Leila has been performing and teaching with Sahara Dance since its inception and has enjoyed the various roles she has had as part of the studio. She is dedicated to sharing the joy of belly dance with her students and helping them achieve their goals for performance, health, and having fun.
Leila has performed in several restaurants, nightclubs and at private events throughout the Washington, D.C. area, and formerly in West Palm Beach, Fl. She was a regularly featured dancer at Marrakesh, Zaytinya, Skewers and Marrakesh Palace. Her dance style is a blend of American, Egyptian and Lebanese, with influences from national and international performers and choreographers. She has performed with veil, cane, candle tray, zills (finger cymbals) and sword, and enjoys sharing these techniques with students.
Leila began her study of raqs sharqi with local Oriental dance artists including Rachel Kay Brookmire and has also participated in workshops with international stars and choreographers of belly dance including: Amar Gamal, Suhaila Salimpour, Ansuya, Karim Nagi, Aziza, Bozenka, Jillina, Nourhan and Yousry Sharif, Virginia, Leila of Cairo, Aida Nour and Mahmoud Reda.
In addition to Sahara Dance, she has studied at the Middle Eastern Dance Exchange in South Beach, Miami, as well as with the Egyptian Academy in New York City. Leila has also traveled to Cairo, Egypt, to study with top choreographers and performers. She is currently focusing her studies on the music, culture and geography that have shaped the ancient art of raqs sharqi. Leila is a member of Sahara Dance’s professional company in residence, Raqs Sahara.
Prior to her Oriental dance studies she trained as a dancesport athlete in International Style Latin with world-renowned coaches. While participating frequently in local and national competitions, she developed the discipline that is important in her current study of raqs sharqi. Leila’s movement and dance background also includes ballroom, ballet, modern and yoga. She is Power Pilates and Zumba certified, has completed Sahra Saeeda’s Journey Through Egypt level 1, and is director of the Raquettes Tahia company at Sahara Dance.
To learn more about Leila, check out her interview on Hip Talk.