Bal Anat—the longest-running belly dance company in the world—will present an evening of traditional, folkloric, and fantasy belly dance, celebrating 50 years. The groundbreaking and globally-influential company was created in 1968 by Jamila Salimpour, who drew from her experience as a performer with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Under the direction of master choreographer and dancer Suhaila Salimpour, the evening’s performance will include dance tableaux from the Middle East, North Africa, the Anatolian Peninsula, and Persia. The company includes more than 25 performers, hailing from across the United States, Canada, East Asia, and Europe.
Director Suhaila Salimpour notes, “Bal Anat was innovative from the very beginning.” She adds, “My mother’s groundbreaking presentation was the first to integrate dancing with and balancing a sword. She also popularized dancing with a water pot, with snakes, and dancing on glass water goblets.”
Originally created in 1968 for the spectacle and wonder of the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Northern California, Bal Anat is now the longest-running concert-length belly dance show in the world. Founded by belly dance innovator, Jamila Salimpour, as a truly unique and exciting entertainment experience, the company is name for “Bal,” the French word for a dance gathering, and “Anat,” an ancient Mesopotamian mother goddess: Dance of the Mother Goddess.
About the director, Suhaila Salimpour
Suhaila Salimpour is a highly-acclaimed belly dance performer, teacher, and choreographer. As a teenager, she began integrating the Middle Eastern dance passed on to her from her mother, Jamila Salimpour, with her own extensive training in ballet, jazz, tap, and American street styles.
After working as a professional belly dance performer in the Middle East for over 10 years, she established her school and certification program in the United States in the late 1990s. She has choreographed hundreds of dances, from the classic to the avant garde, and was nominated for an Isadora Duncan award for solo performance in 2005. Her methods and approach to teaching belly dance is a true artistic breakthrough: a revolutionary technique that has elevated belly dance practice and performance. Her technique and methods are now used by dancers in all stylizations, and the Salimpour School is one of the most respected and influential schools of belly dance in the world.