Soraya holds a B. A degree in anthropology and sociology with an emphasis in Middle Eastern studies. She has performed and lectured on the history and ethnomusicology of the Arab world for the Borders Books and Music chain all over the East coast offering an educational, artistic and exciting dance and music show and workshop to give people a closer look into the true soul and spirit of authentic Egyptian belly dance. It was one of Borders’ most attended events with Soraya giving standing room only encores and “back by popular demand” performances. She successfully blends together the field of academics and an ancient art with a modern twist. Soraya has been referred to as: “A modern day Cleopatra who projects the true essence of Egyptian dance with depth, glamour and passion.” Her reputation of being an artist who truly understands and feels every nuance in the music as well as her own personal goal of preserving the dances’ intrinsic honor results in having to be very selective with her clientele. The most memorable concert that she have ever done was performing as an invited guest of the late King Hassan and the royal family in Morocco. She recently produced a critically acclaimed Egyptian dance and music tour for the elite of India starring in select five star hotels.
Recently, Soraya performed pre-show at a special corporate promotion in a Moroccan theme Casbah tent at the Sony Entertainment “E-Center” on the Camden/Philadelphia’s waterfront for such mainstream American rock bands as: Yes, Kansas, The Pretender’s, Joni Mitchell, The Counting Crows, Live, Creed, Kid Rock, The B-52’s, The Psychedelic Furs, Neil Young, Mary J. Blige, Bob Dylan and The Go-Go’s. The many national televison shows that she has to her credit include: Hard Copy, Entertainment Tonight, CNN’s “Showbiz Today,” A Current Affair, The UPN Television Network, Access Hollywood, etc. Soraya has performed for such corporate clients as: Sun Microsystems, Princetec, Ford, The R.J. Reynolds Company, etc. She performs her wildly popular Egyptian belly dance concerts and workshop “Soraya, The Jewel of the Nile Show”, on proper Arabic dance technique, the correct execution of Oriental dance movements and choreographies demonstrating the steps and combinations at many respected Ivy league Universities and colleges which includes: The Richard Stockton College of NJ, Rutgers University, Princeton University, NYU, The Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, The University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Raritan Valley College, Middlesex County College, etc. She starred as the bejeweled magical “Genie”/belly dancer in a national television commercial promoting the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort. Her print work, publicity and modeling credits includes being featured in numerous magazine and newspaper articles throughout the US and overseas such as: Italian Vogue Magazine, Dance Magazine, The L.A. Times, New York Times, The Princeton Packet, The Times of India, The Newark Star Ledger, Health and Fitness Magazine, The Times of Tel-Aviv, The Courier News, The Asbury Park Press, The Courier Post of Cherry Hill, NJ, York, PA Dispatch, The Princeton News Eagle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, Philadelphia City Paper, Philadelphia Weekly, The Atlantic City Press, The Whoot! Entertainment Weekly (Thank you for everything..Lew Steiner and Alissa Wolf!), The Times of Trenton, The Beirut Times, AL-Mannassah Arabic Newspaper of Egypt and New York City, Al-Ahram of Egypt, Cairo Today and many more.
Her incomparably amazing, dramatic and dynamic stage presence and dance style has made her one of the most sought-after ethnic entertainers today. Her beautiful, graceful, delicate yet powerful style is unmatched by any other, imitated but never duplicated. The multifaceted Soraya performs all styles with her wide range of ethnic dances from all over the Arab world, the Near East and the Mediterranean from the classical Raks Al Sharqi, (The Dance of the Orient/Cabaret), the earthy Raks Al Beledi (Fellahin), the folkloric dances of Raks Assaya (Saaidi, the cane dance from the countryside of Upper Egypt), Spanish/Moorish/Andalusian Flamenco, Beduoin Gypsy, Hegalla, Tunisian, Moroccan, Lebanese Debki, Gulf, etc. She has danced in over eight Atlantic City casino showrooms and has toured and/or performed with many famous Middle Eastern singing stars, composers and arrangers such as: Warda Al Jazzaria, Kadham Al Sahir, Ragheb Alameh, Assi El Hellani, Wael K Foury, Walid, Nadia Addoul, Melham Barakat, Hassan Hakmoun, Rafic Al-Aridy, Amr Diab, Hany Shaker, Samir Sphere, Nawahl Al Zoughby, Tony Hanna, Diana Haddad, Wael K Foury, Najwa Karam, Maestro Hany Mehanna, Wadi El Safy, Samira Saeed and George Wassouf, etc.
As an entrepreneur, she has produced a popular eight-volume set of authentic belly dancing videos that are selling tremendously to rave reviews and receiving worldwide acclaim. They are entitled: “Soraya’s Night at the Casbah/Folkloric Cocktail”, “The Dance of Egypt”, “Soraya El Malika (The Dance of the Queen), “Soraya Live in Concert at the Tropicana Casino Showroom and Soraya Live in Concert at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Showroom”, ” The Cairo Collection”, “Soraya Live at Resort’s Int’l Casino Showroom and ” The Gift of the Nile Show”, and many more on her video page.
Unlike other dancers her style is a tightly choreographed and intense Egyptian stage technique that is very classy and elegant. Soraya is known the world over to offer her audiences the best image of Oriental dance. Her creative and avant-garde shows engulf all that have the opportunity to view her impeccable art and she has an innate ability to keep her audiences’ spellbound. Her vast knowledge and range of complex Arabian musical compositions results in an uncanny ability to understand, internalize and interpret time signatures, rhythm and tempo changes with her natural feel for the soul of Oriental music. Her dancing is a direct mirror of the music as she unfolds it into a story, making sense of what she hears and how the music speaks to her without missing a single beat. The ease in which she glides, isolates and shimmies across a stage using a fluidity of movement that is very unique and only Soraya. She arrives completely self-contained and uses only the hottest “cutting edge” music that is carefully selected to compliment her strong and energetic performances.
Soraya’s virtuosity is apparent in her artistic excellence and fabulous command of the stage. She has successfully pioneered Arabian dance in the United States to the highest level and her style has become the forerunner in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dance today. She has her own band and singers called: “Soraya and Middle Eastern Sounds”. All of her costumes are custom made exclusively in Cairo, Egypt by the famous Madame Abla, “Egypt’s designer to the stars.” Soraya feels it is so important for the general public to see this dance art done correctly and with powerful theatrical grace so that audiences can finally experience Middle Eastern dance that way it should be seen in the best light possible. She is self-taught, although she has worked on some select choreographies with the late Ibrahim “Bobby” Farrah (Lebanon), Madame Mona El Sai’d (Egypt) and Madame Raqia Hassan of the Mahmoud Reda Troupe and the folkloric troupe “The Banat Mazin” (Upper Egypt), who are the descendants of ancient Egyptian Gypsy families called the Ghawazee. Soraya’s signature style-technique is 100% Arabic and is not the “Americanized” version, that has given this dance a bad name in the U.S. Since this is the art of her culture, she strives for authenticity, integrity, dynamic and exquisite performances of the highest caliber possible for the true art of real authentic belly dancing.