Debbie Smith

The Gilded Serpent presents...

Debbie Smith

(formerly known as Debbie Lammam)

Debbie is originally from Austin, Texas, but now makes her home in San Francisco. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. In her senior year, she received the Rappoport-King Fellowship to conduct research for a senior thesis project analyzing the aesthetic relationship between Arabic music and dance.

She has studied and performed Middle Eastern dance since 1990, exploring regional dance styles from North African to Persian, and eventually specializing in Egyptian raqs sharqi and folkloric styles. Her teachers, influences and role models include master teachers such as Shareen el Safy of Santa Barbara, Elena Lentini of New York, Karen Barbee of San Antonio, and Amina Goodyear of San Francisco and many notable dance artists from Egypt such as Mona Said, Raqia Hassan, Magda Ibrahim, and others. She has performed at numerous theatrical venues and at seminar shows through out the country. Since 2005 she has been a member of Al-Juthoor Palestinian Folk Dance Company.

Debbie has worked for Dance Brigades and Dance Mission Theater, a multicultural dance school and theater in San Francisco's Mission district, since August 2001. As Program Manager she oversees daily operations of the school and theater, as well as programming the theater's spring and fall seasons and coordinating all aspects of production and publicity, serving dancers, choreographers, technicians and other artists from a wide range of dance styles and backgrounds. In addition, she works part time as Cultural Events Coordinator for San Francisco's Arab Cultural and Community Center, assisting with cultural programming, grant writing, and outreach.

An active member of the San Francisco arts community, she serves on the Isadaora Duncan Dance Awards (Izzies) committee and has participated in a number of panels and committees relating to dance, arts funding, and other related subjects, in addition to volunteer stage management, production assistance and consultation for a number of San Francisco artists and venues. She continues to read and study widely in the fields of dance history and ethnology, ethnomusicology, and performance studies.

Articles on Gilded Serpent by or about Debbie Smith

  • The Dance Zones of Egypt: Sahra Kent's Journey Through Egypt Basic 1 Workshop
    Although not strictly speaking a dance workshop, for each zone we got up to learn some characteristic steps and posture, and gestures associated with each dance zone/style, a good way to blend the theoretical with the experiential.
  • Hafla at the Hoover featuring Morocco
    Debbie Smith on scene reporter, event produced by The San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of MECDA
  • A Night at Wahib's Roxxanne Shelaby's "Pure Sharqi"
    On January 19, Gilded Serpent was in Los Angeles for Pure Sharqi, a special evening of live music and dance, hosted by Roxxanne Shelaby (Hypzotica Productions), at Wahib's in Alhambra. The evening featured the house band, led by Mouhamad Salem, along with invited dancers Aubre, Alexandra, the Lumina Dance Company, Debbie Smith, Sahra Saida, and Roxxanne herself, in addition to the regular house dance company the Sahlala Dancers.
  • Backstage with the Reda Troupe
    Seeing the company in performance six times was truly a wonderful experience, because each time I saw some new detail or subtlety in the movements, the costuming, the structure of the dances, and in individual performer's presences on stage.
  • Interview with Magda Ibrahim
    That is very enjoyable, to see someone who didn't know how to do something before and now they do, and I'm the one who helped them do it, regardless of whether they are Egyptian or foreign.
  • Atef Farag: A Life in Dance
    Pure Egyptian dance does tolerate a lot of sexual innuendo that is not present in my work.
  • Art, Activism & Magic: Krissy Keefer In Her Own Words
    ...women dancers are not expected to think and speak.
  • Initiating Dance Dialogue: Current Trends, The Panel Discussion at Carnivals of Stars Festival
    Panel members included: Heather as moderator, Monica Berini, Shira, Barbara Bolan, Amina Goodyear, Debbie Lammam.
  • Visual Melodies produced by Serena and Hossam Ramzy
    The essence of Oriental dance is in a dancer's ability to interpret Arabic music.