A Very Brief Biography



A rare, gifted combination of choreographer, performer, and teacher of contemporary and folkloric dances of the Middle East and North Africa, Kristina has recently been awarded the prestigious Choreographers X6 award that will premiere her new work “Roya” – an integration of classical Persian and modern dance in January 2014. Her third award for choreography from the Houston Arts Alliance produced the innovative and beautiful "Nour-an-Nisa: Light of Femininity" in December 2011.  Nour-an-Nisa, was not only an overwhelming success, it was also the first full length dance performance at the internationally renown Rothko Chapel and the first time (at least in this artist's memory) since ancient times that Middle Eastern dance has been seen performed in its proper, sacred context. Kristina has a list of firsts to her name. She is: first to teach and perform Middle Eastern dance at Rice University in Texas (for which she received the Frank W. Bearden Award for Teaching Excellence in 2010), first to teach Middle Eastern Dance at a center for psychology (the C.G. Jung Educational Center of Houston), first in the US to develop arts-in-education programs on the Middle East (Young Audiences of Houston), and one of the first to develop a narrative Middle Eastern dance form. She has performed and taught both nationally and locally at hundreds of venues including universities, festivals, theaters, and community centers. 
She lectures widely in classes, conferences, and workshops and is an annual presenter at several universities. Her performance venues include Barnevelder Movement Arts Complex, Denison College, Hamman Hall, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, Jones Plaza festivals, Miller Outdoor Theater, Museum of Fine Arts, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, University of Houston, the University of Texas, The Sufi Order International, and at both the Arab Community and the Jewish Community Centers in Houston. She has won several awards for choreography and teaching by institutaions and students alike! , A member of the Congress of International Dance (CID, member of UNESCO),Texas Commission on the Arts and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Association, she teaches classes privately, at Dominic Walsh Dance Studio and Rice University (and online at PowHow),  writes on dance history, and is extensively engaged in research for future narrative & cultural dance programs. She continues training in Persian dance, hatha yoga, and Pilates and loves cooking, baking, giving parties, and playing with her cat Ruh.  

Kristina's collaborative projects include choreographies featured with Gypsy Dance Theater,  Dancepatheatre, Dance Houston’s “Choreographer’s Project, ” with the East/West Ensemble featuring Isabelle Ganz, and The Anjali School of East Indian Performing Arts under Rathna Kumar with whom she has performed, toured, and taught for five years as a classical East Indian dancer.  She helped begin and develop Dance Houston’s “Young & Intense” dance camp for teens and has developed several exciting, engaging, arts-in-education teaching and performing programs for children and youths.  Since their inception, these programs have been presented in one hundred schools and libraries throughout and around the city of Houston/state of Texas including The Children’s Museum, The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and Young Audiences of Houston.

A former employee of The World Music Institute of NYC, Kristina now works with local organizations (such as the Museum of Fine Arts) to provide the Houston community with venues promoting awareness and celebration of cultures through the art of dance.
 Currently, she teaches classes for Dance Houston, The Jung Center of Houston, and Rice University and researches and writes on dance history, planning to produce more narrative & cultural dance work in the future. 

She graduated Summa Cum Laude from both UHCL for her M.A. in cross-cultural studies & the Honors College and from the College of Fine Arts and Humanities for her B.A. in history from the University of Houston. She has won foreign language competitions (Olympiada/Russian), several academic scholarships (for history and academic excellence), several grants for continuing education in Middle Eastern dance from the Texas Commission on the Arts and the Houston Arts Alliance (her third for choreography was awarded this year, 2011, and was her first as an established artist) and was recently awarded the prestigious Bearden Award for Teaching Excellence from the department of dance at Rice University. Her primary dance education has been under the direction of Middle Eastern/North African master teacher Ibrahim Farrah.  A registered health care specialist in Texas since 1988, she is also a state certified dispute resolution specialist (2003) and family mediator (2008).