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Mona Goldstein Atkinson is an American Israeli dance choreographer, teacher, and leader.
Early years: Mona started Israeli dancing at the age of 3 when her mother brought her to classes run by Shirley Waxman and Rocky Korr at the Greater Washington JCC. She continued dancing with her mother and her sister into her teen years when she learned from the markidim (Israeli dance instructors) in the Washington metropolitan area including Rocky Korr, Moshe Shem Tov, Helen Avner, Ken Avner, Mike Fox, Pepe Strauss, Rena Strauss, Moshany Shemesh, and many more. In high school, Mona danced with the Yesodot performance dance troupe.
University: While studying at the University of Texas, Mona lead her first Israeli dance sessions, one at the UT Union and one at the Austin JCAA. In 2002 Mona choreographed her first Israeli line dance, "Ohevet Ozevet."
Choreographer and Teacher: Mona went to Israel for a year after graduating from college and studied the Israeli dance business as well as the dances themselves. She learned from famed markidim and choreographers such as Gadi Biton, Yaron Ben Simchon, Yoram Sasson, Boaz Cohen, Avner Naim, Eyal Eliyahu, Dudu Barzilai, and Kobi Michaeli. When Mona returned to Maryland she founded RikudDC with Roee Ruttenberg and took over the Monday night session from Moshany Shemesh. She also led a Tuesday night session geared toward beginner dancers which she later passed on leadership to Mike Fox. In July 2007, Mona founded Mona Israeli Dance, an entertainment company specializing in both DJing and Israeli dance.
In 2011, Mona retired from being a regular markid; Noah Glushakow-Smith took over leadership of the RikudDC session and Ken Avner took over leadership of the Monday night session. Mona still travels to Israeli dance sessions and weekend workshops nationally and internationally to continually develop her Israeli dance and DJ skills.
Israeli Dance Festival DC: Mona was a member of the organizing Committee when the Washington area's Israeli Dance Festival DC was reborn in 2010. she has since remained active with the Festival and became the Committee chairperson in 2013 under the mentorship of Daniela Tam.
Mona's choreographies include:
Lines: Ohevet Ozevet, 2002; Tityaches Alai, 2004; Tzar Me'od, 2007; Atem Rokdim, 2009;
Partners: Harumba, 2006; Jumbo Jet, 2006;
Circles: Malachim, 2004; Hakinor, 2008; Harachaman, 2008;