:: Ya Habibi Malta ::

School of Middle Eastern Dance

© Copyright 2009 -2015 by Jane Camilleri. All Rights Reserved.


"rak"ing the rock, one shimmy at a time!

About Us

YA HABIBI - School of Middle Eastern Dance” is the brainchild of Jameelah Sultan (Jane Camilleri). It was set up in 2009, with the aim of providing professional tuition in oriental and arab folk dance arts, as well as fostering an appreciation of Middle Eastern dance culture in Malta.

The school has developed structured step-by-step courses in bellydance technique, as well as choreography and specialty classes. All technique programmes follow a set syllabus – paving the way for a consistent solid foundation. Styles taught focus on Egyptian Raqs Sharki and AmCab, with various props such as Sagat (finger cymbals), veils, assaya (cane), and isis wings being explored throughout.  We offer a dedicated course stream on the subject of folk-inspired dance, with a special focus on Maestro Reda's technique, field research and theatrical work.


It is our vision to offer our students a taste of other Middle-Eastern regional styles, including folkloric dances hailing from Morocco, the earthy Tunisian folk style, Persian, Levant and Gulf dances, as well as western fusion styles. In this respect, the school is constantly developing new programmes whilst hosting various guest teachers on regular basis.

All students participating in choreography programmes get the opportunity to perform in student showcases if they so wish. Student showcases are held annually at the SpringFest in San Anton Gardents, and other charity events nationwide. Every term features a DVD night and a social meet-up, enabling students to socialize together outside the classes.

A Hafla (arabic style party) is organized on a bi-annual basis. Essentially, a Ya Habibi Hafla is a celebration of Middle Eastern music, food, dance and culture, with authentic oriental dance shows by the Ya Habibi Oriental & Folklore student troupe led by the founder, and some open-floor dancing for everyone to get up and enjoy the music, set in a typical arabic ambience (whenever possible!). The Haflat also serve as an opportunity to educate about and increase appreciation of Arabic culture, cuisine, music and dance amongst the general public.

Ya Habibi - School of Middle Eastern dance is the only dance school in Malta that is solely focused on teaching arab dance arts.

Ya Habibi Hafla II - Black Pearl, June 2010
Ya Habibi Hafla II - Black Pearl, June 2010
Student showcase - Baystreet, June 2010
Jane with some of her students

Ya Habibi - School of Middle Eastern dance has worked with the following international and national organizations, government authorities, local councils, educational and charity institutions:

- Lion's Club Sliema (2009)
- Malta Council for Culture and the Arts (2009, 2010, 2011)
- Kullegg Sta. Tereza, B'Kara (2010)
- Hospice Movement (2010)
- Egypt Tourism Authority (2010)
- Malta Tourism Authority (2011)
- Mellieha Local Council (2011, 2012)
- Dar Fejda & Dar Jeanne Antide (2012)
- University of Malta (2012)
- President's Award Scheme (2012)
- Malta Community Chest Fund (2012)
- A.C.I.S. (2012, 2013)
- Right To Smile (2013)

Why "Ya Habibi"?

The term "Ya Habibi" in arabic means “my love”, “my beloved” and "my friend". It also translates to “my friend” in Maltese. Not only does the term reflect the founder's love and passion for this dance, but it also mirrors the sense of community and sisterhood that she wishes to create amongst the students.

Curious about Ya Habibi's Slogan? The term "'Rak'-ing" in Ya Habibi's new slogan "'Rak'-ing the rock, one shimmy at a time" is a play on words between the arabic term "Rak" (as in Raqs or Raks, meaning dance) and the english word "rock". On the other hand, "the rock" is what many Maltese affectionately call Malta, their homeland.


Ya Habibi is more than just a dance school. It is an oasis where new friendships are forged and many memories made lasting a lifetime.

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