AZIZ

Being a blonde tall man from Mormon country made Aziz a very unusual phenomenon.  Born and raised in ultra-conservative Salt Lake City, Utah, his creative side led him into a powerful Oriental Dance path, much to the consternation of his parents.

 

His first classes were with Shumara around l972 in Berkeley, CA.  Although already dancing professionally, Shaymara was a former student of Bert Balladine and suggested Aziz study with him.  Bert says Aziz was special in that he was so serious about his dance and portrayed his own mystical & mesmerizing style.

 

In l976, Aziz also took classes in the Bay Area with the incomparable Jamila Salimpour.  This led to Ultra Early Tribal style…also called “ethnic dance” at the time.  His costuming was all ancient coins and jewelry and antique cloth assuit.  His turban hid long, golden hair that he would unleash while spinning and untwirling his turban.  His kohl-lined  blue eyes pierced many hearts.  Tall and mesmerizing, he was the Ultimate Freestyle Male Dancer in his time.

 

His personal embellishment of this dance represented elements of both the Jamila Salimpour and Bert Balladine Styles. 

 

He founded and directed several dance troupes for over 12 years, Baraka and the Aziz Dance Company being his best known companies. 

 

He claims the influential Cassandra of Minneapolis as one of his main mentors. Ironically, Cassandra was also a past student of  the Jamila Salimpour camp.  Aziz and Cassandra were often featured together as a powerful duo of master level performers & instructors in workshops and seminars throughout the U.S.

 

Aziz has focused his dance study on the Egyptian Raqs Sharki and folkloric style since l972.  He especially enjoyed his studies with Egyptian stars, Raqia Hassan and Mona Said. After a sabbatical from dance for seven years, Aziz, always a national workshop favorite, returned to dance in l992 and again traveled as a major star and major role model for many upcoming male dancers in the U.S.  Those lucky enough to have attended his classes are still using and teaching his moves.  They remember his flair for breaking down and explaining complex techniques.

 

Finally in 2002, Aziz retired once again and returned to his first love, oil painting.  His family reconciled and acknowledged their son’s tremendous talents. Today he is a very successful artist in SLC and is surrounded by his loving family, Raffa, also a well known and respected dancer, and his furry family members, Gretchen, Heidi, Bruce, Bernice and Shawna plus his new latest hobby….90 homing pigeons.