Behind the scenes with Sumaya
How did you get started?
I first saw belly dancing at a Renaissance fair in Huntsville, AL; that moment changed my life. I wanted to learn this amazing form of art. I searched for teachers that were local to me, at the time, in Alabaster. I studied with several members of Zivah Saphira, and later solidified my dance with Aziza’s School of Middle Eastern Belly Dance in Homewood, Alabama.
How do you classify your style?
A blend of American Cabaret and traditional Egyptian style belly dance. I also do some fusion dancing and am always experimenting with new dance props like silk fans and swords.
Speaking of props, what are your favorites?
I love performing the Isis Wings. While the movements are similar to double veils I think they make the best opening, or closing, dances for a set. They are a real crowd pleaser. My sword dance is the most requested dance I have. Everyone loves the blend of this feminine dance with the deadly saber.
Do you teach belly dancing?
Yes, I offer a workshop on double veil, and I am available for private and group lessons.
Are you part of a troupe?
Yes, I have been a part of many dance troupes over the years. Most recently I joined the Hayat Alraqs belly dance collective in Pittsburgh, PA. I also continue to collaborate with my dance sisters back in Birmingham, Mad Hatter Dance Company. I was also a member of Zivah Saphirah Middle Eastern Dance Troupe.
Any other hobbies or great loves?
Besides belly dance, I have always held a great love for the martial arts and yoga. I earned my Ni-Dan in Chito-Ryu Yoshu Kai (2nd degree black-belt). Those years of studying karate and the samurai sword embedded a passion for the blade in my heart, and greatly influences my sword technique.