Yasmina Ramzy Arts -
Company Profile

Founded by Yasmina Ramzy in 1992, Yasmina Ramzy Arts, formerly known as Arabesque Dance Company & Orchestra (ADCO) is Canada's leading Middle Eastern dance and music ensemble and unique in the world. Its artistic vision embodies contemporary sensibilities steeped in ancient Arabian tradition. The company consists of 17 male and female dance artists trained in 14 different styles of Middle Eastern dance led by Yasmina Ramzy, eight acoustic musicians led by Bassam Bishara.

After being discovered by a visiting Syrian artist manager in 1989, a six week tour of Jordan and Syria kick-started the fledgling four member dance ensemble called Rakisaat Arabesque. Then a tour of Greece and Lebanon in 1993 and 1994. Such experiences inspired the members to evolve into Arabesque Dance Company & Orchestra which began presenting full length productions in 1996, nine of which were presented in installments of 7 performances at Fleck Dance Theatre. In 2017, the name was changed to Yasmina Ramzy Arts. The company has presented full length presentations in Vancouver, Calgary, Whitehorse, Ottawa, Kingston, Sudbury, Montreal, Windsor, St. Catharines, and Smith College, USA. Yasmina Ramzy Arts was the only Canadian artists invited to perform at the International Conference on Middle Eastern Dance in California in 2001.

In or outside of the Middle East, rarely does one experience a large dance ensemble and a live acoustic Arab orchestra together. Even more unique is how the two are inseparably intertwined. Rather than one accompanying the other, they embellish each other. Yasmina Ramzy Arts dance and music directors work closely together in an innovative creation process which offers audiences an exceptionally profound experience.

One of the company's highlights was to perform with Alabina and Bijan Mortazavi at the Sony Centre for the Arts in Toronto. Other highlight performances were with the Rolling Stones, Ben Harper, Rageb Alema and Amr Diab, to name a few. Yasmina Ramzy Arts is featured at Dance Ontario Dance Weekend every year since 1999 attracting one of the largest audiences of all of Ontario's dance companies. Yasmina Ramzy Arts YouTube video clips have been watched over 1,400,000 times.

The company's international reputation for artistic excellence and integrity has attracted highly talented dance artists from England, France, Brazil, Mexico and across United States and Canada to move to Toronto in hopes of joining the company. Musicians are now following suit in order to join the orchestra. Because Yasmina Ramzy Arts is unique in the world, audience members travel every year to attend its newest production at Fleck Dance Theatre from as far away as Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Windsor, Kingston, London, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, New York City, Oregon, Michigan, Massachusetts, California and much more.

Artistic Director Yasmina Ramzy is one of the most sought after Middle East dance instructors in the world, teaching in over 60 cities on five continents and referenced by the Arab and Mid East dance community as a Maalema (master). Her choreography has been commissioned by seven Canadian dance companies and four U.S. dance companies. She has received numerous awards for artistic excellence, contributions to Arab heritage, and elevating the art form of Bellydance. Music director Bassam Bishara is a highly celebrated vocalist, musician and composer from coast to coast of North America and throughout the Middle East. He attracts countless serious students of every Arab instrument. Former percussion director Suleiman Warwar is acclaimed for his technical prowess and innovation. He founded the dynamic Arabesque Drummers in Toronto and is a sought after dumbek teacher in Europe, Canada and the U.S. In 2017, Hany Morgan took over this position.

Yasmina Ramzy Arts (Arabesque) has produced 9 performance DVDs, 7 instructional DVDs and 7 CDs, all of which sell worldwide. The company has garnered rave reviews for its high standard of art in all mainstream media. Sold out audiences enjoy making the emotional connection with the timeless and profound Arab art which is Yasmina Ramzy Arts.

"Arresting...intelligent and innovative...seduces completely" The Globe and Mail