The Gilded Serpent presents...
Amina began dancing professionally in 1966 at San Francisco's famous Bagdad Cabaret, where she was a principal nightly dancer for twenty years. Amina's teaching career began in 1971. Soon after, she founded The Aswan Dancers, the premiere Egyptian dance company. She also founded The Cairo Cats Band and co-founded The Arabian Knights Band. As a master teacher, Amina also teaches percussion and Arabic song translation, pointing out understanding the music and the meaning of the music is key to understanding the dance. She has played backup percussion for musicians such as Susu Pampanin, Reda Darwish, and George, Elias and Tony Lammam. For the past several years she has been back-up percussionist with Georges Lammam's dance band now performing every Friday night.
Amina continues to study, to teach and perform. She has five regular dance classes a week, bimonthly Drumming Workshops for Dancers, biweekly drum classes and weekly cabaret performance classes. She has troupe rehearsals twice a week and continues to dance with and choreograph The Aswan Dancers for their weekly appearance at an Egyptian club. As a favorite of the Arabic community, she always has a venue at Middle Eastern nightclubs where she dances and performs percusson with the Band while spotlighting her student dancers. Amina sings with Aswat, San Francisco's only Arabic choir specializing in classical Arabic music. In addition, she has a full schedule of private classes focusing on training dancers for professional performance.
In 1991, Amina created The Giza Club, an Arabic cultural organization that sponsors dancers and musicians, cultural lectures and performances. Giza Club members are worldwide and guide The Giza Academy of Music and Legends of Middle Eastern Dance Videos (The Giza Awards). Amina has produced two videos: the documentary "Hizz ya Wiz," and "Nadia in America," with the Egyptian star Nadia Hamdi.
With more than thirty-five years of Middle Eastern Dance experience, AMINA feels that she had just now reached her full teaching potential. In 1994, AMINA was inducted into the Middle Eastern Hall of Fame in New York, (AAMED).
Articles on Gilded Serpent by or about Amina Goodyear
Dance Career Memoir, Reviews, Interviews
and Other Articles
1: One Ad Changed My Life
I was very desperate and determined to get back to my old self.
2: "I'd Rather Stay Home with my Kids"
I asked her how to take it off, and she told me to figure it out when I was on stage. Then I heard - "Our "guest" dancer, Amina, all the way from upstairs!"
3: A Marriage Made in North Beach
The stage was alight with the flames of the candelabrum’s candles and the eerie glow of her costume. Fatma’s costumes were always comprised of material that glowed in the dark as her show began with no light—except for “black light”.
Chapter 4: Smokin'
Now that I was legitimately part of the Bagdad family and on the payroll, Yousef told me that all the dancers had to split their tips 50/50 with the band. This meant that I was making less money than when I wasn’t getting paid at all.
Chapter 5: Listen to the Music
Yousef wanted us to look exotic, like we were from the Middle East, so he made us stay downstairs, look available and wear sexy, skimpy pantaloon outfits or diaphanous caftans when we were not dancing.
On my first Monday at the Casa Madrid, Bert came to support the place and me. Well, what he saw was equivalent to a San Francisco earthquake.
7: Yousef – Black Lights and Veils
It was kind of hard to compete with this kind of action when we kept our clothes on.
Magana Baptiste, Dancing for a Queen
I became a "Princess" from Siam. None of my classmates knew anything about Siam except that it was exotic; so I was accepted because I was "exotic".
- 5-19-11 Walk Like an Egyptian
Before I learned to "walk like an Egyptian", I wanted to drum like an African! Since my early teens, I had been collecting African drum LPs (as well as conga and bongo drums) and was either dancing like a possessed child or trying to make rhythms happen on drum skins.
Reviews of Products and Events
- 3-16-11 Amera's Dina DVD Reviewed An evening of Arabic Dance and Music featuring World Renowned Belly Dance Artist DINA
Nonetheless, we need to move beyond her expressions. Her dance is Dina. She is agile, melodic, rhythmic, and her movements are so intertwined with the lyrics and the music that she exists as the music–always reaching out to us and, thereby, bridging the gap.
Egyptian Classical Music: Entertainment or Education?
The Art of the Early Egyptian Qanun Vol. 1 & 2, performed by The Traditional Arabic Music Ensemble & Egyptian Taqasim: Produced and distributed by Nesma
Where There is Music, There is Dance. Ahla Andalusi, 40 Days & 1001 Nights
They are islands of beauty and as the two albums dance in my head, I am lost in a dream of visions – colors, light and dark, pure and hazy, and smells of incense and flowers wafting in the breeze of temperate temperature which encircle me and the choreographies of my mind.
And I thought I Knew Him, Horacio Cifuentes: Confessions of a MaleBelly Dancer
Yes, I thought I knew Horacio Cifuentes, a San Francisco dancer who moved to Berlin to be with and wed Beata Zadou. After reading his book, I realized I really did not know him. The book, “Confessions of a Male Belly Dancer”, is exactly that. It is a self-produced autobiography written in a very sincere, almost shockingly honest way. It is personal and personable.
Fusing Jazz with Middle Eastern, Souren’s "Taksim, It’s About Time" and Vince’s "Beginnings"
However, in all reality, now in this world when we fuse a Belly dance with everything as well as the kitchen sink (pots, spoons, mop handles, bowls, vases, trays) why not consider seriously performing to one or both of these Jazz fusion CDs played by some of the most respected Middle Eastern musicians in the field? If dancers perform already with fusion music, why not use music that is specifically fusion?
Recreating the Live Sounds of Egypt, Yasmin’s "Dancing with Genies-Hafla al Afareet"
Upon first hearing this CD, I liked, no, I loved, the way it sounded like a live show. Exciting! Nevertheless, I question why some tracks sounded like they were recorded in a sterile studio.
Creating and Listening to Musical Ecstacy, CD Review-Yasmin’s "Cry to the Moon, Taqsim lil Qamar"
Taqsim traditionally follows a certain melodic progression… Following the introduction, the improviser is free to move anywhere in the maqam and even modulate to other "maqams" as long as he returns to the original. Taqsim is considered by many to be a connection to the spritual world.
The Art of Listening, Faisal's CD, "Madar"
This CD is best for dancing in the mind, not in the class. (There are, however, several tracks that are dance pieces.)
Drumming for Bellydancers and Bellydance Drumming Wannabes:
However, the three "how to play the drum" DVDs I am reviewing really do introduce the beginning drummer to the drum and, if used as a three unit package, these three DVDs can take the drummer or dancer/drummer from absolute beginning level to the stage.
Heartbeat of the Dance: Review of 4+ Drum Solo CDs
Sabla Tolo 1 & 2 by Hossam Ramzy, Drum Attack by Tony Chamoun, Pulse of the Sphinx by Henkesh Brothers
- 4-17-09 Two Dance CDS for Performance and Listening, "The Soul of Cairo" & "The Masters of Bellydance Music"
This family is dedicated to producing (and also finding) the latest and most popular bellydance music as well as reissuing classic albums in a remastered format with updated liner notes.
- 3-15-08The Magic Sounds Studio of Cairo,
CDs- Oriental Fantasy #12- Talisman, Nesma:Del Nilo al Guadalquivir (From the Nile to the Guadalquivir),Nesma, Memories of Cairo.
In a world where Egyptian dancers dance in the "less is more" tradition, the world of musicians seemed to be - more is better and lots more is best.
- 12-6-07 IBDC-Part 1 A Brand New Idea for Belly Dance: The Festival Idea in its Formative Years
I’m speaking of a festival and its promoters that promised more than they were able to deliver.
- 1-7-08IBDC Part 2:- A Gilded Serpent tale, Alex in Wonderland,
Unfortunately, the event did not draw the amount of vendors he had expected and, I believe, because he himself had not yet made a reputation for himself as a credible festival producer, he did not get the numbers of the dancers he wished for. Belly dancers are special people and Alex personally did not understand their basic nature.
- 11-23-07 Danza Del Vientre by Devorah Korek Book Review by Gregory Burke Translation
Book is in Spanish. Once in a while an object of desire comes along, which is deemed important by its obscurity. Such could be the case with this hardcover, difficult to acquire tabletop adornment from Devorah Korek, an American-born Belly Dance teacher living and thriving in Spain. additional Synopsis of the book
- 7-24-07The Zar, Trance Music for Women,
produced by Yasmin of Serpentine.org. “Once a spirit is called, it must be appeased. Then it will always be there.” And it will have to be periodically dealt with.
- 4-2-07 “In a Beirut Mood”: Jalilah's Raks Sharki 6,
I found the selections included make exciting listening. Each selection is a beautiful arrangement and a good mix. Best of all: each musical selection is useful and conducive for dance.
- 2-21-07 Veiled Visions: A Trip Down Memory Lane
The CD titled “Veiled Visions” is a re-release of music that was formerly produced on vinyl.
- 7-11-07 "Veiled Visions" How Belly Dance Music was First Brought to the United States
One time he told me about a blind accordion player who sat and made lots of jokes while they rehearsed, that musician turned out to be Ammar el Sharie.
- 3-8-05 Belly Dance Super Stars Video Review
Produced and Directed by Jonathan Brandeis Executive Producer: Miles Copeland. "... However, as there is no audience, most of the dancers have a difficult time conveying the emotions of the dance to the video viewer. Only Jillina and Dondi seem to overcome this obstacle. "
- 9-30-14 An Evening of Egyptian Music and Dance, a Report from El Leil
Amina and the Aswan Dancers did it again! The sold out show at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts was another stellar example of the kinds of show their fans have grown to expect and they have not yet been disappointed.
- 2-16-11 Magana Baptiste, San Francisco Dance Pioneer by
This was in the 1920s and 1930s and at that time there was no TV and barely radio. For entertainment, Magana’s family asked her to don her tap shoes and perform for the family and for company.
- 12-28-10Sahra Goes to Egypt, Follow Your Dreams
Getting to know Sahra through the years I came to realize that all her richness and wealth was in her commitment to the dance and to the culture adjoining it. Like many artists, in many fields, she sacrificed for her art and she was always trying to find ways to share her art, her knowledge and her love of Egypt, dance and music.
- 10-4-10 From the Street to the Virtual Cafe, The History of Shaabi
There were several movements throughout the world that seemed to simultaneously create music in the genre called "cassette culture". Most notably this type of music was evident in England and the U.S. with punk music, in Jamaica with Reggae, in Algeria with Rai and in Egypt with Shaabi music.
- 9-15-10Sausan's Birthday Party
On August 22, 2010, Sausan held a show featureing "fellow vintage dancers" including herself. She cooked a huge buffet. Enjoy the clips of these dancers: Asia, Alana, Una, Stasha, Amina Goodyear, Nisima, Neyehma and Zelina. We missed the others, Sorry!
- 6-28-09 Faruk Sarsa ; The Life of an Artist of Mohamed Ali Street
The best drums and riqs, however, were inlaid with mother of pearl and had fish skin heads. The best store selling these instruments was Music Center. It was owned by Mohamed Sarsa who had the fish skin monopoly and the best instruments of this kind.
- 6-11-09 Arabic Lessons, My Introduction to Shaabi, Part 1
She taught us that besides learning the words and their meanings, Egyptians do not stand still when singing. They dance around a bit and use their hands, body and eyes to gesture according to the songs.
- 5-17-09Ahmed Adaweya My Introduction to Shaabi
Where once he was known as a master plumber, he had now become a master of Saltana.
- 9-17-07 Changes: Egyptian Dance - Has it crossed the line?
Both festivals, held in Giza were isolated and insulated from the people and the Cairo that I know and love.
- 2-13-07 Sunday Morning Panel Discussion at Carnival of Stars, November 11, 2007 Panel members discussed Fusion in Belly Dance. Members included: Jihan Jamal, Shareen El Safy, Dahlena, Debbie Lammam, Amina Goodyear, and Edwina Nearing
Articulating the Collective Dream: The Giza Awards, and why the legacy-making process is important to you.
" We embrace change however roughly it appears. With video we feel secure in the knowledge that the legacy of the past will never abandon us."
- 11-16-01 Giza Club Lecture, Wacky Woman Traveler- Leyla Lanty
Hard work and familiarity pays off.
- 8-31-01 Make a Giza Club!
...She was to become our first Wacky Woman Traveler...
- 5-3-01 Fouad Marzouk,
I remember at first feeling intimidated dancing to one of Soheir Zaki's musicians.
- 8-12-00 Dancing on the Edge
I learned from the first evening chasing Fatma around the stage that in order to have a serious dance company in the Egyptian style, I had to seriously play with the appearance of disorder.
- 3-22-00 HOW TO START A MIDDLE EASTERN BAND or How The Arabian Knights Came About
We dreamed of a band that would play music to make us look good always.
- 12-99Second Annual Giza Academy Awards
The judges seldom agree the first time around. So begins a process of arguing the various merits of each video performance as it pertains to the category for which it is being considered, until finally a consensus is reached.
- Salamat Valentine
Would my "Valentine" want to celebrate the day a day early or would he be mad that I would rather be at Salamat Sundays?
- 12-12-99 AT LONG LAST-HERE IT IS!
North Beach Memories!
Please join us as we travel back in time to the North Beach district of San Francisco between the years 1957 through 1985. We'll read about a vibrant period of Middle Eastern Dance and Music Performance as presented in our interviews with musicians, dancers, and club owners who created this exciting history. Amina, Saida Asmar, Aziza, Dahlena, Fadil, Najia, Shamira, Taka, Vince