LAYLA TAJ is an international Egyptian style belly dancer. She has conquered the many genres of the entertainment industry with worldly attainment and prestige. Born in Long Beach, New York, her journey in the performing arts began as a child. Layla's mother, a Greek raven haired beauty and artist herself (beauty queen GAPA and SAG actress/singer) matriculated Layla in ballet classes at the Rockville Center Ballet Academy and in oriental dance when she was just nine years old. Dance training and classical piano indoctrination was part of Layla's itinerary on a daily basis. Following her academics in school, Layla composed numerous music demos and acquired three major record deals. She was branded a successful recording artist landing her hit single on the Billboard chart. Her career set the high standard of artist professionalism early on in the Performing Arts but Layla longed to return to her first love " Dancing. "
Layla sought out the primary master teachers overseas, she was dedicated to learning the classical style of Egyptian Orientale and not fusion which was so popular in New York. She soon discovered top master teachers residing in Germany. Layla then emigrated to Europe and began seeking out workshops with the top master teachers from Cairo such as Raqia Hassan, Mahmoud Reda and Mohammed Gadawwi. Mohammed Gadawwi met up with Layla one evening with her friend . He bluntly remarked " There are dancers and there are stars, Layla is a star ! ". This comment fueled her artistic impetus for years to come.
Shortly after her training, Layla was requested to perform in the Gala show at the Stockholm Belly Dance Festival in Sweden. From there her career began to accelerate. She procured several contracts to perform at five star hotels in Cairo and Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Layla executed shows daily as an " in house daily performer and principal dancer " . She was summoned to dance for Saudi royalty as well as leaders of the countries in the royal mansions on the resort grounds. Layla adjudged to continue her explorations and journeyed onto Dubai, UAE. She performed there for a short while being that she accepted a contract at the prestigious Sheraton Towers and Casino in Cairo. Upon honoring her contract Layla was offered an additional contract in Cairo at the Semiramis Hotel but she turned it down politely. Layla says ” The management offered to help me acquire an apartment in Cairo living independently and offered to put together an orchestra of 21 musicians for me, but I wasn’t interested in paying rent or living outside of the hotel independently ".After Cairo, Layla returned to Sharm el Sheikh for yet another contract where the resort provided a new condo and a personal driver for her to travel to and from the resort which was only five minutes away. Layla says " I was the first tenant in the new complex but I felt secure there." After five years of gathering experience in Egypt, Layla returned to the states and graced world news publications making headlines. She was given the honorific "The Dancing Queen." in several newspapers.
Layla then moved to Southwest Florida to enjoy the warm weather. It wasn't long before word spread out that " Layla Taj " was in town. Requests began to pour in almost immediately for weddings and Layla had the honor of performing for what was termed "The Wedding of the Century" at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida. Layla says " out of all the innumerable weddings of which I've performed in the world, I didn't anticipate the most impressive to be in Sarasota, Florida. "
She also cemented a relationship with The Egyptian Tourist Authority helping them promote goodwill for Egypt by presenting her famous Egyptian cultural program. Ambassador Youssef Zada and his wife were VIP invites who sat in the front row and admired Layla’s program. Her Cleopatra VII signature number created a spectacle with the public who later surrounded her in awe, and so began the idea to create a non-profit Egyptian Society. Layla Taj is president of “The Egyptian Cultural Performing Arts Society Inc. It's only one of its kind in the United States and is dedicated to educating the public about Egypt via her cultural program . The program combines historical, folkloric dances of Egypt combined with modern Raqs Sharqi numbers. Layla Taj carved her own path in the industry by presenting the audience with a full spectrum visual experience of Egyptian dance.
In 2020 Layla Taj will expand her talents in film where she uses her talents as a belly dancer and actress. Her performance in film will no doubt move her into mainstream stardom, this added genre will seal her as a " triple threat. "
Layla Ta's resume reads like an artist’s dream, from music business moguls to heads of state, kings of countries, sheikhs, presidents, supreme court judges and onto the silver screen, Layla Taj has proven to herself that a blessing and perfect timing are essential to success. Layla says " I feel very much at home surrounded by great talent, notorious erudition and hierarchs ."
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