About Serafina

"Dance like a peacock, not a feather duster!" -- Bert Balladine, 1987

One day as a little girl, Serafina watched "Mrs. C," the mother on the "Happy Days" sitcom, glide around the Cunninghams' living room in an orange & gold belly dance costume (photo at right). Although she didn't understand the gist of the episode, she became completely enchanted with bellydance! 

At around the same time, Serafina also discovered her father's vinyl belly dance records; the classics like George Abdo, Eddie "The Sheik" Kochak and Mohammed el Bakkar. She was intrigued and facinated with the confident, beautiful women on the album colors in their bright, sparkly costumes. But as Serafina grew up, she had no idea that she could learn to belly dance here in America.
However, while living in Chicago, a serendipitous meeting with a kindred spirit led her to find a local instructor and her dance journey began on one of the most significant days in recent history... September 11, 2001.​

Serafina went on to study with several notable Chicago area instructors who are experts in different styles of belly dance including American Cabaret, Modern Egyptian, Folkloric, Improvistaional Tribal Style and Tribal Fusion. She performed in many local shows for amateurs ("haflas"), fundraisers, festivals and parades. She then went on to co-found and co-direct a professional belly dance troupe for two years. Going her own way to become a solo performer and instructor was the next logical step and Serafina opened Studio Maliha, her private dance space, in March of 2010.

In January of 2016, her new journey began when her husband was transferred to San Antonio, TX. The caravan was packed and the adventure started again!

Continuing her dance education is very important to Serafina. In addtion to teaching every week, she continues to advance and enhance her own skills and technique by taking workshops and pursuing certifications relevant to this art form. 

"I realize the enormous responsibility of performing and teaching such an ancient and beloved art form which respresents a culture that isn't native to me. It is of the utmost importance to represent that culture passionately, accurately and respectfully."


  • Trains & rides horses competitively in an Olympic sport called "Dressage" for over 30 years.
  • Works as a freelance graphic designer when she's not teaching or performing belly dance.
  • Enjoys interior design and decorating.
  • Is an avid oenophile. Some may even refer to her as a "wine snob."
  • Has been married for over 19 years and has 2 children.