Abigail Keyes (Asharah) is internationally renowned for her strong technique, contemporary stylization, tough but compassionate teaching style, and insightful writings on trends and topics in the field of belly dance.
In 2016 she earned her M.A. in Dance Studies at Mills College in Oakland, with focus on history and pedagogy. She is certified Level 5 in both the Suhaila Salimpour Format—the first ever tiered certification program in belly dance—and the Jamila Salimpour Format, and she is one of only two dancers in the world to hold this distinction. Additionally, she holds a B.A. from Princeton University in Near Eastern Studies, and has studied the Arabic language at both Georgetown University and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. She is a staff instructor at the Salimpour School of Belly Dance, is a member of the Suhaila Dance Company, has appeared with Zoe Jakes’ Bhoomi Project and Beats Antique to audiences of over 3,000 people, and performs regularly with Bal Anat, the longest-running belly dance company in the world.
She has taught throughout the Americas, Canada, Europe, and Asia; and her 2008 instructional DVD, Modern Tribal Bellydance with Asharah, is still considered by many dancers to be one of the best instructional DVDs on the market for belly dancers of all styles and levels. She has also written The Salimpour Compendium, Vol. 1, a study guide and survey of topics related to belly dance history and theory, including a biography of innovative instructor Jamila Salimpour. She is currently writing a historical biography of the four early American “barefoot” dancers who shaped the beginnings of the modern dance genre.