Artistic Director | Elena Faye is an award-winning performer and teacher based in the DC metropolitan area. Born into a family of dancers, painters, and musicians, Elena was surrounded by art from a young age. She first began belly dancing at the age of 14, under the instruction of DC-based dancer Najwah (Karen McLane). After four years of study, Elena relocated to New York City in order to pursue her undergraduate degree at Columbia University's Barnard College.
During her time in New York, Elena had the opportunity to study and collaborate with respected artists such as Jillina, Nourhan Sharif, Ranya Renee, Luna of Cairo, and Kaeshi Chai, among others. She also spent three years as President of the Columbia University Bellydance Troupe, which is host to the annual Collegiate Middle Eastern Dance Conference.
After earning her degree in Middle Eastern Language & Culture with a Minor in Dance, Elena returned to DC and began teaching at Saffron Dance, where she now holds the role of Artistic Director. She also spent several years as a member of Ancient Rhythms Dance Company and of the Nomad Dancers, where she first fell in love with Persian and Central Asian dances. During her time with the Nomad Dancers she was fortunate to work with Uzbek choreographer Olimdjon Beknazarov, with whom she continues to study today.
In addition to belly dance, Elena studied Irish Step dance for 7 years, and has explored Ballet, Flamenco, Garba/raas, Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Persian dance, Central Asian dances, Modern, and, most recently, Bachata & Salsa.