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Asmahan is the first foreign dancer to perform in Cairo at the five star hotels. For the tableaux she presented the sword dance which had not been seen for over a hundred years. She is a renowned designer who personally makes the costumes for her shows.

Asmahan began her dancing career in San Francisco, at the Greek Taverna and at the Casbah. Leaving the United States to fulfill an ambition to perform in the Middle East, she began in London. With Beruit in civil war, London was the heart of the Arabic entertainment world. All the stars; dancers, singers, and musicians were performing there. She performed at Gallopoli, Pars Persian 1001 Nights, Sultan’s Palace, Shehrazade, El Nile, and L’Auberge. The star dancers who performed at these clubs with Asmahan were, Asa Sheriffe, Mona Said, Nahad Sabri, Safa Yousry, Sahar Hamdi, Nelly Fouad, Jamila, and Zizi Moustafa.

Then Asmahan performed in Vienna at Ali Baba and at Asmahan. It was here that she began to include the sword dance. She had been researching it, speaking to all the musicians and getting information from them, their fathers and grandfathers. The musicians come from families who are like a castes, they know the history of dance styles and traditions. From Rais Mataqil the leader of the Musicians of the Nile, she was able to put together a Saidi style that was appropriate to the Sword Dance. She performed this show every night as the tableaux and for a show for OPEC.

She next danced in Cairo in the most famous venues in the Egyptian dance world. The sword dance was the finale of every show and she worked with the famous mizmar player, Hassan Aien. These five star hotel shows included: Meridian, Mena House, Holiday Inn, Cairo Sheraton, Hyatt el Salem and Nile Hilton. Every dancer had her own orchestra and usually had at least two shows a night and at least four weddings a week. At this time, the dancer was the star of the show. The hotels featured a show ballet, but there were no star singers.

Asmahan film posterReturning to London, Asmahan performed at Elf Leila Wah Leila and Cave Du Rois. The composer Mohamad Salem was performing at Omar Khayyam and Asmahan commissioned him to write her a Magencey. This was an original composition which she used for the first time at Paradis du Liban, in Tunis. The orchestra was the National Radio Orchestra led by Hassan El Gharbi.

Back in London Asmahan now fulfilled a dream to make a dance film in Cairo. She went to Cairo and had a score of music, the Magencey by Mohammed Salem and a Saidi Sword Dance recorded. Mustafa Hamido arranged the music and composed an original Saidi song for her sword dance. This would be the sound track for the dance video. She produced the video in Cairo and did all the post production in London. The video, Asmahan, an Egyptian Dance Fantasy, has been seen by dancers all over the world.

Nabila Ebeed, the most famous movie star in the Middle East commissioned her to design and make the costumes for her films. Asmahan made her dancing costumes for the films: “Al Raqassa wal Siyassi” and "L’Auture". Asmahan returned to Cairo to star at the Ramses Hilton two more times and then settled down in London to begin teaching.

ishstar the voice of alabinaAsmahan now teaches at Pineapple Studios. She was the opening act for Alabina at the Shepherds Bush Empire. She has been on the BBC in a series by Debra Bull, “Travels with my Tutu”. She was featured in a BBC program “Face the Music”, and recently in a piece by NBC News for the Today Show. She currently performs in London at weddings, special events, parties, club dates, and charity balls.

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