Photo by The Dancers Eye

In 1999 Ziah McKinney-Taylor formed a body-positive group of bellydancers to bring World Fusion Tribal Bellydance to the stages of Atlanta and the Southeast US. Awalim’s particular flavor of dance is decidedly upbeat and earthy, while being sophisticated and urban, influenced by the rich cultural background of Atlanta. The Awalim Dance Company takes their name from the term “Awalim,” which is the plural of “Alima,” a term meaning educated entertainer in Arabic. We chose this name based on the fact that the members of the Awalim Dance Company are selected based on their interest in the music, dance, and history of our art form, not based on the esthetic ideals of what a bellydancer should look like. Awalim’s goal is to not only pursue excellence in dance, but to show what a unique community of dancers with a passion for our art form looks like on stage.

During the performing seasons 2014-2017, the the beginning of the 15th year of the Awalim Dance Company morphed into a “repertory company” model because of the frustration in marketing a dance company made up of a variety of bodies including size, color, gender, and age. The dance company exclusively produced its own sold out stage shows to be able to control its image and the reputation of the art of bellydance. Ziah enjoyed being able to get back to her theater roots from college by designing sets, costumes, and exciting productions. 

In 2017 Awalim began creating its own improvisational format that had costuming and a wide range of music adaptability for flexibility in adapting to corporate, restaurants, and stage work. The format is called Orientale Tribal Style.The costume developed for this is also adaptable to Cabaret/Orientale, Folkloric, Tribal Bellydance styles while still being unique to our branding, unlike any other style you will find.