Aziz

“Aziz has earned a national and international attention as one of the foremost performance/instructors of Egyptian Raqs el Sharqui. His physical control and deep sensuality onstage represents the dance in its finest movement and essence. His is a true dancer in every sense of the word! He has been dancing and teaching since l972 and continues to pass his knowledge on with integrity of movement and full understanding of gearing his information to the needs of his students. “ Aisha Azar

 Being a blonde tall man from Mormon country made Aziz the dance a phenomenon. Born and raised in ultra-conservative Salt Lake City, Utah, his creative side led him into a powerful Oriental Dance path, much to the consternation of his parents.

 His first classes were with Shumara around l972 in Berkeley, CA. Although already dancing professionally, Shumara was also a student of the legendary icon, Bert Balladine at the time and suggested Aziz study with him. Bert said, “Aziz was special in that he was so serious about his dance and portrayed his own mystical & mesmerizing style.”

 In 1976, Aziz also took classes in the Bay Area with the incomparable Jamila Salimpour. This led to Ultra Early Tribal style…also called “ethnic dance” at the time. His costuming was all ancient coins and jewelry and assuit. His turban hid long, golden hair that he would unleash while spinning and unwinding his turban. His kohl-lined blue eyes pierced many hearts. Tall and mesmerizing, he was the Ultimate Freestyle Male Dancer in his time. His personal embellishment of this dance represented elements of both the Jamila Salimpour and Bert Balladine Styles.

 He founded and directed several dance troupes for over 12 years, Baraka, and The Aziz Dance Company being his best known companies.

 He claims the influential Cassandra of Minneapolis as one of his main mentors. Ironically, Cassandra was also a past student of the Jamila Salimpour camp. Aziz and Cassandra were often featured together as a powerful duo of master level performers & instructors in workshops and seminars throughout the U.S.

 Aziz has focused much of his dance study on the Egyptian Raqs Sharki and folkloric style. He especially enjoyed his studies with Egyptian stars, Raqia Hassan and Mona Said.

 At the height of his career in the mid 1980s, Aziz took a break from his dance travels. Luckily, Aziz, always a national workshop favorite, returned to dance in l993 and again traveled as a major star and major role model for many upcoming male dancers in the U.S. In 2002, he returned to his first love, oil painting. He has become a highly successful fine artist with his renaissance style, still-life oil paintings.

 

Those lucky enough to have attended his classes are still using and teaching his moves. They remember his flair for breaking down and explaining complex techniques and now Aziz is back on the road again! Today he is a very successful fine artist specializing in oils.

 

Aziz is featured in Amaya’s “American BellyDance Legends” documentary as one of the top leaders in our field and is grounded in the Bal Anat era of vintage world movement.