Ya Habibi Dance Company, directed by award-winning dancer Shoshanna, draws from traditional sources as well as from an eclectic array of inspirations to create vibrant choreographies and improvisational solo work. After first starting in at local studio Dance Expressions with four dancers in 1996, the group formed more officially as part of the Middle Eastern Dance Club at Humboldt State University in 1998, advised by Shoshanna, part time dance faculty. Originally called the “Lailaa Chandani Dance Ensemble,” it was renamed the Ya Habibi Dance Company when it moved to the local dance community in 2003.
Today the company performs at theaters, festivals, fairs and parties across the West Coast as the Ya Habibi Dance Company and enjoys exploring challenging technique and continuing to evolve in choices of music, costuming and dance styles. We’re rooted in Egyptian Raks Sharqi but explore everything from Tribal Fusion to Khaliji to Turkish Roman to Bollywood and enjoy delving into original choreographies.
Ya Habibi Dance Collective has served as a starting place for many professional dancers who have launched careers across the globe, including Andalee, Karolina Lux, Katie Bircher, Aimee Foss, Nicoliana, Ziva Emtiyaz, Laura Lopez-Ayllon, Alexandra Stock, Nathalie Mostrel and SO many more. I’m so proud of the paths my students have taken… They’re all fantastic!
Ya Habibi Dance Collective is available to perform at your next special event, celebration or party. Some excellent local events we’ve been a part of are Bikes by the Bay, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Emma Center, The Ink People Center for the Arts, North Coast Repertory Theater, Environmental Protection Center, North Coast Dance, The Creamery District, Humboldt Pride, and so many more! A highlight for the group was performing a collaborative fusion piece in honor of Nawal El Moutawakel, the first Moroccan and first African Muslim Woman to win Olympic Gold at the International Women’s Forum gala with Hannah Romanowsky in San Francisco, CA.
We have also enjoyed unique opportunities to open for musical groups such as Govinda, Natacha Atlas, Brothers of the Balady, Fishtank Ensemble and more. We have also had excellent opportunities to choreograph pieces to perform with live accompaniment with the Georges Lammam Ensemble, WoMama, Musaic, Light Rain, Chubritza and more.
We’d love to hear from you: