Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Occidental dancers in Cairo

McClatchy's has a 'tell us something we don't know' article on the economic and cultural importance of western belly dancers to dancers in Cairo. It's pretty interesting though, and paints a fairly depressing picture of what the locals are up against.

The case against heading to Egypt with your hard-earned dosh: I was once unfortunate/fortunate enough to do a three-day workshop with a world-famous dancer and teacher in Cairo. She did very little indeed, but her choreographer worked like a piston. Here's hoping he got a decent cut of her hefty fee.

Admittedly, (a) I did not move to Egypt to live and completely immerse myself and (b) I'm not a professional dancer.

The case for supporting the dance industry in Egypt, on the other hand, is rather more compelling ...

"Egyptians have had to suffer a lot to keep this dance alive. Many are disowned by their families; they suffer from the shame. It's a struggle," Mendez said. "We, a little link in the chain, need to respect it and learn it correctly so we can help keep it alive."

As a bonus, here's a pic of arguably the first occidental belly dancer, Little Egypt. At least, there's a good case to be made for saying it's her:

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