Sara Kahan

Sara’s involvement with dance dates from childhood, starting with ballet, and an innovative form of expressionist improvised dance, which she studied with Lilian Harmel well into adolescence.

In her late twenties, Sara came across Suraya Hilal’s classes quite by chance in London and was completely captivated by her dance style. She subsequently became a member of Suraya’s company The Dance Theatre of Egypt and performed with them at the WOMAD Festival (World Music and Dance) with Les Musiciens du Nil, at The Almeida Theatre and The Purcell Room. Sara was a founder member of the Hilal School of Raqs Sharqi and started the Raqs Sharqi Summer School in the late 1980’s. 

She has been teaching in Britain and Europe for twenty years, including a summer school which she taught in Utrecht, Holland for a number of years and now teaches regular classes in London as well as workshops in Britain and abroad.

Music is an important inspiration for many of Sara’s projects. She is a pianist, with an earlier career as a singer/songwriter that culminated in a tour supporting Steeleye Span. Maddy Prior recorded one of Sara’s songs and she has composed musical scores for drama.

In 2005, with Guy Schalom and Chrystelle Benkhelil, Sara founded Raqs Wa Musica Al Masraya (RWM), a company devoted to producing performances of Egyptian dance with live music. In 2006 RWM produced 'Bint Al Balad' at Jackson's Lane Theatre: five dancers and five musicians performed 'Baladi' the ‘urban blues' of Egypt. The company has also produced workshops and performances for university dance and music departments and various community and arts projects and has new performance projects planned for 2008.

As a teacher I’m interested in developing individual creativity and ease in improvising and working with live music. As a performer I’m interested in working with musicians and developing Raqs Sharqi music and dance in a theatrical context.”