Heather Stants


Performance and the arts have been a life long passion for Heather Stants. In 1994 she graduated with a degree in photography and went on to work at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. and in the commercial photography industry in Chicago.

She began her exploration of Middle Eastern dance in Chicago over ten years ago. Under the direction of Stephanie Barto, Heather became a founding member of Read My Hips.

In 1999 Heather relocated to San Diego, CA and began teaching classes in her unique approach to tribal belly dance. In late 1999 Heather's vision became reality with her creation of Urban Tribal dance company.

 UTDC began as the first company in southern California representing tribal belly dance. Over the past six years, Urban Tribal has continually pushed the boundaries of this tribal style and broken new ground.

Through their popularization of an "urban" influenced dance style, a paired down costume emphasizing body movements over ornamentation, the use of electronic music and the use of the dance form as a means of personal expression and interpretation, Urban Tribal has changed the face of contemporary belly dance.

Heather Stants, as a choreographer, respectfully borrows traditional influences and combines them with her own personal expression of living in the modern world around her creating innovative pieces that both reflect and inspire current culture.

As an instructor, Heather is known for her clear communication style and her ability to break down movements into easily understandable concepts. She teaches several weekly classes in the San Diego area. Through these classes, Heather has trained a crew of dancers to embody her fusion of belly dance and modern stylizations and inspired many more dancers across the country to step outside of the genre of Middle Eastern dance and look to other dance forms for fusion ideas.

She has trained most of San Diego's tribal dancers spawning a flourishing San Diego dance community. Heather's unique style has also made her a sought after workshop instructor in the national and international belly dance communities.