Kim Leary (Alexia) is a world dance performer, choreographer and instructor in Central New Jersey.  She is Co-Artistic Director of Groove Merchant Drum & Dance Ensemble and Co-Director of her school, The Drum & Dance Learning Center in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.  Kim has been involved in the multi-cultural music and dance genre since 1989.

Ms. Leary has performed at numerous venues such as Lincoln Center, The Ohio Theatre (SOHO), CAMI Hall (NYC), DanceSpace (NYC), FIT (NYC), The Evolving Arts Theatre (NYC), The Black Box Theatre (NJ), as well as at many colleges, universities, and festivals as a soloist and with her own dance company, SaZ Dance Theatre, Jamila Salimpour's Bal Anat and Dalia Carella's DNA Project.

Kim holds a certification in Training & Development as well as in Multiple Intelligences and the Arts from Kean University. She is a Level 2 Certified Dancer in the Suhaila Salimpour Dance Format since 2000 and Certified Level Two in the Jamila Salimpour Dance Format since 2008 and earned a Level Two Certification in Sahra Saeeda's Journey Through Egypt Program. Kim received a dance scholarship award from Dance New Jersey in 2010 and was voted New Jersey's Favorite Belly Dance Teacher in 2008, 2010 and 2013.

She has taught a variety of workshop topics at many festivals and events including Rakkasah East, Spring Caravan andThe Austin Belly Dance Convention .

Her acclaimed dance company, Groove Merchant Drum & Dance Ensemble has performed at festivals and theatres nationally and their performances have been partially supported by funds from the NJ State Council on the Arts.


  • Voted 2008, 2010 and 2013 NJ's Favorite Belly Dance Teacher
  • 2010 Awarded Dance NJ Studio Owner Education Scholarship
Guest Instructor
  • Austin Belly Dance Convention
  • Art of the Belly
  • Rakkasah East
  • Spring Caravan
  • Jewels Of the Orient Festival
  • Raven's Night (DC)
  • Rider University Dance Program
  • Princeton University Theatre and Dance Program
  • Vintage Oriental Showcase @ JeBon (NYC), Solo - "PanOriental Suite"
  • NY Theatrical Belly Dance Conference 2013 @DROM (NYC) - Groove Merchant - "Higher"
  • Roxy & Dukes's Belly Dance Night 2013 (NJ) - Groove Merchant - "Tabla";"Higher" & "Drum Solo"
  • Dena Steven's "Spice Box" 2013 @ Bickford Theatre (NJ) & Players Theatre (NYC) - Groove Merchant debut of "Thyme Clock"
  • Belly Dance Superstar's "Club Belly Dance" 2012 @Open Arts Theatre (NJ) - Curated show and performance with Groove Merchant - "Get to Work by Nine" & "Avalon"
  • Belly Dance Superstar's "Club Belly Dance" 2012 @Arundle CC Theatre (MD) - Solo "Tabla" & Groove Merchant - "Avalon"
  • Suhaila & Jamila Salimpour's Bal Anat 2007 @St. Louis (MO) - Solo "Turk" & 2011 @Austin (TX) - Groove Merchant "Tzigane"
  • NY Theatrical Belly Dance Conference 2011 @DNA (NYC) - Groove Merchant - "Get to Work by Nine"
  • NY Theatrical Belly Dance Conference 2010 @DNA (NYC) - Groove Merchant - "Barefoot Baile" and duet with Lisa Botalica "Felag Mengu"
  • I'll Have What She's Having Dance Project 2010 @ Rider University (NJ) - Groove Merchant - "Raks El Zagat"; "Avalon"
  • Austin Belly Dance Convention 2011 (TX) - Groove Merchant "Avalon" & "Raks al Assaya"
  • Alborada Dance Company's "The Journey" 2009 @The Monroe Arts Center (NJ) - Groove Merchant -"Raks al Assaya" and duet with Lisa Botalica "Felag Mengu"
  • I'll Have What She's Having Dance Project 2009 @Rider University (NJ) - duet with Lisa Botalica "Felag Mengu"
  • Women's History Month Project 2009 @The Kennedy Center (NJ) - Curated the show
  • "Azsmara presents...", @ Theatre East (NYC) 2000 - Soloist
  • SaZ Dance Theatre - "Out of Time" 11 show run 1996 @ The Ohio Theatre (SOHO, NYC) - Dance Company Member
  • SaZ Dance Theatre - "Of Hope" 1995 @ CAMI Hall (NYC) - Dance Company Member
  • 1989 - 2000 - Solo performer with various entertainment agencies and Arab Cultural Associations.
  • "Serena presents..." 1991 @ Damrosch Park Lincoln Center (NYC) - "Nasim"
  • "Serena Presents..." 1990 @ Fazil's Night Club (NYC) - Soloist with band.
Multi-Cultural Dance & Music since 1989
  • 1989-91 Tasha (Oriental Dance)
  • 1989-92 Serena Wilson (Oriental Dance)
  • 1991-94 Elena Lentini (Oriental Dance)
  • 1991-95 Richard Gonzales (Afro-Carribean Dance)
  • 1994-98 Aszmara/Roberta Koch - SaZ Dance Theatre NYC (Multi-Cultural Dance Theatre)
  • 1998-Present Dave Meritt (Music Theory & West African Percussion)
  • 2001-2003 Artemis Mourat (Turkish Oriental)
  • 2002 & 2009 Dalia Carella (Oriental Dance & Dunyavi World Dance, Dance Theatre)
  • 2005-Present Audrey Davis (West African Dance)
  • 1999 - Present Suhaila Salimpour (Suhaila Salimpour Format)
  • 2000 - Present Jamila Salimpour (Jamila Salimpour Format)
  • 2013 - Present Donna Mejia
This is a select list of teachers I have spent 50+ hours with each in the course of my studies.  So many more have inspired me through workshops and private lessons.

DDLC | 4054 Quakerbridge Road, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648 | | 
web - www.drumdancecenter.com      email - ddlcnj(at)gmail.com