Walk Like an Egyptian, Dance Like a Real Egyptian

on Sat, 29 Apr, 2023

A while back I had the pleasure of interviewing Hanan Elsherif, Arabic coordinator at U of O who is Egyptian. She was kind enough to allow me to interview her for an article I was writing for the Chronicle about cultural appropriation, particularly with emphasis in belly dance. (I will provide a link when available.)


Hanan Elsherif shared a few videos of belly dance in her culture.


I am guessing this is from the 1950s. It is clear we can see how this is a nightclub style. It is entertainment for men.

Belly dance by Naema Akef Egyptian films - YouTube



Not much has changed in the Egyptian cabaret style. (Also called Raqs Sharqi.)

Samia Gamal Belly Dance from the movie " Zenobia" (1956) - YouTube



A famous Egyptian belly dancer. (Sorry about the quality.)

(522) Soheir Zaki سهير زكي - YouTube



A famous Egyptian belly dancer considered to be a pioneer of her time in her country.

Nagwa Fouad Amar 14 - YouTube



Sometimes I think cabaret looks hammed up and cheesy, but what I have seen on stage in America is nothing to this. It is theatrical to the point I wouldn’t ever suggest doing this here. I was also surprised this is a famous belly dancer despite her posture, but maybe she had an injury and that changed things.

Dina Talaat New Year's Eve 2020 - YouTube



I can see why this is so scandalous in Egypt. This dancer is showing A LOT of leg. But her belt also covers her very securely.

(522) Nadia Fouad at the Sahara City Club - YouTube 



This is Shaabi (folkloric dance). This is what Egyptian cabaret is based on. Notice women are much more covered in this.

(522) Traditional Belly Dance of Egypt – عرض رائع لفرقة سوهاج للرقص الشعبى - YouTube



This is the most famous Russian bellydancer now in Egypt; Safinaz. Hanan explained that most Egyptian women will not dance in public if they are religious, so most belly dance is performed and taught by Russian women. She assured me they are, in fact, performing real Egyptian moves and dance, so it is accurate. But the dancers in Egypt are rarely Egyptian these days.

(522) رقص صافيناز بالاسود نااار - YouTube


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