Assala Ibrahim

Photo is by Gary Von Der Ahé

The Gilded Serpent presents...

Assala Ibrahim

Biography Subtitle

Assala Ibrahim was born in Basra City where she grew up with the Khashaba songs and dances. She is an active dance researcher, and her clear teaching concepts and unique dance style have made her one of the most sought-after dance instructors and performers worldwide. In her desire to prevent the authentic Khashaba dance from becoming a lost or forgotten art-form, she has throughout her career documented, reconstructed, and clarified the traditional dance steps and patterns. By doing so, she hopes to provide future dancers with a solid foundation which can then be used for creating new and modern interpretations of El Khashaba music. Understanding the relationship between the past and the present is an essential part of Assala’s teaching and she considers this knowledge a necessity for the dedicated student of this dance.

Articles on Gilded Serpent by or about Assala Ibrahim

  • Facts and Misconceptions about Kawliya, Interview with Assala Ibrahim on the topic of Iraqi dance especially Kawliya
    My first encounter with her was in her Kawliya and Iraqi Zar workshops at Amani’s Oriental Festival in July 2014. I was excited by this rare opportunity to learn the dance from a native Iraqi dancer because dance for me is not a fantasy but a way to understand the culture behind it and to make a spiritual connection with the people of the dance.
  • Iraqi Dance and Its Unknown Dance Styles, Khashaba Music and Dance,
    As is often the case with folkloric and traditional art forms, no one knows for certain when the Khashaba style first began to be heard, or when the cultural life of the city began to take notice. The earliest written sources yet found suggest an origin as recent as the 1930s, but some authorities, such as historian Dr. Mohamed Mahdi el Basier, claim that the roots of the Khashaba rhythms can be traced back to the time of the Thawrat al-Zanj, the Zanj Rebellion of 869–883CE.