studio...more
Instructor, Performer, Belly Dancer, Make Up Artist
Hannah Alibrahim is a first generation Syrian American who grew up in the wonderful world of Arabic Culture and Music. She was also raised in Birmingham Alabama surrounded by southern charm, and she wholly embodies a certain charisma that will make you feel like old friends.
As a child she studied Tap, Ballet, and Jazz for 10 years establishing a love for movement. At 18 she began studying the fundamentals of bellydance in a classroom...more
Our Dance Troupes
Improvisational Tribal Troupe
Djinn Zoo is our Tribal troupe, Directed by Marcella Skiff. These ladies explore the evolution of Tribal belly dance, which combines traditional dances from around the world such as belly dance, Flamenco, Indian Dance, and Modern. The focus is on the sisterhood of the dance, playing with structured improvisational tools, using cues to transition from one move to the next.
Djinn Zoo evolved from Loud Zoo Tribal, of which Marcella was a part, directed by Johanna Xenobia from 2001 - 2012. Marcella continues the Tribal tradition at Hip Expressions in her growing troupe. Influences...more
Polynesian Dance Troupe
The Island Flowers, Directed by Karen Sun Ray, bring to life the relaxed feel of the Pacific Islands.
The Island Flowers, Directed by Karen Sun Ray, bring to life the relaxed feel of the Pacific Islands. Their hips sway to the rhythms of the ocean, their gestures welcoming and sweet. Then they crank up the drums and watch their hips fly! From Hula, Tahitian and the Land of the Long White Cloud of the Maori people. They learn and perform traditional and fusion styles.
Join the Polynesian classes Monday nights at 7:15 to come get a taste of the Islands.more
Brazilian Samba Team
Samba Syndicate, Directed by Erin DePrizio, performs Brazilian Samba in true showgirl style! Feathers fly and smiles all around for these fast-paced, challenging choreographies. The ladies are popular at weddings for the latest trend, 'La Hora Loca', where guests are invited up to dance in the madness that brings Rio right to the party!
Interested in learning? Join the Cardio Samba class led by troupe member Jill Castle and get the beat in your feet, your hips, and your smile!more
Professional Belly Dance Troupe
The Hip Stars Belly Dance Troupe, Directed by Johanna Xenobia, are committed to fun and professional performance! These classy ladies bring their beauty and talent to the stage for family-friendly shows. The troupe explores a variety of genres, from traditional Egyptian belly dance, Turkish beats, and fusion performances. They're ready to inspire you through movement, dance, and audience participation!
Dancers interested in this style are encouraged to take all the belly dance classes they can, including Johanna's classes Monday nights, and the advanced class on Thursday night.more
Studio Support Staff
Holly Grimmett, Studio Godmother
Holly is our Studio Administrator, Johanna's assistant, account manager, customer relations, what else? Handles studio rentals, scheduling, and more! If you have a question, she'll find you an answer! Email her here.
April Alexander, Greeting Goddess
April staffs the desk several days a week, helps with the printed schedule, and over all troubleshoots everything. Oh, and she's known for her jello shots.
All hail the Cleaning Fairy! She keeps the studio sparkling-clean, which we appreciate to no end. She also has a thousand other job and shows up for parties sometimes.
Robyn Crosa, Street Team
Robyn takes the word to the street! She's out networking with local businesses, carrying word of how Hip Expressions is an amazing place to be. You'll see her in classes, too, inspired and having a great time!