Amina Goodyear

The Gilded Serpent presents...

Amina Goodyear

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.

Aswan dancers

Aswan dancers

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

  • Chapter 1: One Ad Changed My Life
    I was very desperate and determined to get back to my old self.
  • Chapter 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!"
  • Chapter 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.
  • Chapter 6: Bert,
    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.
  • Chapter 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".
  • 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

Horacio's book Souren's CD Vince's CD
Yasmin's Cry to the Moon Yasmin dancing with genies faisal cd
Amir Karim Carmine
sablotolo Drum Attack Henkesh
Soul of Cairo Masters Cifuentes
Nesma Nesma Devorah's book
Yasmin's Zar Jalilah's Veiled Visions

Interviews and Other Articles

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sahra 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.
  • 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.
  • Sausan'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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ahmed Adaweya My Introduction to Shaabi
    Where once he was known as a master plumber, he had now become a master of Saltana.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • Giza Club Lecture, Wacky Woman Traveler- Leyla Lanty
    Hard work and familiarity pays off.
  • Make a Giza Club!
    ...She was to become our first Wacky Woman Traveler...
  • Fouad Marzouk,
    I remember at first feeling intimidated dancing to one of Soheir Zaki's musicians.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Second 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?
  • 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

For more info, including Amina's exciting Video ,"Hizz Ya Wiz",
contact Amina at

Our band plays every Sunday Night!
Call for more info: Amina (415) 282-7910