by Luna

by Luna



Blog Intro

Hello, I'm Luna, and I'd like to welcome you to "Kisses from Kairo,"* my blog about living and working as an American belly dancer in Cairo.

Life in Cairo isn't easy for dancers, foreigners, women, or even Egyptians. It is, however, always exciting. That’s why after living here for seven years, I've decided to share my experiences with the world. From being contracted at the Semiramis Hotel to almost being deported, not a day has gone by without something odd or magical happening. I will therefore fill these pages with bits of my history in Cairo—my experiences, successes, mistakes, and observations. Admittedly, my time here has been rather unique, so I want to stress that while everything I write is true, my experiences do not necessarily reflect the lives of other dancers.

In addition to my life as a belly dancer, I will write about developments in costuming, performances, festivals, and, of course, the dance itself. I will also make frequent references to Egyptian culture. I should note that I have a love/hate relationship with Egypt. If I make any criticisms about the country, please keep in mind that I do so with the utmost love, respect, and most of all, honesty. Egypt has become my home, so I want to avoid romanticizing and apologizing for social maladies, as most foreigners tend to do. Nothing could be more misguided, patronizing, or insulting.

I hope you find this blog informative, insightful and entertaining, and that we can make this as interactive as possible. That means I'd love to hear from you. Send me your comments, questions, complaints, suggestions, pics, doctoral dissertations, money, etc., and I will get back to you. Promise. :)~

My Videos

Sunday, June 5, 2011

"Les danseuses du Caire" ­ - “The Belly Dancers of Cairo”

French TV channel TF1’s 2011 Documentary on the Cairo Belly Dance World

A few months ago, I had the privilege of being filmed for a French documentary on belly dancing in Cairo. Three French journalists from TF1 spent an entire day shadowing me from the minute I woke up (literally), to the minute I finished my last performance on the Nile Memphis.  Their goal was to document a typical day in the life of a Cairo belly dancer.  They also shadowed Brazilian dancer Sorayya Zayed, an Egyptian cabaret dancer, and famous costume designer Sahar Okasha.

The experience of being shadowed was nothing but fun and laughs from start to finish.  I am grateful to French belly dancer Maya Sarsa of Cairo for recommending me for this project.

The journalists quickly discovered that my life as a Cairo belly dancer is exciting, funny, and frustrating all at the same time.  Watching their reactions as I told them how I was kicked out of my apartment for being a belly dancer, kicked out of the Semiramis for not sleeping with manager, and almost deported for dancing without working papers, was priceless.  And it was exactly the kind of stuff they wanted to hear.

After interviewing me about my experiences in Cairo, the journalists filmed me piecing together a choreography in my apartment.  They then captured me primping for my performance, and accompanied me on the Nile Memphis to videotape my show.  They were particularly amused by the way I wrapped my sequined Saidi stick in a black garbage bag to hide it from people on my way to and from work.  

The second part of this documentary deals with the everyday hardships faced by typical Egyptian cabaret dancers.  Similar to what they did with me, the journalists shadowed an Egyptian belly dancer, following her into her home, the beauty salon, and her performances.  They successfully conveyed the difficulties this dancer has hiding her belly dancing from family members, neighbors, and peers. 

And last but not least, the journalists spent a day with famous Brazilian Cairo dancer Sorayya Zayed and costume designer Sahar Okasha, who perfectly explained the strict regulations that govern belly dance costuming.  There’s also a part where the journalists interview a member of the Muslim Brotherhood on his views on belly dancing—views that are typical and well, to be expected.

The result of this interesting experiment is this amazing documentary called Les danseuses du Caire, or The Dancers of Cairo.  Kudos to the journalists for doing such a spectacular job and for taking a genuine interest in the Cairo belly dance world.  :) Hope you enjoyed watching it!


  1. so there is a chance to get to work in cairo as a bellydancer and not have to sleep with manager? to get the job coz you are really a good bellydancer.. i know u have to have money behid you,to not be so vulnerable..this also Randa told us at her course (about the money).sorry,im really interested in this topic.

  2. Sara this is a really interesting topic :) I think we can talk about that privately hahaha. I'll be posting an article soon about what it takes to dance here too.