Karavan Instructors....




Karen Barbee Adkisson began studying Belly Dance at the age of 10. Decades later and after years of professional performance, Karen has developed a teaching methodology for this dance form based on technical precision, soulful innovation, and cultural respect. Having begun her study of Belly Dance during the 1970’s, a period of limited explanations, she developed her own. With degrees in Accounting and Computer Science, Karen’s analytical tendencies, training and skills have assisted her in developing methods and curricula that are extremely popular in the western world.

Through her years of performing and teaching, she has traveled the United States, Europe, Central and South America, Asia, and several countries in the Arab world.

A pioneer in online Middle Eastern dance instruction, Karen has introduced and populated a library of online instruction that simulates her established studio; offering classes in dance technique, combinations, choreographies, improvisation, and music studies.

Karen founded Karavan Studio in 1988 and has operated the studio in San Antonio, Texas ever since. She has directed numerous staged productions of Middle Eastern Dance, studied and performed in Egypt and Lebanon, and continues to collaborate and work with some of the most highly acclaimed musicians in the business in an effort to provide the most inspired and comprehensive dance training to students at every level.

Since 2013, Karen's passion project has been "Project Band" - the one-of-a-kind curriculum that she developed out of her decades of experience working with live Arab music.  




Cindy has been Belly Dancing for almost 25 years, building on a strong ballet, jazz, and modern dance background.

She has danced with Karavan since 2000 focusing on American cabaret style with a short stint from 2007 to 2009 where she dabbled with tribal fusion and American tribal style.

Cindy loves occasionally dancing with props, including cane, sword, and especially anything silk (veil, fan veil, etc.).

She has been an instructor and choreographer for Karavan since 2009.




Jessica graduated from Texas State University with a degree in Dance Education.

As assistant dance director at Roosevelt High School she choreographed and taught various dance routines and dance elements related to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills(TEKS). She also taught hip-hop classes at Gold's Gym and modern dance classes at Synergy Studio & Karavan Studio.

Jessica began Belly Dancing in 2006 and has been teaching Belly Dance choreographies and technique classes at Karavan Studio since 2014. She continues her professional development through classes and workshops from other dancers to expand her knowledge and improve her technique.




Sara is both a visual and performing artist based in San Antonio, Texas. In just over a decade of dedication to Middle Eastern dance, she has developed her signature style characterized by a curvilinear fluidity and soulful expression.

Known for her talent with zils (finger cymbals), Sara has performed at countless public and private events including weddings, birthday parties, surprise parties, celebrity galas, Fiesta and sporting events. Sara can be found performing weekly as one of the principal dancers at Mina and Dimi’s Greek House.

Sara did not become interested in dance until 2003 when she was looking for a new form of exercise. After learning a few basic steps from videos, she pursued formal training in Middle Eastern Dance with master instructor Karen Barbee Adkisson of Karavan Studios in 2004. Today Sara continues to study with Karen and many other world renowned Middle Eastern Dance professionals.




Suzanne Suzanne is a performer, award winning competitor, and choreographer having 20+ years of experience in several dance styles with a strength in Fusion dance.

She has headlined, taught, and/or performed in various galas, BD festivals, public events, restaurants, private parties, recitals, and showcases across Texas, Georgia, and Florida.

Suzanne Suzanne continues to teach specialty workshops and is currently, a performer, choreography instructor & Project Band member at Karavan Studio.




Karen G is most often known as "Baby Karen" around Karavan and Project Band.

She started Belly Dance as a self taught/YouTube learner in 2008 while at college in New York.  After hopping around due to work, she landed back in San Antonio where she grew up.

She has been with Karavan since 2016 and in Project Band since 2018. She started her dance journey in a tribal fusion style but, since her introduction to more Arabic music, has transitioned to more of an American Cabaret style.

"Baby Karen" has been an instructor with Karavan since 2020. 




Victoria “Vic” Cruz became interested in creating choreography long before she ever learned any actual dance technique, performing her first work at the age of 8 to “Rhinestone Cowboy” for a bemused audience of neighborhood children.

When a serious leg injury at age 14 ended her extremely unsuccessful participation in soccer, she began taking (jazz) dance classes as a way to spend even more time with her best friend, and discovered an affinity for moving to music that became a lifelong pursuit. A high school gym class, followed by joining the after school dance club, introduced Victoria to the craft of choreography in an environment that supported creative exploration over technical expertise.

The dance department at Kenyon College provided a similar “safe space” for Victoria to experiment with choreography, as well as to collaborate with musicians, costume and set designers. Participation in intensive Summer programs at the Harvard Dance Center during high school, and later as an undergraduate at the American Dance Festival, exposed Victoria to a wide range of dance technique and performance, with opportunities to learn from some of the most distinguished choreographers of the time, as well as those who knew and worked with the pioneers of Modern Dance.

This continued after college through studies at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, and at the Peridance Center in NYC. Realizing that professional dance as a career was not a realistic option, Victoria earned a Master’s Degree in Dance/Movement Therapy, and shifted focus to facilitating movement experiences for “non-dancers” of all ages as an adjunct to psychiatric and counseling treatment, in a variety of settings. Throughout this post-undergraduate period to the present day, Victoria has continued to study various genres of dance technique, performing in studio “recital” settings, with small local dance companies, and later on workshop stages, in restaurants and at private events as a belly dancer.

She began studying Middle Eastern dance at Karavan Studio with Karen Barbee Adkinson in 2006, and (except for a hiatus in 2019/2020) has been actively involved in Project Band since the very beginning! She continues to participate virtually from her home in AZ, traveling back to TX for in-person practice as often as possible, because she believes that there’s no other experience that provides the same opportunity for physical, intellectual and creative growth.