Belly Dance with Aisha Ali

Aisha Ali portrait

Aisha Ali is an internationally recognized authority on the dances of Egypt and North Africa. Following her successes in the United States, she performed widely in Europe and the Middle East. She directed her folkloric ensemble, the Aisha Ali Dance Company, for over twenty years. 

In 1971, Aisha began traveling to the Middle East to observe firsthand many traditional forms of dance not seen in the United States. She made subsequent visits to Egypt, Algeria, and Tunisia from 1973 to 1997 to document folkloric materials that were fast disappearing. As a result, she has released 4 LPs and twelve audio and video recordings from her research

Aisha AliIn 1973, after performing as the featured soloist at the Municipal Theater in Sfax, Tunisia, the Maison de la Culture asked Aisha to form a local dance company. Later that year, she filmed and recorded various tribal gatherings of the Ouled Naïl in Algeria, a tribe famous for their dancing women. Over the years, she has frequently danced at celebrations in Upper Egypt with the Banat Mazin Ghawazee, a family of  Nawar gypsies. 

Aisha AliIn 1984, Aisha directed the performers representing North African countries for the Los Angeles Olympics opening festival.  In New York, the American Academy of Middle Eastern Dance inducted her into their Hall of Fame in 1994. She was an honored speaker and soloist at the International Conference of Middle Eastern Dance at Orange Coast College In 2000 and was later featured in an Egyptian folk dance program at Cornell University. 

Aisha AliFor many years, Aisha contributed articles to Arabesque magazine, Habibi, and various Middle East dance journals. Other publications include a report on the Ouled Naïl published by the International Institute for the Study of Islam, the section on Egypt for the JVC/Smithsonian “Anthology of World Music and Dance,” presentation on “Africa” and articles on Algeria and the Ouled Naïl in the International Encyclopedia of Dance published by the Oxford University Press. 

Aisha AliIn addition to teaching classes at her Los Angeles studio, Aisha gives lectures/demonstrations at universities and conducts workshops and master classes worldwide. In addition to teaching and performing, Aisha devotes time to oil painting, writing her autobiography, and an ongoing project to update her unpublished collection of music and films to the latest digital form. 

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