About Us

 About The Best of Habibi

Shareen El Safy Editor/Publisher

Founded by Bob and Lynn Zalot in 1974, Habibi was the first publication of its kind in the Middle Eastern Dance field. It served to link dancers together in a network of information that fertilized a budding interest in the form. During the time that we published Habibi, from 1992-2002, it morphed from newspaper format to magazine, still printed on newsprint via Web Press, with a glossy cover. Habibi reached a worldwide readership in more than 40 countries. Among its subscribers were prestigious libraries, including the New York City Library, Los Angeles Public Library, Harvard University, the University of California in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, and a number of colleges.

With the broad scope of its articles and photographs, Habibi documented the many facets of Middle Eastern Dance and Arts. Informative pieces written by researchers and inveterate travelers elucidated the finer points of Middle Eastern arts and opened a world of nuanced cultural expression for our readers. We appreciate our contributing writers for the important role they have played in fostering communication and education in our field. Check their websites following the articles for their current activities.

The topics presented in the 27 issues we published are still relevant to the current dance and arts scene. Until now the issues have been accessible only to the persistent researcher with a library card. It is our hope that by providing this rich, easily available resource on the worldwide web, we will attract a new generation of reader.

We have now completed the yearlong process of digitizing over 260 feature articles and photos from the past issues of Habibi.  This endeavor has had its challenges. Our first issue was pasted-up by hand, as the former publishers had done. Without the benefit of a digital record, it had to be completely recreated for this project. After we acquired PageMaker, many issues were stored on antiquated floppy disks, which had to be sent out for retrieval. Original photos had long ago been returned to the authors, so a number of  images needed to be re-scanned from the printed issues. One way or another, we now have a complete set of all of the feature articles and have managed to recover at least a photo or two for most pieces.

I am grateful to assistant editor, Ron Iverson, for his dedication and perseverance in getting through the detail-oriented process. Our special thanks also to iVersion Media & Web Design for their diligence in developing our content-laden The Best of Habibi website (www.iversionmedia.net). The digital project has been a labor of love towards the manifestation of our vision to share this treasure-trove of information with everyone.

Our heartfelt thanks to the advertisers whose early support has furthered The Best of Habibi digital project. We appreciate the generosity and patience of our Valued Patrons: Dr. Professor Hassan Khalil, Sadia Camille, and Angelika Nemeth; and our Select Sponsors: Turquoise Int’l, the Nile Group Festivals, Randa Kamel, Lubna Emam and Bhuz.com.

Enjoy The Best of Habibi!


Help spread the news of this free internet resource. Send The Best of Habibi announcement to your friends and colleagues. Click here to download The Best of Habibi banner ad.

The Best of Habibi publisher and editor, Shareen El Safy, known as “the Spirit of Egyptian Dance,” is an award-winning instructor and choreographer who has performed and taught Egyptian dance in sixty major cities on five continents in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, The Netherlands, Germany, England, Scotland, Italy, Egypt, Israel, Canada, and throughout the U.S. She has made many trips to Egypt, researching dance, studying with renowned artists, and leading her Dance Study Tours. Shareen was one of the few westerners to perform raks sharqi in Cairo nightclubs during the 1988-1990 and 1992 summer seasons. She has released a number of instructional DVD’s focusing on her unique Oriental dance technique. Shareen presented at the 1999 World Congress of Sports and Dance, and has taught and performed at Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival 2001, and Nile Group Festivals in 2009 and 2010, held in Cairo. Shareen co-produced the 1st and 2nd International Conferences on Middle Eastern Dance in 1997 and 2001 at OCC in Irvine, California. She published and edited Habibi Magazine from 1992-2002. Shareen offers seasonal Oriental Dance Retreats and continues to choreograph, teach and perform nationally and internationally. She resides in Santa Barbara and is currently involved in dance research and writing projects. Shareen holds a BFA in Studio Art from UCSB and has pursued graduate courses in depth psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute. www.shareenelsafy.com.

Ronald Lloyd Iverson, Ph.D., served as assistant editor and layout design for Habibi from 1992 to 2002, and continues to assist in the production of The Best of Habibi. He has Bachelors degrees in Sociology (Pomona College) and Religious Studies (UCSB), a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology (Cal Poly), and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology (Pacifica Graduate Institute). He worked for 25 years as a child custody mediator and evaluator with the Superior Court in Santa Barbara, and is currently a psychotherapist in private practice.

Copyright © Habibi Publications 1992-2002, Shareen El Safy, Publisher.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

6 Responses to About Us

  1. Anthea Poole on September 5, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    a wonderful resource to share – thank you for your work!

  2. Yolanda on September 5, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Hi Shareen,

    Congratulations! This is wonderful. I will pass the word to all my students. They can get a great education about Middle Eastern Dance.

    Take Care,


  3. Lynette Harris on September 5, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Congratulations Shareen!

  4. scheherezade on September 6, 2011 at 11:00 am

    This is just what we need! Such a valuable educational resouce…and now I don’t have to keep digging out my old hard copies:)

  5. Mazahar on September 6, 2011 at 11:06 am

    So glad that a friend shared your site on my Facebook wall. Still relevant today as it was then. Thank you. Peace.

  6. Mata Kucing on February 1, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Great to see these articles published online! A valuable resource for everyone interested in this dance that we love so much.

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Welcome to The Best of Habibi

A Journal for Lovers of Middle Eastern Dance & Arts. Over 260 articles and counting!
The best of Habibi article covers

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