The Gilded Serpent presents...
Since the years of her North Beach memories, Aisha Ali has contributed to the field of dance as a performer, teacher, filmmaker, choreographer and producer of audio recordings. During the 1960’s and 70’s she performed at virtually all the Hollywood and Westside nightclubs when she wasn’t traveling in the Middle East or appearing at out of state bookings. For many years she considered the “Fez Supper Club” as her main home base.
For twenty-five years, she directed and created choreographies for the Aisha Ali Dance Company. The group made its first appearance at the Los Angeles Music Center in 1973, and in 1974. Aisha and eight of her girls were brought to London for a six-month booking at the original Omar Khyyam on Canon Street. There they presented a program of folkloric and oriental dances, for oil sheiks and Arab royalty. The group fulfilled their six-month contract and then stayed on until the club was closed and the name Omar Khyyam was sold to some Turks who opened a new club in London’s West-end.
Born in the United States of Egyptian–Italian heritage, Ali spent years doing independent research in Egypt and North Africa, collecting folkloric traditions that were fast disappearing. Six CD's and five DVDs have been released from her collection, which includes two award-winning documentaries. Later this year She plans to release her final documentary, “A Wedding in Luxor” featuring Nawar entertainers, and will publish additional recordings of Egyptian folk music that span forty years and illustrate the ongoing stability of the genre.
Aisha has appeared on national television, talk shows and sitcoms, as well as MTV. She still performs at colleges and cultural festivals throughout the country and abroad. In 1993, Aisha was the Middle Eastern soloist for the opening of the Los Angeles Festival, later, impresario, Peter Sellers, announced her as "a national treasure". Over the years she has served as a panelist for the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival auditions, and The Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition. In1997 she was honored at an International Conference on Middle Eastern Dance. Dr. A.J. Racy nominated her for the Dance Heritage Coalition list of "America's Irreplaceable Dance Treasures”. In 1994 She was brought to New York to be inducted into the AAMED, Middle Eastern Dancers, Hall of Fame.
For years Aisha wrote articles for Arabesque magazine, as well as Habibi Magazine, about her experiences in the Middle East. At present, in addition to writing for The Gilded Serpent, she contributes to Belly Dance – A Raqs Sharqi Magazine. She has written text for the JVC/Smithsonian Anthology of World Music and Dance, and the Oxford University Press published her articles and photographs about Algerian dance and the Ouled Naïl in the International Encyclopedia of Dance.
Aisha continues to conduct workshops and participate in seminars throughout the world and teaches ongoing classes in Los Angeles. When she is not dancing, writing or video editing, she is an Orientalist painter.
Web site: www.aisha-ali.com
Articles on Gilded Serpent by or about Aisha
- 8-17-11 Arabian Nights at 12 Adler Place, North Beach Memories, Part 1:1961
Leona had introduced me to her friend Josephine, whom she described as a lovely Sicilian American woman who had recently taken the stage name of Jamila.
- 5-13-02 Aisha Ali & The Birth of the Ghawazee
" This could not possibly be a dance to take seriously", people whispered