A Dream Come True for SAKTI
by Ahmed Khalil

"Ever since I was a small child, I had a deep yearning to go to Egypt.”, reminisces Sakti, an American Oriental dancer who lived and worked in Egypt from 1991 to 1995.

With her waist length blonde hair flying, green eyes opened wide, and a sweet smile, Sakti performed the lovely art of Oriental dance and surprised Egyptian audiences wherever she performed.

“How can you be a foreigner? You dance so well. You have really captured the Egyptian style”. Comments such as these were common after a performance by her.

Sakti auditioned at the Casino el Nahr night-club in Zamalik, Cairo, and was offered a contract right away. She was the featured dancer at the club and was extremely popular with the I clientele, many of whom came specifically for her show.

The management was equally impressed with Sakti’s skills. In the owner’s opinion Sakti’s shows were “Excellent. Clever and artistic.” She was so respected, that she was granted an open contract, meaning she was permitted to dance anywhere in Egypt. This gave her the rare opportunity to dance in many hotels and night-clubs.

Sakti was the selected dancer in the Omar el Khayam restaurant in the five star Shepheard Hotel as well. Customers would return regularly to witness her truly professional and spirited performance.

Sakti offered a unique show with a variety of dances including a candle tray dance. This entails balancing a tray of lit candles on her head while performing an intense series of seemingly impossible moves.

in addition to this, her suspenseful double sword dance, never before seen in Egypt. was a big hit with audiences. This dance requires a lot of skill in balancing and is very acrobatic.

Her varied dance numbers, especially the double sword number, made her very popular and in demand in the many officers’ clubs in Cairo. At the time, she was the only foreigner with permission to dance in these clubs and was often requested. To show their appreciation for her, the Egyptians honored Sakti with a medal in thanks and appreciation for her art in December 1993.

Sakti limited herself neither to Cairo’s night club scene nor its city limits. She graced the stage of many a wedding reception and travelled as far as Hurgada and Alexandria to dance at the Sheraton Hotel and the San Govanni Hotel respectively. She even took a break from Egypt to accept a contract at the five star Marriott Hotel in Amman, Jordan. Needless to say. audiences were thrilled with her performances.

Not surprisingly. travelling has been a major part of Sakti’s dancing career. In her 18 years of experience in the art of Oriental dance, she has travelled throughout America, Japan, Taiwan, and most recently, Germany. This latest venue was opened to her through Manuella Schmitt, a German dancer who discovered Sakti while she was in Egypt. Manuella sponsored Sakti’s first trip to Germany to teach workshops and perform. Just this March 1996 Sakti returned from her 5th tour of Germany, teaching and performing there for 30 days. She was so successful, that she is requested to return in November 1996.

Americans, as well, have had the opportunity to rediscover Sakti. She has been requested to teach workshops in her native country as well and has been featured on television in her home state of New Mexico.

No matter what their country of origin, dancers are so pleased with the material she teaches and the fact that she emphasizes putting feeling into the dance. She facilitates this by offering the text, as an understanding of the words of the song enables the dancer to express more feelings.

This year Sakti enjoyed the privilege of being a judge in the largest Oriental dance contest in America. She judged the Egyptian and Universal categories in the 1996 Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition held in Long Beach, CA, sponsored by Tonya and Atlantis.

Later this year, Sakti will be a featured instructor at the Middle Eastern Dance Camp Workshop in Istanbul, the Jordan Valley and Israel. She is well prepared for this awesome undertaking, as she has studied with such well known teachers such as: Raqia Hassan. Nadia Hamdy, Madam Bousy, and Mahmoud Reda.

Sakti really expresses the spirit of the Egyptian dance. Her style is exciting and energetic and ignites the audience into participation. She is a true artist and a joy to experience.

Gawharat El-Nil: June 1996, pp. 42-43.


SAKTI RINEK, World-Famous Bellydancer