The Remarkable Story of Hala Dance 

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In 1996 Hala Fauzi, an Egyptian American bay area resident and an accomplished software development engineer at Sun Microsystems and Apple Computer, embarked on a six-month trip to Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt, Jordan, India, and the UK. The trip started as a soul-searching experience and ended up changing her life forever. 

Upon her return to Silicon Valley, Hala was certain she no longer wanted to continue working as an engineer. After all, she was an artist at heart and yearned for a career that would fulfill her love for Middle Eastern music and dance.

After studying Middle Eastern dance with Master Egyptian and American stars, Hala created her own dance company in 2002, and has been performing authentic Egyptian dances at private and public events ever since.

The Hala Dance Troupe was among the few selected from over 115 dance companies to perform at the prestigious San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival in June 2004. In 2006, she partnered with her friend Amanda to create Halanda Studio in San Jose, a dance and fitness studio that offers classes and workshops covering a wide variety of international dance styles and techniques.

"At the beginning, I had to make some financial sacrifices. Now, I make a good living" says Hala, "and a much happier one too".

Strikingly dynamic and extremely passionate about what she does, Hala stops at nothing. From inviting major Egyptian stars like Mahmoud Reda, Farida Fahmy, Raqia Hassan and Tito to teach dance classes in California, to organizing and leading annual music and dance tours to Egypt, she spares no effort to communicate and share her love of her native art.

Hala's relentless efforts recently paid off when she was invited to teach Middle Eastern dance through the Dance Department at Stanford University. It was the first time a major Western university endorses Middle Eastern dance as part of its curriculum.  Hala now teaches dance at San Jose City College, through De Anza College Short Courses, at corporate fitness centers (e.g. Cisco Systems) and at Halanda Studio in San Jose.

Hala also hosts a semi-monthly radio show, "Mezzas & Tapas", on KKUP (91.5FM) where she plays music from the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean basin.  On her program, she often conducts interviews and announces local events of interest to the Middle Eastern community.  Her show is scheduled twice a month, on the first Saturday from 6 to 9pm and on the third Sunday from 11am to 1pm.

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The wonderful members of the Hala Dance Troupe come from different ethnicities and various backgrounds: Greek, Italian, Vietnamese, American, Turkish, and German/Japanese. We spoke with three of them: 

Elaine, of Greek Descent, is an assistant at a Bay Area high school. She was always interested in Tahitian, Jazz, and Ballet dance styles. She was later introduced to Middle Eastern Dance and joined the troupe a year ago. "Dance is the best way to exercise,” says Elaine.

Tiffany is half German half Japanese. She’s an assistant at a Rolls Royce dealership by day.  She credits former co-worker and fellow troupe member, Deborah, for introducing her to the world of Bellydance. Tiffany was a ballet dancer for 17 years before adding Middle Eastern dance to her portfolio. She has been with the Hala Dance Company for four years.

Deborah is half Greek half Italian and works as a veterinarian nurse. She started dancing while in high school and college and joined Hala’s troupe four years ago. Her portfolio includes Tribal dance, Fusion, Hip Hop, Salsa, and more.

Sitting down: Hala. Standing from left to right: Tiffany, Vy, Mona, Elaine, Yelda, Deborah, and Wendy. 


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