“The earth braces itself
f o r t h e f e e t . . .
Of a lover of God
about to Dance.”
Aliya is no longer performing dance, in order to concentrate on music.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Aliya was very fortunate to have been immersed in the rich cultures of her parents’ Egyptian and Pakistani heritage. Fascinated with dance and performance since early childhood, as soon as Aliya left her parents’ house she made sure to take part in anything she could get involved with from performing, dancing and choreographing Arabic debke, folk and belly dance to Bollywood and bhangra.
Growing up in a household where art and calligraphy was encouraged as a means of worship and zikr, she could never accept that dancing was considered separate.
On her quest to reconciliate the dissonant identities of dancer and Muslim, Aliya was led to Sufism where dance, art and music have been cultivated for centuries as an expression of devotion to the Divine. In 2010, the search for Sufism led Aliya to Spain, Portugal and Morocco where she retraced the historical footsteps of Ibn Arabi and other Islamic mystics whose work she was reading heavily at the time.
In 2011 Aliya sought out to learn whirling, leading her to the renowned Khadija Radin whom she began studying with 2 years later. In 2013 Aliya was blessed to have travelled with Khadija Radin and fellow students to Palestine, Israel, and Turkey studying Sufi thought, practice and whirling with members of the Shadhilli, Qadiri and Mevlevi orders throughout the regions.
In 2012 Aliya began studying kathak at the Chandhham school of world-renowned master and guru Pandit Chitresh Das in efforts to explore the ancient art of storytelling and the challenge of classical Indian techniques and form.
Aliya is a strong proponent of reviving the Islamic traditions of honoring the Divine through active meditation, rhythm and movement. She believes in the importance of restoring dance as a medium of inspiration, devotion, and honoring of the Divine.
Aliya is one of few women who performs the Egyptian tannoura, traditional whirling dance of multiple skirts and performs at festivals and shows primarily based in her hometown of Los Angeles.