In 1977, at the age of seventeen, I began my Middle Eastern dance
training with Denise Enan, the world-renowned Egyptian dance master.
After studying intensively with her, learning both folkloric and
cabaret styles, I began teaching and performing professionally.
I was a soloist for many years in the Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto
areas, and had wonderful opportunities to work with many celebrated
musicians including Chafic Hashim, Ousama Naja, and Hashim el Khayaat,
and popular singers Tony Hanna, Amin Himo, and Wadih Safi.
When Denise and Ahmed Enan, both former principal dancers in the
National Folkloric Troupe of Egypt, decided to form their own troupe
in 1978 I joined immediately but unfortunately my own dance schedule
forced me to leave after only one year. In 1979 I had the opportunity
to join the Lebanese Debke troupe, Banaat Sahara, and was trained
by Brahim and Shadia Maalouf and Chafic Hashim. I moved to Beirut,
Lebanon in 1981 during the war, and stayed for seven years. It
gave me the opportunity to absorb the language and culture, and
explore the music and dancing.