Aziza!'s Bio, Aziza!'s Costuming Video, Aziza!'s Articles on Gilded Serpent
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Aziza! has been a professional belly dancer since 1966, when she debuted at the legendary Bagdad Cabaret in San Francisco. She worked there, and later at other Middle Eastern and Greek clubs and restaurants in the area many years, during the periods when she was not performing on road tours. Aziza! went on the road several times, taking with her a band and a singer, and she headlined in cities across the country, and two Canadian provinces. In many of these places, she was the first belly dancer the customers had ever seen! Aziza! was one of the original members of Jamila's prestigious Bal Anat dance troupe, and a member of the Greater Bay Area Teachers' Guild. She has been a judge of the Belly Dancer of the Year Pageant since 1979. Aziza! taught the bellydance for many years, and had her own troupe, the infamous Zelzeleh. Knee problems ended Aziza's dancing career, and she is now better known for her costumes, which are worn by dancers in many counties around the world. You can see a selection of my work on my website
Articles on Gilded Serpent by or about Aziza!
A history of bellydancing in (and out of) the San Francisco area
Bay Bellydance Bazaar
There were workshops all day (taught by Theresea, Susu Pampanin, Magidah and Hannah Romanza), a large bazaar, all-day dancing performances and an evening gala show. Everything a dancer could want.
Rakkasah From a Vendor’s
Ah, Rakkasah! For many years the highlight of my vending year! A wonderful idea that has gradually faded over time….
The Traveling Costumer
More customers! New horizons! Travel! That’s what we needed!
My Costuming Roots
Soon, however, it became obvious that I couldn’t do three shows a night, on and on, with only one costume! And Yousef, owner of the Bagdad, supported this realization by telling me that if I didn’t get some more costumes, I was fired.
Belly Dancer of the
The contestants were limited to ten, and all danced to the same music, though they were permitted any props they wanted.
A Period of Innovations
In the late 1970s, there were two events produced for the belly dance community that were different from things that had happened before – events that began and paved the way for so many that were to happen later.
Friends Are Where
You Find Them
Some people thought that we were partners, as we were so close, but that wasn’t the case, either.
Zelzeleh, My Troupe
The first thing that I discovered was that I hated to design or perform choreography – it was like having my teeth pulled - and I wasn’t too hot at it, truth to tell.
to Santa Rosa
So I married a Greek, and for a while it was okay with him that I continued to dance...
I didn’t see just how it happened, but evidently a couple of brothers from Cyprus were hired to put the Taverna out of business.
in Walnut Creek
...and I could tell that the Greeks wanted to see more of that, so the job was in the bag!
Also, we were not allowed to lock the office door
“You insult me in the street and apologize in a corner.”
in the Bay Area
...my zils flew off into the audience, and George stopped playing, went down into the audience...Was I embarrassed!
On the Road
She was the fiery “Bedouin” who argued with the band in apparent Arabic and seemed so real and dramatic.
Birth of Bal Anat and Other Adventures
belly dance will continue to evolve into things new and strange, limited only by dancers' imaginations.
Club Dates and
"Don't worry, honey, " said the stripper, "I've got a gun!"
Out of Town in
One of the things that the owner insisted on was fancy hair - he considered straight, hanging hair to be "hippie hair".
Out of Town in Fresno
You can't wear that vest on stage - we're not running a Sunday school here!
Have Known by Aziza!
Over the course of my approximately thirty-year professional career, I have known and worked with some of the most interesting dancers in the business
Music and Musicians
I was very lucky to have danced to live music almost exclusively throughout my career.
Jamila and Yousef
Even though we were recognizably taught by Jamila, we were not the cookie-cutter girls she turned out later.
Working at the Bagdad
..in the early days, had to have accents when we talked to the customers, to carry out the non-girl-next-door thing.
When she came out to dance in the audience, I thought to myself, "She better not get too near to my husband!"