Born in Hamburg as daughter to Tjado Claasen – former captain of the high seas and later one of the most important people in post-war television – and Eva Maria Smid, executive secretary of the ANIMAL PARK HAGENBECK and tour manager of the traditional CIRCUS HAGENBECK. A childhood surrounded by travel, theatre and the circus ring.
Course of studies in social education and first encounter with Oriental Dance through projects in relation to her studies working with Turkish girls in the problematic districts of Hamburg. At the same time immersing herself in Hamburg’s artistic scene.
Meeting Stevie Teubner, father to her son Linus. Breaking off her studies and traveling through Eastern Europe and Greece for several months in a converted truck. First encounters with the culture of the Sinti and Roma.
Move to Berlin.
Travel to Italy, encounter with the PASCAL BIZARRO HURRICAN MOTORSHOW.
Successful tour through Italy, Cyprus and Greece for two years – as stuntwoman for before mentioned helldriver troop. In Cyprus again intense encounters with the music and dance of the Orient.
Birth of son Linus. Purchase of a 7-ton Mercedes Benz, construction year 1964… First encounters with the American Oriental Dance legend Feyrouz! in the TRAUMTHEATER SALOME, who later on opened the first of its kind STUDIO OASIS in Berlin. Encounter with the USA-based dancer and performance artist Kathleen Michaels.
Raksan becomes one of the personally supported master students of Feyrouz! and is procured for a 6-week guest performance as Oriental Dancer in the CIRCUS ORIENTAL of Didian Fräcks in Lucerne/ CH. Encounter with the mime Willi Forwick and first specific work in regards to stage presence and expression.
Further training in acting and stage work in the THEATERFORUM / Berlin as well as oriental dance in the STUDIO OASIS. Several workshops with lecturers from America and Egypt (see also section “Teachers”). Founding of the OASIS DANSE ENSEMBLE by Feyrouz!.
First encounter and collaboration with the founder of the newly opened SCHEINBAR VARIETES in Berlin. Travel to Egypt. First full-length show of the OASIS DANSE ENSEMBLE in the theatre tent WACKELKONTAKT in Berlin. Leaving the ensemble and touring for 3 months through Switzerland with the PALAIS ORIENTAL of Didian Fräcks.
9-month tour with the RONCALLI circus. First encounter with the artists and musicians of „PARODY PARADISE“. Procurement of the group to Berlin.
6-month tour with the ring theatre SALTI NÖGGE.
Further education in acting, dance improvisation, rhythm and modern dance through Frieder Nögge and lecturers from the renowned clown and acrobatics school SCUOLA DIMITRI/ CH.
Return to Berlin. Regular performances in, at the time, Berlin’s best known Turkish restaurant “HALIK ARNASS”. Further education in Oriental Dance and pursuit of the Turkish and Russian dances of the Roma. Reencountering the now in Berlin established artistic ensemble “PARODY PARADISE”. Performances in the SCHEINBAR and “Blauen Montag” in the QUARTIER LATIN under direction of the 3 TORNADOS.
Opening the CHAMÄLEON VARIETE under the artistic direction of individual members from “Parody Paradise” in Berlin’s then still rambunctious centre.
8-week guest performance in the SCHMIDT THEATER in Hamburg, directed by Frieder Nögge. Encounter and artistic exchange with the France-based cult-circus “CIRC O” in Hamburg. Guest performances in the legendary night-saloons of the BAR JEDER VERNUNFT and MITTERNACHTSSHOW of the CHAMÄLEON. First teaching experience in Berlin.
Encounter with the actor and comedian Leon Düvel, father to daughter Aneska.
As first Oriental Dancer repeated guest performances in all renowned vaudeville theatres across Germany and Switzerland, partly over a period of several months. Participation in international Gala events (see also section “Engagaments”). The Greek film maker and director Angeliki Antoniou dedicates the 1995 TV documentary “TAENZE DER NACHT” (engl.: Dances of the Night) to Raksan.
Selling the 7-ton truck… and moving into an apartment in Berlin-Kreuzberg.
Premiere broadcast of the documentary “Tänze der Nacht” on German TV-stations 3SAT, ARTE, ZDF and RBB. Parallel to her vaudeville appearances reencounter with the OASIS DANSE ENSEBMLE, guest performer in the Modern-Oriental Dance production “RE-GYPTA” in Berlin. The start of an artistic re-orientation in search of a contemporary interpretation of Oriental Dance. Encounter with the congenial costume designer Gabriele Kortmann… and the sabre as prop and dance partner.
Birth of daughter Aneska and return to the OASIS DANSE ENSEMBLE as a permanent member. Dance productions in Landstuhl and Berlin. First workshop as part of the WORLD OF ORIENT 01 in Hannover. Various full-length programmes with the “ODE”, most recently the sensational 2005, modernly staged (DVD) production “ORIENTAL MOTION”.
Consistent orientation as a soloist towards the international Oriental Dance scene; invitations to international Oriental Dance festivals, developing innovative and, to the Oriental Dance world, novel teaching concepts. Increased teaching activities on a national and international level, various dance productions in collaboration with the OASIS DANSE ENSEMBLE. Encounter and close artistic exchange with the dancer and choreographer Said El Amir. Further education in Dance Improvisation, Modern Dance, Jazz and Ballet.
Raksan is awarded the HALIMA 06 by the Oriental Dance magazine HALIMA for her intense work in artistic creation and exceptional stage presence.
On occasion of the MAJMA Festival of Oriental Dance, Raksan’s first solo production “RAKSAN IS DANCING! 46 MINUTES.“ premieres in Glastonbury / GB and finds great acclaim. Further guest performances follow, taking place on the stages of the INTERNATIONALEN THEATERS in Frankfurt/ Main, as part of the renowned ORIENTALE in the Tanzhaus NRW, at the Oriental Dance festival SIROCCO in Frome/ GB and in Bern/ CH. Raksan starts to integrate the dynamic form of yoga into her own as well as the classroom training programmes.
As one of the leading artists and lecturers for Contemporary Oriental Dance, Raksan dances and teaches workshops, seminars and project series in Europe. Through her consistency and inspiring strength she increasingly influences especially the young generation of oriental dancers living in the western world. Numerous interviews with her and reviews about her work have been published in the international trade press. During the “FESTIVAL OF ARABIC ARTS AND CULTURE” in Liverpool/ GB, Raksan talks about the approach to her work – and also performs her solo “RAKSAN IS DANCING! 46 MINUTES”.
Building on the impressions and experiences gathered in the TAI (TanzAusdruckImprovisation – engl.: Dance Expression Improvisation) workshops, a new focus originates: Twice a year Raksan works on project series with a fixed group to present the results in open show exhibitions. Ambitious beginners as well as professional dancers work together under the artistic direction of Raksan to bring the ‘magic of the moment’ onto stage under the name of “SECRET LILA”. After the stirring pilot project in cooperation with the studio CAHAR in Düsseldorf, more classes follow in Bern/ CH, and Stuttgart. Next to her constantly increasing work as workshop lecturer and performer, Raksan performs her solo “RAKSAN IS DANCING! 46 MINUTES” for the 10th time as part of the 10th Brandenburg Oriental Festival in the WASCHHAUSARENA Potsdam – and at the same time celebrates her 25th anniversary as a dancer, choreographer and teacher in the world of Contemporary Oriental Dance. This is honoured, amongst other things, with a picture in the reissue of the cult-book of oriental dance, the “SNAKE OF THE NILE” by Wendy Buonaventura.
To be continued ...

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