Yasmina of Cairo

The Gilded Serpent presents...

Yasmina of Cairo

Yasmina, sometimes known as ‘The English Rose of Cairo’, has studied, performed and lived the world of oriental or belly-dance for more than twenty-five years. Originally discovering the form in Morocco in 1983, she subsequently began training in London with various teachers, and performed in many of the capital's Arab nightclubs during the late 1980's.

A demanding career as fashion photographer clashed with her new-found love of oriental dance, and she began accepting contracts abroad, including India, and an eighteen-month tour of Italy. In 1989 Yasmina began performing regularly across the Middle East, and made the decision to leave London to dance full-time. Her first major contract in the Arab world was a six-month stay in Morocco, a fitting return to the place where her original passion had been kindled. She worked year-round for a Lebanese agent based in Beirut, dancing in many Middle Eastern countries including Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), Syria and Jordan, before arriving solo in Egypt in the summer of 1995.

Redirecting her style to modern Egyptian with the help of world-class trainers Raqia Hassan and Ibrahim Akef, she quickly secured a contract at the Meridien Heliopolis, where she performed for a total of three years. Yasmina has remained in Cairo ever since, appearing with her orchestra at major Cairo venues such as Safir, Pyramisa and the Semiramis Intercontinental Hotels, The Nile Maxime, Tivoli Heliopolis, as well as hundreds of weddings and parties in Cairo and around Egypt.

For the past ten years Yasmina has travelled to teach at workshops and festivals world-wide, and continues to perform and to study the dance, firmly believing that “it is an ongoing journey of discovery from which you never stop learning.” She is a founder member of the Farha Tour, a traveling Egyptian show which has so far toured the United Kingdom twice.

In 2002 she gave birth to her son, Azzedine, and has widened her cultural understanding of Egypt by coming full-circle and incorporating her original training into her life; she works as a photo-journalist in Cairo and writes regularly for several Egyptian and foreign publications. In addition she is in demand as a publicity photographer helping other performers look glamorous. Her knowledge and immersion into the local Oriental dance culture has also enabled her to introduce visiting dancers from around the world to the delights of the Cairo dance scene, and she continues to provide back-up to both groups and individuals in their adventures in Egypt.

Yasmina says:
“The day I was swept away by the sounds of Egyptian music and took my first steps down the road of Oriental dance, I could never have imagined where that road would lead. To me, this dance has brought much joy, fulfillment, and depth of self-expression, as I believe it has and will do for countless others.“No matter how small or great a part it plays in your life, it is always life-enhancing and ultimately good for the soul.”

Articles on Gilded Serpent by or about Yasmina of Cairo

  • At Home with Fifi Abdou
    In America, one of the things that especially pleased me was the inclusiveness of the dance scene there – in my classes I saw women of many different ages – and body types – enjoying dancing, and that made me happy
  • Journey of Desire: A Foreign Dancer in Cairo, 2006, Video Review
    I believe that any dancer who has the desire to go to Cairo to work will benefit from the experiences of Yasmina and the other working dancers whom she asked to contribute. One will come away having a better understanding of the Arabic culture and how the dance is viewed within that culture.
  • Randa Kamal
    "Then the film roles that I've been offered have unfortunately been frivolous, or portrayed the dancer in the stereotypical way they always do. The cinema has done enough to spoil the reputation of dancers, without me adding to it by taking such a role."