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Born and raised in Cairo, Egypt, Nashwa attended Cairo University and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Literature. Her lifelong love of dance led her, at the age of 14, to commence studying dance with Mahmoud Reda, internationally renowned ‘ambassador of dance.’ For ten years, she studied folkloric dance forms from the Gulf, Sinai, Alexandria and Red Sea regions, providing her with a solid foundation before beginning her performing and teaching career. She developed her ‘Oriental style’ of dance through instruction from Raqia Hassan, Ibrahim Akef and other masters in Egypt, utilizing traditional and contemporary props, learning solo, duet and trio dance structures and mastering performance style, choreography, and staging. Through her dance career she became acquainted with Hossam Ramzy, famed world percussionist, who has worked with major artists including the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Peter Gabriel. Now based in London, Mr. Ramzy has stated, “Nashwa’s dancing is mesmerizing.” 

In 1988, Nashwa moved to Tokyo, Japan, where she continued to teach this ancient yet contemporary art form to a growing following, as she preformed internationally. In 1993, she founded the Isis Dance Troupe. With over 60 students from Japan, Australia, New Zealand, USA, UK, Russia, Brazil, Peru, El Salvador, France and the Philippines and many other countries, the troupe was truly international. Nashwa has toured (at time with her Isis Dance Troupe) Japan, the USA, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia and was sponsored by prestigious groups including the Japanese jewelry giant Tsugita Keisha, the Hilton and Sheraton Hotel Groups, Rotary International and the Foreign Executive Women (FEW) Association. As Founder and Artist Director of the Isis Dance Troupe, Nashwa’s central vision was to show through education that “Belly dance” (a misnomer that she seeks to correct) is an art form that everyone can enjoy, regardless of age or physical condition. When Nashwa left Japan in 1999, she divided her growing troupe into three academies of Middle Eastern dance that remain active today.

In 1999, Nashwa relocated to California, where she continued performing and teaching Middle Eastern dance. She preformed solo concerts and also opened shows for famous stars from the Arab World. She opened for Sabah, the Lebanese diva, in San Francisco. She opened for Egyptian super-star Hakim during his U.S. Tour. Based in Santa Barbara, she preformed in San Francisco and Los Angeles for large Arab and international audiences, and led workshops around the USA and abroad. She taught at the historical Lobero Theater and for Santa Barbara City College as well as group and private classes. She collaborated with Alexandera King, Director of UCSB Middle Eastern Dance Ensemble, Dr. Scott Marcus, Professor of Ethnomusicology at UC Santa Barbara, and members of his UCSB Middle Eastern Music Ensemble. Their consistently sold-out performances were always met with great enthusiasm.

In addition to staging performances, Nashwa is in great demand as speaker on the history and tradition of Middle Eastern dance, including its social, spiritual and cultural significance. She continues to provide inspiration and insight into this venerable art form. As she describes it, “Egyptian Belly dance is an art that originated over 5000 years ago, originally as a religious ritual. Women would go to the temples and make offerings to the gods and goddesses through dance, praying for divine assistance with fertility, childbirth and the many transitions of a woman’s life. Starting in the eighteenth century, the art form became stigmatized and denigrated by European colonial powers, leading to the popular American exotic image. The Colonialists, exaggerating the otherness, labeled the dance “Belly dance” which became the popular term throughout the West.”

In 2005 Nashwa moved to Berea, Kentucky. Shortly after she arrived, she was invited to perform during the Finale Celebration of the exhibit “Petra- Lost City of Stone” at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She now teaches private and group classes in the region, workshops nation-wide, and classes at Berea College, WaysMeet Art and Healing Center, Berea Folk Center, Bluegrass Dance Center, and Eastern Kentucky University.

“Al-Raqs al-Sharqi (Middle Eastern Dance) is an incredible synthesis of motion and rhythm, culture and history, fitness and healing, tradition and spirituality- issues that are of concern to so many of us today.” - Nashwa