Amani: Culture, Creation of Belly (Oriental) Dancing

Published February 27th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

One day, there was a little girl who took advantage of every moment and hour to exercise in her own room and enjoy oriental dancing in front of the mirror which became her companion loyal when she could escape from the whirlpool of her dance study. 

Oh! I forgot to mention her name. She's Angel Ayoub from a town called Hamat in North Lebanon. She chose a new name, Amani, that was more suitable for oriental dancing.  

At one of her relatives' engagement party where there were a crowd of important artists and journalists, Angel responded to a friends' request and performed a dance which was met with admiration (all the doing of the mirror), and that urged one of the distinguished journalists, Mr. George Ibrahim Al Khoury, to ask her for a second dance after being introduced to him by a friend.  

It was a small incident, but one that changed the course of her life and encouraged her to enter the artistic world. Days passed away, till a letter was published in the most important artistic magazine with the title: “An Educated Girl Asks: Should I Take Oriental Dancing as a Profession?“  

The letter was signed by the name Amani and sent by the teen-ager while she was still a university student, asking the distinguished journalist his opinion about that matter to which he gave his famous answer: “There is no such thing as trite dancing, but there is a trite dancer. It's the person themselves who shapes their future, and not the other way around.” And he asked her to use “Amani” as her name when she starts dancing professionally.  

In spite of the opposition she faced from society in general, Angel went on pursuing to fulfill her wishes and dreams on the first of April, 1987 using the name Amani.  

In 1987, the war was still raging in Lebanon, a fact that hindered Amani's recognition in her home country. But this didn't stop her from working abroad and strengthening her artistic footsteps in every establishment she worked in and where contracts were renewed more than once.  

She traveled to many countries, both Arabian and foreign, including: Dubai, Abu Dabi, Jordan, Tunisia, Italy, France, Syria, Australia…  

During this time, Amani was introduced, through the famous writer, to one of Lebanon and the Arab World's singing Stars, the maestro Melhem Barakat who admired her dancing and singled her out as the only dancer in all his recitals in Lebanon and abroad. Their cooperation continued for almost two years.  

Then, Amani started working alone in all the Arab World. In year 1989, she started to develop her own style using music with a unique character and rhythm that no dancer has ever danced to before.  

Amani’s personal style once develop generated a new wave in oriental dancing (belly dancing) that distinguished Lebanon from Egypt by her expressive new style.  

Amani searched deeply into old Arabian history books for the roots of oriental dance, and excelled in her discussion of the subject in press interviews and TV talk shows. As a reselt, people and, journalists in particular adopted her views about dancing and its history. Amani rejected the allegation that oriental dance is Egyptian by producing evidence of its wider origins.  

Amani now aims at purifying oriental dance from all the blemishes that distorted its beautiful image in view of the social and religious ideas and beliefs which prevailed in the old times when oriental dancing lost its real identity.  

In 1993, and for the first time in the history of oriental dancing, Amani represented in a corporeal form two historical stories through beautiful dancing in an effort to introduce culture and education under the logo of oriental dancing.  

And since every kind of dance has its own history, Amani thought that it was appropriate to present in 1993 a show under the title “Stories” which aimed at narrating the history of the dance or presenting a story using the body language of dance. The show was a success and that motivated Amani to present a second version, “Stories II” in 1994, and a third one, “Stories III”, in 1995.  

Thus, Amani became on eminent personality in the art and education firmament.  

It is also worthy of note that Amani has three cassettes and a CD in the international markets with a fourth cassette on its way to the shops.  

Latest news: 

- 1996: Amani was exclusively chosen by the Brazilian Belly dancers, from among all the middle eastern dancers, to give master class work shops in Brasil. She presented the workshop for 120 professional students.  

- 1997: She performed in tours to USA and Canada (Atlantic city, Miami, Ohio, Los Angeles, Middle Eastern dance festival (Orange County, Oklahoma ....)  

- 1998: She was elected as the first Belly Dancer to present an oriental belly dance show in Monte Carlo (Salle des Etoiles).  

- Amani is now preparing new video clips. The first as ritual oriental belly dance and the second presenting Nefertiti’s death (as an ancient Egyptian dance).  


© 2001 Al Bawaba (

© 2000 - 2021 Al Bawaba (

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