Photo of Shira



PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Foreign Dancers in Egypt

With Performing Licenses



Table of Contents



About This List

This is a list of foreign (non-Egyptian) dancers who have held licenses to perform raqs sharqi in Egypt. This list was compiled through a collaborative effort of many members of the now-defunct belly dance forum known as In order to be included, a dancer must meet these criteria:

  • Hold a valid legal license to perform
  • The license must be for raqs sharqi (not folkloric dance)

If you have additions or corrections to suggest, please contact Shira.

If you are one of the dancers on this list, you may submit a photo of yourself to include. Use the "contact Shira" link to make Shira aware that you have a photo that you would like to send, and she will respond to you with instructions on how to send it. You must have the permission of the photographer to use it. The photo should be a width of 230 pixels.



Over the Decades

In the 1970's, it was possible to work in some venues without having a performer license. Therefore, not everybody who worked professionally in Egypt had licenses at that time. Later, the laws were changed.

Around 1984, Egyptian dancers rebelled at the influx of "foreigners" and demanded laws that would make it more difficult for foreigners to work there. The new law stipulated that foreigners could work in only one venue at a time, rather than having multiple jobs at multiple venues as they previously had done. The license identified which venue was authorized. When that contract ended, the dancer needed to quickly find a new venue and update the license.


Began in the 1970's

Dancer Where From? When Licensed? Comments Photo
Judy Jihan Reda (Judy Goldberg) U.S.A. ?   None Submitted
Feiruz Aram U.S.A. 1976-1977 Need to confirm whether she actually held a license or performed without one. None Submitted
Elizabeth May Switzerland ?   None Submitted
Shems (Lisa Loewenguth) U.S.A. ?   None Submitted
Morocco U.S.A. 1979-1983

Performed on the Kasr el Nil boat, at Salt & Pepper, and other venues.

Also performed in Luxor with the Banat Maazin.

Sultana (of Queens) U.S.A. ?   None Submitted.


Began in the 1980's

Dancer Where From? When Licensed? Comments Photo
Asmahan United States Initially, 1980. Later, 1990-1995. Danced at Cairo Meridian, MenaHouse, Nile Hilton, Cairo Sheraton, Hyatt El Sallam, Holiday Inn, and Cave du Rois. Also danced in London, before going to Cairo. None submitted.
Leyla Amir U.S.A. 1981 - 1990 Danced at Balloon Theater, Al Hamra, Gouna City, Sheraton Heliopolis, Holiday Inn Pyramids, and Mena House. Leila Amir
Yasmin Henkesh U.S.A. 1981 - 1983   None Submitted
Badia Star Canada 1982 - 1986 Held contracts at Cairo Marriott, Ramses Hilton, Sallam Hyatt Heliopolis and Siag Penta. Performed at hundreds of weddings, festivals, and concerts. Badia Star
Aegela U.S.A. 1983 - 1985

Performed at the Hotel Alex in Alexandria. Also performed for weddings at the Nile Hilton in Cairo and the Alhambra in Heliopolis.

One of very few foreigners to be granted a Lifetime Performer's license by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, which  allows her to return to Egypt to work as a dancer as long as she holds a valid U.S. passport.

None Submitted
Shareen el Safy U.S.A. 1988 - 1992   None Submitted
Samasem Sweden 1989 - 2004

Hotels that Samesem performed at include the Safir in Doqqi, Nile Hilton, Mena House, Meridien in Cairo, Semiramis, and Sheraton.

Nightclubs that she performed at include Sunset, Tivoli, and Cave de Roi.

Sahra Saeeda U.S.A. 1989 - 1995 Performed at the Meridien Hotel in Heliopolis. None Submitted
Safiya U.S.A. Early 1980's Performed in London, Cairo, and Alexandria. None Submitted
Kamelia Brazil ? She danced at the Semiramis Intercontinental. None Submitted
Diana Tarkan France 1995?   None Submitted
Karima Japan   Sahra Saeeda met her while in Egypt. None Submitted
Sohaila U.S.A.   She danced at the Meridien Hotel in Cairo. None Submitted
Marina Russia      
Amar & Shams Russia   At first, they worked as a duet. Later, Shams worked as a soloist.  


Began in the 1990's

Dancer Where From? When Licensed? Comments Photo
Zeina Sweden 1990-1994 She worked 3 years at Safir Etap Hotel in Doqqi, 3 months at Baron Hotel in Heliopolis, and 3 months at Sheraton Montaza Hotel in Alexandria. None Submitted
Nesma Spain 1993 - 1998 In the photo, Nesma dances as Ahmed Adaweya sings for her. Nesma and Adaweya
Yasmina United Kingdom 1995 - 2002 She danced at the Meridien Hotel in Heliopolis after Jalilah Zamora left. None Submitted
Jalilah Zamora U.S.A. 1995-1995 She danced at the Meridien Hotel in Heliopolis from February to August. She danced at the Venzia in Alexandria from August through October. None Submitted
Nour Russia 1997 - ?   None Submitted
Caroline Evanoff Australia 1998 - Current "Current" as of January 2011. None Submitted
Tamra Henna U.S.A. ?   None Submitted
Eva Spain     None Submitted
Sakti Rinek U.S.A. 1991 - 1995 License was with Casino el Nar nightclub in Zamalek. Also obtained special permission to perform at Shepherd Hotel in Garden City. Was the first foreign dancer to be granted special permission to dance in the Egyptian Officer clubs. Sakti Rinek
Asmahan Argentina 1999 - 2010   None Submitted
Liza Laziza ? ?   None Submitted
Keti Sharif Australia 1993-1993 Performed at the Ramses Hilton with the Hassan Folklore group. Later, some corporate events, Red Sea performances, film appearances, tv spots that did not require a license. None Submitted
Ketty France ? Was certainly working in Egypt in 2003, on the Nile Maxim at the time. None Submitted
Katya Russia mid-1990's - ?   None Submitted


Began After 2000

Dancer Where From? When Licensed? Comments Photo
Majken Wærdahl Norway 2000-2001

Held a steady job on the Nile Maxim in 2000, sharing the place with Nour. Also worked steadily at the Sheraton. During this period, used a stage name of "Hanin". Manager was Ehab Akef, who was also Nour's manager.

Beginning spring 2001, transitioned to a new manager and worked on the Nile Pharaon boats, using a stage name of "Nagham".

Appeared in Raqia Hassan's Volume 5 instructional video under the name "Micken".

Photo by Lars Ervik.

Majken Wærdahl
Soraya Brazil 2002 - Current "Current" as of January 2011 None Submitted
Leila Farid U.S.A. 2002 - Current "Current" as of January 2011 None Submitted
Kasumi Japan ? Was already dancing in Cairo as of 2005 None Submitted
Outi Finland 2005 - Current "Current" as of September 2013 Outi
Marinna Hafsa Portugal 2005 - Current "Current" as of January 2011 None Submitted
Joana Saahirah Portugal 2006 - Current "Current" as of January 2011 None Submitted
Lorna Gow Scotland 2006 - Current

"Current" as of January 2011.

Performs on the Nile Pharaoh.

None Submitted
Magda Monti Argentina 2010 - Current

"Current" as of January 2011.

Performs on the Nile Pharaoh.

None Submitted
Sabriye Tekbilek U.S.A. 2010 - 2011

Danced at the Semiramis.

Sabriye Tekbilek
Diana Esposito (Luna) U.S.A. 2010 - Current Contracted at the Semiramis in 2010. Contracted at the Nile Memphis in 2011. None Submitted
Cherine France ? She danced at Mena House. None Submitted
Dalila Italy ? She danced at Semiramis. None Submitted



Can You Tell Us About These?

These dancers were identified in a discussion thread on as possibly having held performer licenses in Egypt. Do you know any of them, or are you one of them? If so, can you please confirm whether or not a license was held, and if so, for what years? Please send your answers to Shira.

Dancer Country of Origin Comments
Maya Sarsa France Now living in France with her Egyptian husband, a drummer.
Amera Eid Australia Has performed in Sharm el-Sheik (where it's possible to perform without a license), but to my knowledge she hasn't ever held a license in Egypt.
Marte Kjøll Norway Stage name is Marte. Not licensed. In Egypt since 2009.



Do You Have Additions or Corrections to Offer?

Please contact Shira with any corrections, additions, or updates you can offer.



Copyright Notice

This entire web site is copyrighted. All rights reserved.

All articles, images, forms, scripts, directories, and product reviews on this web site are the property of Shira unless a different author/artist is identified. Material from this web site may not be posted on any other web site unless permission is first obtained from Shira.

Academic papers for school purposes may use information from this site only if the paper properly identifies the original article on using appropriate citations (footnotes, end notes, etc.) and bibliography. Consult your instructor for instructions on how to do this.

If you wish to translate articles from into a language other than English, Shira will be happy to post your translation here on along with a note identifying you as the translator. This could include your photo and biography if you want it to. Contact Shira for more information. You may not post translations of Shira's articles on anybody else's web site, not even your own.

If you are a teacher, performer, or student of Middle Eastern dance, you may link directly to any page on this web site from either your blog or your own web site without first obtaining Shira's permission. Click here for link buttons and other information on how to link.



Explore more belly dance info:

Top >
Belly Dancing >
Index to the Belly Dance Then and Now Section


Share this page!

On Facebook


 Top > Belly Dancing > About Belly Dance

| Contact Shira | Links | Search this Site |