Background

Soumaya was born and raised as a Moroccan woman in Belgium. Her parents moved to Europe in the 1970’s. She spent every summer with her extended family in Morocco. Her experience with Moroccan music and Raks Sharqi started very young when she begged her mother to take her to Moroccan weddings. From the beginning her community said "dik Soumaya, ouhda shataha,” meaning "This Soumaya is a dancer." When she was 13 Soumaya played tabla and drums and performed at shows, weddings, and events. She became a member of El Housna, a Moroccan girl-band, and for 15 years played with the band at Arabic events in Belgium, France, Germany, and The Netherlands. 

Technical training

As an adult, Soumaya began to study Raks sharki and different folklores from Middle East with many natives international teachers and people from the culture. 

Performance/teaching

Since arriving in Boston in January 2014, she has dedicated her life to dance. In June 2015 she won 2nd place in the folk dance competition at Rakass Istanbul International Festival. She currently performs and plays music with Atlas Soul (North African music), Club Mediteranee (Arabic and Balkan music) and gives solo Raqs Sharki performances and Moroccan folkloric dance at weddings and events around New England. She has taught classes, workshops, and hosted discussions throughout New England, USA, Canada and Europe on Moroccan dance styles, Raks Sharqi, and Arabic culture. Soumaya regularly performs at venues in the Boston area and travels to New York to teach and perform at workshops. She produces regularly shows, in Boston area, dedicated to Moroccan dance and Culture, accompanied by live music. 

Meaning

She says "For me, dancing means language. It is my way to share my culture and keep the Arabic woman in me alive"

Ideology

My story and biography explain my decision to take the direction of being and artist shataha. And we all know how not easy and difficult it is for a women of the culture to be shataha. But I took the risk. Why? Because growing up in Belgium a discrimination again Moroccan people is real. The identity problems are real and conflict between generation are real. The gettho are real and the chance to succeed without loosing a part of you are more then real. I love my culture, I think it's reach and beautiful and I am very proud of it. When I come to America I found that I could express this identity and I was saying to my husband :" it's the first time I can be Moroccan and is not like I am carrying a weakness". So I decided to express my Moroccan art outside of my community and I hope that it's gonna touch some young people lost in their identity conflict to find the peace inside them and the way to be proud of it. And I hope it's gonna touch some people not from the culture to understand it, appreciate it and see the beauty of it. And I thank Belgium to made me what I am today bc being between two culture make all of us translators and bridges.