Najla - Austin, Texas
Meet Najla   How I came to Hipness

I'm not sure how it crept up on me, this decade plus love affair with Middle Eastern dance, but here I am still loving it all! I started taking classes out of boredom, and after a break-up and now I can't imagine my life without the music, the dancing and the amazing friendships that have developed. This dance keeps me motivated, challenged and inspired on a daily basis. And, I love sharing this art form with other women and watching them fall in love as well!


Technically I got into belly dance because of a boy who broke my heart. But I think I really was just pining away for the silks, chiffons, sparkles and sequins that I found when I first starting taking classes. Years later, no remnants of that past relationship but I do have a closet full of dance goodies!

Hip Travels   Favorites

I've been fortunate to have a wide variety of quality instructors in Austin and in Texas so it hasn't been that difficult to find great inspirations. I am currently working on Sahra Saeeda's Journey Through Egypt certification and I'm ready to head off to Egypt in the next year or two!


I really love the classics like Mohammed Abdel Wahab, Oum Kalthoum, Abdel Halim Hafiz. And although the techno/arabic pop songs are fun to listen to, I'll take the fully orchestrated songs hands down. I like the Belly Dance Superstars series because of the mix of songs, as well as the Wash Ya Wash and Ya Salam series. Right now, I'm stuck on Sahra Saeeda's CD's and several of Jalilah's as well...especially since I've been playing them non-stop for weeks!

Dance style(s): American Cabaret

Najla has been belly dancing in Austin since 1997 and has studied extensively with dancers in Texas and far beyond. She was a member of Troupe Mirage for almost nine years until branching out on her own last year. She performs frequently at various Austin venues as a soloist and with her dance troupe, Baharat Belly Dance Ensemble. Najla's style is mix of classic and modern elements, and she is known for her dramatic and dynamic choreographies.
After falling madly in love with Middle Eastern Dance, Najla wanted to share her experiences with other women. In 2001 she began teaching beginner and intermediate level classes through UT's Informal Class program. Her classes typically sold out and students often took more than one 6-week series from her in order to learn more about this dance. In 2007 she began teaching outside of the UT program, and ended up at a beautiful studio west of the UT Campus; Tarrytown Dance. These classes allowed Najla to really focus on developing strong dancers. The result is a group of women, named the Baharat Belly Dance Ensemble which performs regularly in Austin with group and solo performances. The love affair with the dance continues, and in 2010 Najla began offering Mother/Daughter dance workshops as a way to share the dance with an even larger audience. To keep her skills current, Najla frequently studies with local and national instructors.
My Circle of Friends
GildaVictoria Whitecotton AndrastaameliaChristina Joneskelly burrell
Kim Carnagey KIMORA

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