Shimmy Shakedown Festival

APRIL 4-5, 2020

An Oriental Dance Festival held yearly in Los Angeles, California

guest artists

MERCEDES NIETO (HUNGARY)-  Mercedes Nieto was born in the heart of Europe, Budapest, to a hungarian-spanish family. She has been dancing and deepening her knowledge of the oriental dance since 1997. She was as well studying flamenco, afro dance and jazz ballet. Up to these days, she still involves herself in improving and developing her classical ballet and contemporary dance knowledge. Merging these with the traditional and contemporary Egyptian dance forms – learning and performing in Egypt continuously – Mercedes created her own style, which is dynamic and floating, delicate and sensual, mysterious, still sincere and natural.

Mercedes choreographs dance-theatrical performances, is a leading teacher and guest star of several festivals all over Hungary, Europe and the World.  She is one of the first European master teachers to organize her own World famous festival, the CAIRO! Festival Budapest, a yearly organized growing oriental dance festival in Budapest, Hungary, which is now the biggest festival in Central-Europe and beyond, it’s unique in the country and for the international audience as well because of its special atmosphere.  Mercedes also has her own dance school for over 15 years and the founder and choreographer of the well known international oriental dance troupe: The Nymph Oriental Dance Company.

The choreography’s of Mercedes are professionally a real challenge for her students, as she does not keep anything for herself.  She loves to share and she is guided by a whole transmission independent on whether it is about her own modern ideas or traditional styles. Mercedes believes oriental dance is not only the finest way to connect a woman with her inner self, connect traditions and innovations, through what one can experience the whole mystery of life and femininity, but oriental dance also deserves a better place among other professional stage art forms.  Technically, her requirements are quite high, the emphasis are on presenting the variegation of the bellydance through the personal message of the dancer. As she believes there is no dance without real emotions – especially no oriental dance.

MAHAILA EL HELWA (BRAZIL)-  Mahaila El Helwa is a renowned instructor, performer and choreographer of Oriental dance.  Mahaila is one of the well-known instructors of Brazil who is known for her unique style and precise technique.  In addition to her work in Brazil, she has taught workshops and performed in many countries throughout the world. She improves her dance with great masters of oriental dance and travels constantly to Egypt to improve her dance.  In 2017, she opened the "Mahaila El Helwa Studio - Arab Oriental Dance" in Sao Paulo / Brazil.  Today, she is a top-favorite master teacher of many students who are intrigued and inspired by her personality and dance individuality.

JIZZELLE ALEXIS (USA)-  Jizzelle is a sought out Oriental Dancer who also specializes in Iraqi and Khaleeji dance forms.  Known for her natural, energetic performance style, she is a popular dancer across Southern California – including Arabic clubs, television, music videos, theater, concerts, celebrity events, and special occasions.  Raised in a Latin family that loves music and dance, Jizzelle’s passion for the arts was cultivated at an early age.  She now draws her greatest inspiration from the stars of Egyptian & Lebanese style Bellydance, traveling to study with master teachers and perfect her craft.  Jizzelle is also the Co-Producer of Shimmy Shakedown Dance Festival and the Creator/Artistic Director of Amirat Al Sharq Dance Company.  Aside from being a professional dancer, she has her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies from CSULB.  To see Jizzelle’s upcoming performances, events and teaching schedule, you can visit her website at

AMIR SOFI- A world class Middle Eastern percussionist.  His mastery and talent has given him the honor of performing and recording with some of the world’s most celebrated artists from around-the-world and also, his unique drumming style has been featured in popular film soundtracks. Amir has worked with the finest artists in various Middle Eastern musical genres and has worked with the finest Persian Singers. Additionally, he has worked extensively with many of today’s top belly dancers and produces the best bellydance/world music for dancers to purchase and add to their set list or class list. Amir puts his heart and soul into his music and works with the highest quality musicians and the biggest orchestras in Egypt at the top studios there and in Hollywood to bring this epic musical recording to life. You can listen to his music on his website at


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