About Samantha

With a prestigious 21-year dance career, Samantha Riggs has amassed an impressive portfolio in both traditional and original dance styles. She specializes in Bollywood, Bhangra, Tribal Style Bellydance, Tribal Fusion, Fire Arts, and Fight Choreography for Dancers, and is the creator of the innovative “Improvisational Bollywood Tribal” dance style.

Samantha is the Founder, Director, and Choreographer for Portico Dance Company, based in Bellingham, Wash. Her past directorial projects from her time living in Arizona include Boom Boom Bollywood, The Sexy Scallywags Dance Circus, and Fyrae fire arts troupe. She is a core performer and the costume designer for Jamila Lotus Renaissance bellydance troupe and was the assistant director as well as a core dancer, teacher, musician and choreographer for Domba Tribal Fusion Dance Troupe (winners of the 2006 Zaghareet “Best Troupe” award) from 1996 until their peaceful dissolution in late 2006.

Samantha has traveled the world teaching Bollywood Style Dance, Bhangra, Tribal Style Bellydance, Tribal Fusion, Fire Arts, and Fight Choreography for Dancers. She specializes in Bollywood and Bhangra dance and has taught and performed both traditional and original choreographies in those forms, as well as developing a vocabulary of improvisational “Bollywood Tribal” combinations. Her latest obsessions are with Rajasthani dance, “Golden Age” Bollywood and folk style bhangra, as well as getting back to the roots of bellydance in America and incorporating good ol’ fashioned cabaret style into Portico’s repertoire using Laz, Aksak and Sama’i rhythms.

Her innovative “Minnat Kare” choreography won Boom Boom Bollywood first place in the Aashiyana All-Indus Dance Competition in 2007. Portico Dance Company performed and taught at a panel at the 2012 Emerald City Comicon in Seattle. Recently she has taught classes and performed in England, Scotland, California, Texas, Washington, Oregon, North Carolina, and Chicago.

For Samantha, Art is really all about saving the World through an unadulterated, fearless and unapologetic expression of Love and belief in the benevolence of others.

Samantha is also a tall ship sailor and gunner. She can often be found somewhere off the west coast of the United States or Canada, 70-90 feet in the air in the rigging, hauling like mad on a halyard, happily covered in pine tar or firing the black powder cannons of the brig Lady Washington.

Portico Dance Company performs traditional and original pieces in the styles of Bollywood, Bhangra, and Tribal Belly Dance. Portico is an Italian word referring to a porch supported by columns and the name is intended as a salute to the power of community. The troupe is based in Washington but includes collaborating artists from all over the country.

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