The Gilded Serpent presents...
Kamala Almanzar is a 3rd generation dancer, living in the Los Angeles area. She trained in, and performed ballet and jazz for many years before focusing on Raqs Sharki (Belly Dance) as a teenager. This lead to a long, successful solo career, performing in hundreds of Lebanese, Egyptian, Armenian,& Greek venues, as well as theaters and hotels in many countries. Kamala has many screen credits including the film “The Man with Bogart's Face”, which has become a cult classic for belly dance aficionados. Kamala's 1st troupe experience was with “Arabesque” dance company in the 1980s. Legendary Egyptian dancer Farida Fahmy of the Reda Troupe choreographed and directed their performances.
In the 1990s she became assistant director to Laura Crawford's “Flowers of the Desert”, composed of LA's top soloists. Credits include performances with Egypt's Hakim & Amr Diab, artists Cheb Mami & Alabina, rock and roll concerts, nightclubs & tours. The “Flowers” jump started the “Belly Dance fusion” genre with sold out theatre productions featuring innovative choreographies. Kamala directed a junior division “The Flower Buds of the Desert”, who's members performed in Flowers of the Desert shows, and won numerous titles at belly dance competitions.
Kamala has many influences who have shaped her style. She is a movie- musical geek who gains inspiration from Cyd Charisse, The Reda Troupe and classic Egyptian movie musicals. Kamala is also influenced by the legendary Egyptian Oriental dancers past & present. This doesn't mean, however, that she denies her own training in western dance and culture, and she enjoys pushing boundaries and fusing dance styles from all genres.
Kamala currently teaches in Southern California. She produced a full length theatre production in March 2009, “Sha'abi Chic” with 20 of her own choreographies. Kamala's students perform under the names “Orchids Al Sahara”, “Flower Buds of the Desert”, “Viridiana & Roxanna” and “Gems of the Nile”. Her students continue to win competitions, and many have become successful professional dancers, including “Belly Dance Superstars”.
Articles on Gilded Serpent by or about Kamala Almanzar
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, along with the multiple Arabic clubs in Hollywood, there was also a thriving Greek, Armenian and Persian nightclub presence in the Los Angeles area. Shira (Jane Padgett) was a popular dancer in those clubs and is still a popular working dancer in Southern California. In this business, there are the dancers with a presence in the dance community due to participation in showcases, competitions, teaching and self-promotion,and additionally, there are the "workhorses", those who slogged away at the clubs, entertaining the masses for years and years, flying under the radar.
- 11-27-10 A Dancer's Dancer in 1980s Hollywood, Interview with Yasmin
L.A. was heaven for fabrics though. You could find anything you wanted, and if they didn't have it, you could have it made, like the beautiful gold lame' sunburst skirt and veil I had pressed for a costume.
- 1-2-10 The Original Mish Mish, The Golden Age of Tinseltown
I was working one evening at Khyams and still doing my old style of dance. I came out for my entrance covered with a veil and right at the beginning of my show, she came up on stage and started peeling my veil off me and threw it on the floor. She shook her finger at me and said in broken English "Lah, this isn't Egyptian!" I was so embarrassed and humiliated I could barely finish. Talk about being intimidated!
- 10-29-09 Interview with Jacqueline Lombard, Queen of the Dancers in the Golden Era of Tinseltown
They refused to play dance music or anything you asked for…got to admit, that really taught how to pull off a show & think quick on my feet. You never knew where they were going with the music, & they tried to make you look bad.