Bal Anat

The creation of the dance troupe Bal-Anat evolved in 1968, when the opportunity to perform in an outdoor theme festival called The Renaissance Pleasure Faire challenged the imagination of American Belly Dance pioneer, Jamila Salimpour, to create a variety show which one might see at an Arabian Festival or Souk.

From being a member of Ringling Brothers Circus in 1942 Jamila implemented that format in creating Bal Anat. As a belly dancer, Jamila Salimpour worked with many dancers including Algerian water glass dancers, Tunisian pot dancers, Male Tray dancers, magicians, and presented many varieties of entertainment. The Sword dance, Mask dance, and Snake dance were seen for the first time in Bal Anat. The resulting show became a show featuring tribal dances from North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean.

The show inspired a whole generation of American Belly Dancers, giving way to the rise in popularity of the Tribal Belly Dance genre.

In 1999, Suhaila Salimpour, Jamila’s daughter, officially revived Bal Anat, and the troupe has been under her continuous direction since. With updated choreography and fresh enthusiasm, Bal Anat lives on to educate audiences world-wide about the cultural history of Belly Dance in the United States and the Middle East.