The Gilded Serpent presents...


Sensuous and graceful, Rita's dramatic interpretation, style and technical skill have earned her an international reputation as one of the United States' most exciting performers of Oriental Dance. These attributes have created the foundation for Rita's unique teaching style which combines precision movement with emotional characterization. Rita had a background in Ballet, Modern, Afro-Haitian and Polynesian dance when she began studying Oriental dance with Jamila Salimpour in 1969. Rita began performing as an ensemble and solo dancer with Jamila Salimpour's Middle Eastern Dance Troupe Bal-Anat in 1970, making her cabaret debut in the Middle Eastern and Greek restaurants in her native San Francisco shortly there after. In 1975, Rita became one of the first North American Oriental dancers to perform in Paris, and throughout the 1970's and 80's, she continued to dance extensively in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Returning to the U.S. in the mid 1980's, Rita made her home in Hollywood, California where she was well known in the thriving Middle Eastern performance community. Currently based in San Francisco, Rita is Co-Founder and Director of Hahbi'Ru Dance Ensemble.

"When in San Francisco, you must not miss her show, she is a true dancer's dancer!"
Ibrahim Farrah New York, NY

"Her Dark beauty and emotional interpretation of the "Dance du Ventre" often made it difficult for her to convince native audiences of her true nationality."
Valerie DuBoux La Liberation, Paris France

Hahbi'Ru, will be performing at this year's Dickens Faire.The Faire starts November 28, and runs through December 21st, 2008, and will be doing two shows a day at 12:30pm and 3pm.

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Articles on Gilded Serpent by or about Rebaba

  • North Beach Memories- Casbah Cabaret, Part I Circa 1973
    We performed what I have dubbed “conveyer belt dancing”, that is three dancers doing three shows each, starting promptly at 8:30 p.m. without stopping until 2:00 a.m., whether we had an audience or not.
  • Queen of Denial, A Tale about Life and Belly Dancing, Part 1: The Safety of the Stage
    For many years, the most secure and safe place for me was on stage–dancing and acting. Performing gave me the security and love for which I yearned (both with and without drugs).
  • Queen of Denial, Chapter 2: Dancing in the “City of Lights”
    I’m breathing very hard, and can tell I’m very, very shiny and red, even under the stage lights, but I think he likes me. And he is completely dumbfounded that an “American” girl is auditioning for a job as a “Danseuse Oriental!” I know I’m way too fat, but thank God I’m a belly dancer, and apparently a novelty, because I couldn’t get away with this in any other dance form! Fortunately, I’m only 19 years old and my excess flesh is young, tan and firm!”
  • Queen of Denial, Chapter 3: Hooray for Hollywood!
    As for Khayam’s, it was the extremely popular nightclub and restaurant that was known for having the best live music show in town, with good dancers, good food; a constant supply of good drugs, and in particular the more and more fashionable cocaine.
  • Queen of Denial, Chapter 4: On the Road,
    That night, I would find out that my arrival and subsequent feelings of having "made it to the top" couldn't have been farther from the truth!

  • I think it was around this time when I had gotten to know my co-workers and escorts well enough to allow them to try explaining their way of life and thinking processes to me, that I realized I was in a “no win” situation.
  • Queen of Denial, Chapter 6: From Syria with Love! My Arrival
    You may think that the life of a traveling Belly dancer is filled with intrigue and love affairs, but this couldn’t be further from the truth!
  • Queen of Denial, Chapter 7: More Gorgeous Georges and on to Damascus
    He kept reassuring me that everything was okay, and finally, the second time that I made for the exit, he pinned me against the wall in the darkened hallway and gave me a long, luscious kiss that made my head spin!
  • Queen of Denial Chapter 8: Memories of Baghdad Part 1: Miss America, NOT!
    I had been performing as the featured “Miss America of Belly Dance” in an elite restaurant supper club for about two weeks when Saddam Hussein announced to his country that he was being betrayed by his number one ally in the war against Iran, the USA!
  • Queen of Denial Chapter 9: Memories of Baghdad Part 2: Bombs, Bodies, and Baby?
    As the war escalated in favor of Iran, our living conditions declined. The borders and post offices were closed, the newspapers were censored, and then one day the running water just stopped without warning. My friends and I hailed a taxi and literally went from store to store buying as much bottled water as we could lay our hands on. We paid from too high priced to absolutely ridiculous prices for cases of drinking water.
  • Too Much Time, Tips & Terror, Queen of Denial, Chapter 10
    My agent found me extremely upset, and I was adamant that I couldn’t possibly stay in Baghdad for another six weeks. I desperately wanted out of Iraq, and cried and pleaded with my agent to make it so.
  • My Perfect Hiding Place, Queen of Denial, Chapter 11
    Funny as it sounds, the incredible amounts of money we were earning nightly eventually became a burden.
  • Have I Left Yet? Queen of Denial, Chapter 12
    Baghdad was the first place I had worked in where a complete communication blackout was ordered (no post, no newspapers, no telegrams, and no telephone access to the general public), and a mere two weeks after my arrival. For the very first time since I started traveling and dancing abroad, I was unable to call my parents (and vice versa) to assure them that I was fine regardless of what they were reading in the local newspapers.
  • I'm Back in the U-S-S-A! Queen of Denial, Chapter 13
    My first quarter at Cal-Poly wasn’t nearly as easy for me as finding work belly dancing. I had no idea what I was getting myself into academically when I registered as a business major.
  • Is Love the Drug? Gueen of Denial, Chapter 14
    They loved it, clapping, laughing and encouraging me to keep dancing that way!