Meet Suhaila

Speaker, Performer, Coach

Known for her persistence, integrity, and keen intuition, Suhaila is one of the most respected artists and educators in her field.   She shares her lifetime of diverse and deep experiences through workshops, seminars, and talks around the world.

Born to a Persian father and a Sicilian Greek mother, Suhaila is no stranger to passion or adversity.  She grew up caught between two worlds: the strict, Shi’a Muslim household of her father who died when she was nine, and the free-spirited Hippie world of her mother, renowned belly dancer Jamila Salimpour.

As a child, she took countless dance classes, training in everything from ballet to Bharatnatyam, while also touring with her mother to assist with dance workshops. 

By 14, Suhaila was the sole breadwinner, traveling across the United States on weekends teaching her mother’s dance method and creating her own revolutionary approach to belly dance. 

After high school, Suhaila moved to Los Angeles.  She spent her days on television sets and her evenings performing in Arabic nightclubs.  There she studied with master acting coach Sanford Meisner and his assistants Jeff Goldblum and Robert Carnegie. Meisner’s method is based on tapping into one’s instincts and true nature, a philosophy Suhaila draws on in her work, teaching, and relationships. 

Soon after, she worked as a professional entertainer in the Middle East, with residencies in some of the finest venues. She worked with musical ensembles of over 40 musicians, including Arab pop stars Ahmad Adawiya, Amr Diab, and Sabah.

In the late 1990s, Suhaila developed the first-ever certification program in Middle Eastern dance. Today, the Salimpour School has licensed instructors all over the world and a thriving community of students, connected through a comprehensive online class subscription site and the Suhaila Salimpour Institute of Online Education.

Based in Berkeley, California, she continues to teach liberating movement seminars and workshops based on her Core Dimension™ fundamentals.

Learn more about Suhaila


The emotional work we do in the Salimpour School has set me free as a performing artist. There are aspects of interaction and reaction that I didn’t know existed, but are essential for the stage and presentation of any kind. Going through this process of stage/audience awareness has allowed me to step onto any stage and feel confident with myself, my emotional projection, the audience, and how we interact together. It has allowed me to be vulnerable enough to create an artistic experience that is deeper on many levels and doesn’t feel fake for the audience. I am no longer afraid to be in front of people presenting works that are not native to my own culture. This work has truly set me free.
Rachel George
Salimpour Professional Licensed Instructor, San Diego
Suhaila Salimpour has been my artistic colleague for over 20 years. Her groundbreaking work in the areas of performance, including acting, emotional connection, specificity in technique are well-known through the artistic community ,locally and worldwide. It has been my privilege to work with her students in the area of personal expression and communication, and they are eager and well informed participants. I recommend Suhaila without reservation. A true artist, scholar, and outstanding performer.
Kay Kostopoulos
Lecturer in Theater and Performance Studies, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University