Biography 2011 – JIHAN JAMAL-BARAKA

“Be A Queen, Move Like a Goddess, Dance Like A Diva”

Jihan is an internationally respected dance master who has been performing and teaching Near and Middle Eastern dance styles throughout the United States, U. S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Egypt and the Czech Republic, for the past 33 years, beginning in November 1979 . In 1987, Mrs. Jamal is the first Oriental Dance Artist from Miami, Florida to win the title of “Miss America of the Bellydance”, in San Francisco, CA, crowned by renowned artist and sponsor Magaña Baptiste.  She was awarded, by popular vote, the title of “Best Instructor of the Year 2000” by Zaghareet magazine, a USA based international dance publication.   In 2002, Jihan achieved one career-long dream, performing for the first time in Cairo, Egypt at Raqia Hassan’s “Ahlan Wa Sahlan” Dance Festival. Since, she returned to Cairo in 2005, fulfilling another career-long dream, teaching as well as perform, at the “AWS” 6th Annual International Dance Festival. Recently, in 2009, Jihan was featured as one of South Florida "Movers and Shakers" in the locally based publications, "Yallah Magazine", and she has been chosen as February 2010's Goddess of the Month by Leticia Saints of the Goddess Tribune dance web site. In October 2010, Jihan founded the Women Of the Silk Veil MidEastern Dance Arts and Culture Club, holding monthly meetings and promoting dance and music artists, as well as members of the local South Florida area Arabic community. Her latest venture, beginning in May 2011, is the production of Egyptia 2012, with colleagues Jackie Tucker, editor and owner of Yallah Magazine, and Samay, of Samay Performing Dance Arts, as JSJ Cultural Productions, LLC. Egyptia 2012, an Egyptian cultural dance event will debut in Miami on June 1, 2 and 3, 2012.

Jihan's constant goal as a performer and teacher is to represent the beauty of the Arabic dance culture with dignity, elegance and pride. Jihan's teaching method combines tradition and regional colloquialisms without sacrificing professional form and technique. As a teacher, her objective is to educate the student in the structure of the dances as well as their cultural, regional backgrounds and the social, religious and political history that has impacted and altered the dance throughout the centuries.

Jihan has been an established teaching staff member at West Miami Middle Community School (Miami, FL), for the past thirteen years.  It is at WMMCS that she directs the Bellyrina Oriental Dance Academy (BODA), a student dance company and dance curriculum, and Bellyrina Oriental Dance and Yoga (BODY) 2010 class series, of dance development, technique and  fitness. It is also at this public Dade County School that Jihan introduced her “Unveil the WomanÔworkshops, for women only.  “Unveil the WomanÔ” – More Than A Dance Experience, is a series of annual workshops of beautiful and feminine dance and creative process. Jihan created this special program to aid the participants in further developing their dance structure and expertise, confidence and self-esteem, by fusing elements of social, secular and spiritual dances of the Near and Middle East and interpretive movement. In *2004 through 2011, Jihan also presented the workshop series, "The Dancer and The Drummer", accompanied by percussionist, Fadel Nemmer (The Sultan of Rhythm), and "The Dancer and The U'dist" with Moroccan composer and musician, Mostafa El Mekki. *(In 1994 through 2004, the accompanist was the late and great, Fathi Bilalgia, see more information below).

Jihan's local South Florida teaching experience also includes six years (until their closing in June 2009) at Dancer’s Dream Studio, (Pembroke Pines). Jihan has been featured as guest instructor and choreographer, at Florida International University’s credit dance program, (Miami, FL), until 2003.  Mrs. Jamal’s has also been a featured instructor and performer for the educational curricula by The State of Florida's Department of State, Florida Arts Council Division of Cultural Affairs, Tallahassee and P.A.C.E. (Performing Arts for Community Education).

From September 1998 to October 2003, Jihan taught weekly classes and monthly master classes at the Ballet Academy of Miami, (Coral Gables/Miami, FL).  Jihan was a resident teacher and choreographer at Miami’s Performing Arts Network, from 1996 to 2000, following the presentation of “Mascara y Espejo” (“The Mask and The Mirror”) - A multi-cultural collaboration with Ilisa Rosal, director of Ballet Flamenco La Rosa and PAN. Jihan’s dance company, the Jihan Jamal Egyptian Dance Theatre, remains one of the guest professional dance companies at PAN.

Jihan’s production, “Dances of the Awalim” was presented annually at PAN and other venues, since 1997.  She also taught from 1991 to 1994, then again in 2004 at Tamalyn Dallal’s MidEast Dance Exchange in Miami Beach “Amazing Egypt”, is collaboration with local artists, Tamalyn Dallal, Alexandra Lenis and Denise Marino, since their return travels to Egypt in June, 2005. 

In November, 2005, Jihan was guest artist and teacher at the First Annual Bellydance and Comic Book Convention at the Hayward convention center, sponsored by Alexandra and Latifa (San Francisco, CA.).

Since 2002, Jihan has been featured as dance master and instructor, at Zambra Studios, sponsored by Rena Milgrom, and at the former Centrum Spiral, sponsored by Adla, both in Prague, Czech Republic.  Jihan has been a featured dance master and teacher at the famous Middle Eastern Dance Festival, Rakkasah, both east and west locations, sponsored by Shukriya, in 1999 (CA) and 2001 (NJ).  She has taught master classes series at the annual Florida Dance Festival, sponsored by the Florida Dance Association, in 1994 (Tampa) and 1999 Miami. Jihan has appeared as special guest artist and teacher at Raks Al Dunya Festival, in Gainesville, Florida, sponsored by Global Dance Arts and Zarifa Sa'id. Her many performances, both solo and with her group JJEDT, are on “Jihan’s Gems”, a video produced by Zarifa Sa’id, compiling four year’s worth of performances at Raks Al Dunya.  Jihan has also been featured in many video productions, including Tamalyn Dallal’s  “Emerald Dreams”, sponsored by the MidEast Dance Exchange, (Miami Beach, FL), Festival on the Nile, by Beledi productions (Orlando, FL), Kahreen and Kira (Kismet Dancers of Miami) Productions, Bahia’s H.O.T. Seminars, (Austin, TX), Ruby Jazayre’s Productions (South Bend, IN),  Little Egypt Productions, (Dallas, TX), with an upcoming return engagement as workshop teacher and guest performer in July 2010 , and “Ya Halla, Y’All!”, (Dallas, TX), the Samiha Dance Project, by Dr. Leona Marsh, NYC, to name a few.

Jihan has a passion for the traditional and authentic regional music and dances of Egypt as well as its classical and contemporary dance forms. Her dance style is greatly influenced by internationally acclaimed master dancer and choreographer Dahlena (Chicago/LA.) and by Egyptian world-renowned master dancer and choreographer, Mahmoud Reda (whom she considers the Egyptian equivalent to George Ballanchine). Her dance training has also been greatly impacted by her other mentors, Raqia Hassan (Cairo), Mohammed "Momo" Kadous (Berlin/Cairo), the late American-Lebanese Middle Eastern dance enigma, Ibrahim "Bobby" Farrah (NYC), Yousry Sharif (NYC/Cairo), Morocco (NYC), the late Amir (Boston) and Evelyn "Azeeza" Hamsey (Montreal/Miami). Azeeza began teaching and coaching Jihan in 1980 to 2004, and in Jihan's heart, will be for ever her best dance consultant and best critic. For 20 years, from 1984, until his demise in 2004, Jihan consulted and rehearsed rhythmic patterns with Tunisian percussionist, the late, Fathi Bilalgia, with whom she performed and was accompanied by in class and on stage.  Fathi inspired Jihan to produce the workshop series “The Dancer & The Drummer”, first introduced in 1994 at the Florida Dance Festival in Miami, because of his admiration for Egyptian Dance Diva, Azza Sharif, and her accompanist, renowned Egyptian percussionist Khamis Khankish.  Mrs. Jamal had the great pleasure of performing with Mr. Khankish’s in 2005 in Cairo, adding this wonderful experience to her list of dreams. Most recently, since 2005, Jihan has also briefly studied with Egypt's Dance Master, Mr. Mohammed Hosseny, who has inspired her to further evolve her stylizing of Oriental choreography! 

Jihan's ethnic dance expertise also includes line dances from Lebanon and Syria, AKA "Dabke", and women's dances from the Khaleej (Arabic Gulf) areas. Her formal dance education also includes the Northern African disciplines of Tunisian folk dance and Moroccan Sheikhat dance, Leila Haddad (Tunis/Paris). Jihan studied ballet, briefly, as a child and again in resent years, with Carlos Danaan (Miami), Jazz with Nancy Walker (Miami) and Antolino Alvarez (Miami/NYC) and classical Spanish dance with Carmen de Cordova (Madrid/Miami).   On occasion, she has sought out the talents of Mariano Parra (NYC/Miami) and Tony Catanzaro (Miami) for private coaching, prior to her performances.  Jihan is a committed teacher and dance master, and thus continues her dance training with Azeeza and other top professionals in her field.

Jihan has been a board member of the Arab-American Cultural Center, from 1984 to 1989 and remains a present member. She was granted a radio broadcast license and hosted "The Arabic Music Hour" from 1984 to 1985 on Miami's public broadcasting station WDNA 88.9 FM. Her TV appearances include WPBS Ch2 in a documentary on Middle Eastern Dance with Martha (Marelli) Albrecht (1981), Ch7 on "PM" (1981), WLRN Ch17 on the Iris Acher Show (1992), "Hola America" (Univision, Ch23, & it's sister stations nationwide and in South America). She has also appearances in local TV programs in Corpus Christi, Texas and San Francisco, California. She has appeared on WLRN Ch17 & Ch39 (cable tap), as supportive member and active teacher of Performing Arts Network (aired Dec. 27, 1998, Jan. 2, 1999, and more recent dates), during the series "PAN, Now".   Her most resent TV appearance has been in July 2003 on Miami’s cable tap show, “Journeys in World Dances”, sponsored by the Kismet Dancers of Miami.

Ms Jamal's 2010 workshop teaching and performance schedule featured her in Dallas, Texas in July, 2010, and Toronto, Canada in August 2010, sponsored by Dee Dee Asad of and  For the second consecutive year, she has been featured as seminar teacher and dance artist at Nathalie's

Jihan Jamal is the owner and director of ADORA World Dance Productions in Miami, Florida and is the writer and editor of the Grapevine Dance and Music Newsletter, "Sunday Morning Over Coffee" Weekly e-Newsletter,  which are currently distributed only electronically. For updated information on performances, class schedules and dance news, please visit her web site at

Miss Jamal's plans for 2011-2012 are to enrich and share her dance and cultural knowledge and teachings with her founding of "Women of the Silk Veil" Middle Eastern Dance & Culture Club, which she founded and inaugurated on October 22, 2010. The meetings have been taking place the third Friday of each month. We are closed for the Summer, due to heavy workshop schedules and vacations, and will resume in September 2011.

Ms Jamal is presently working on a new Blog Site for "Women of the Silk Veil", and for her Weekly Commentary Blog, "Mighty Muse News!" - both scheduled to launch in September 2011.

Ms. Jamal has been featured in Yallah Magazine in the Summer Issue of 2009, in an article, "Movers & Shakers", and has also been published in Yallah's Fall Issue, 2010, as contributing writer, in the article, "Raks Baladi - Tradition and Mystique, Part I". Her follow up article is to be published in early 2011. You may subscribe to this South Florida dance publication at: Ms Jamal is currently a contributing writer to the magazine, and has been published in three of their bi-monthly issues. The Summer issue of Yallah will be in distribution in June 2011, with Ms. Jamal's article, "Traditional or Contemporary? Where's Your Dance."

She has one child, from her first marriage - Her son Mr. Sanan Sasha Phutrakul, who is also her web master, best fan and hero!

The world is Jihan's home, but she resides between Miami (her home base) and Prague, Czech Republic, traveling often to Cairo, Egypt in continuation of her dance education, research and goals. Jihan is planning a dance education tour to Prague & Cairo for the Summer of 2012.