About Afra

” . . . a dancer unafraid to take risks in the pursuit of excellence”

International teacher and performer Afra al Kahira has been an oriental dancer for more than 30 years and is one of the longest established teachers in the UK. She is recognised for her excellence in teaching and her exciting and often very different performance styles, which range from traditional Egyptian right through to her cutting edge experimental work. Afra was the first UK dancer to perform with Wings of Isis and is famous for her stunning and innovative wing numbers. Her work with other props (double sword/sagat, silk veils, fans and ribbon) has been much admired over the years. She is not afraid to push boundaries in order to take her art to new and exciting levels.

“Dance for me is a lifelong  passion, a kind of vocation, 
 it is an essential  part of who I am.”
  © Afra Al-Kahira

Afra started her dance career 30 years ago and during that time she has seen the UK grow and evolve into something very different from when she was just a novice dancer! Afra has built up a strong reputation as both a teacher and performer in the UK as well as internationally, where recent foreign engagements have included two very successful teaching/performing trips to the USA. Afra has had an exciting and varied career outside of the belly dance community with performances ranging from private functions and celebrations, to large corporate events. She has danced for top politicians, members of the royal family and many other VIPs and dignitaries, most recently receiving praise from the Turkish Consul General for her authentic presentation of the dance. Afra is a very popular performer at Arabic weddings and other cultural events in the south west of England (She is based in North Devon) where her dancing has won admiration and praise for its warmth, grace and authenticity.

Within the dance community Afra is much in demand as both an instructor & performer. She is known not just for her knowledgeable, exacting but very approachable teaching style, but also for grace and elegance on the stage. She is an accomplished performer in a wide range of styles but she is particularly known for her own personal interpretation of modern Cairo style, gypsy fantasy fusion and the dramatic cutting edge world of experimental dance, along of course with all the fun she has with props! Afra was the first UK dancer to use wings/double wings and she has studied this prop intensively over the years including many hours of private tuition with top US wings innovator Ayshe of NYC. Afra is also a fully trained and experienced make-up artist – her workshops on performance make-up are a lot of fun!

When she is not teaching or performing Afra likes to spend her time researching the history and culture of her art form. She has had articles published in many international dance periodicals and served as Chairman of Britain’s largest Arabic dance organization; the Mosaic Arabic Dance Network. She gives regular talks and lectures to share her knowledge and love of Middle Eastern dance, music and culture.

Afra is the founder and director of the popular annual Celebrating Dance Festival and is a member of Equity.

In October 2010 Afra was diagnosed with a serious type of breast cancer and after a mastectomy in November 2010, she underwent an intensive course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy during 2011 and is still in the recovery phase post-treatment at the moment. Afra actively supports the following organisations: Breast Cancer Care  and Just Because

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Celebrating Dance! | Queenie's Bellydance Blog
  2. Trackback: 2014 Teacher Line up announced! | Celebrating Dance Festival

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