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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Baladi Beauty

Modeling a wedding dress in an
Egyptian magazine
There must be some superstition about wearing a wedding dress before you get married, but I’ve worn quite a few of them since moving to Cairo. In fact, at one point, I was up to 20 wedding gowns a week. No, I’ve never been married (despite the endless marriage proposals from Egyptian men), and never want to be. I simply model wedding dresses in my rare spare time, when I’m not performing or teaching belly dance.
Let me clarify. I’m NOT a bridal model. It’s just that I’m a bit more “well rounded” than all the Russian girls who saturate the modeling market in Egypt, so I get called for a lot of shoots which require a fuller-figured woman. That means lingerie and wedding shoots. Being that I downright refuse to model lingerie in Egypt, I stick to the bridal modeling. Kind of ironic considering my phobia/disgust with all things marriage. Especially poofy white dresses. And boy are they poofy here. The minute I step into one of those monstrous things, I look like I’m drowning in a sea of white tulle and chiffon. Not to mention it’s impossible to maneuver in them. Now I know why all the Egyptian brides whose weddings I dance at look permanently pissed and scared!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ramadan in Cairo

Ramadan suhoor at local restaurant Il-Gahsh

It’s that time of year again when Cairo finally takes a break from itself.  The city is quieter, and traffic is more predictable.  Taxi drivers make an extra effort not to rip you off, and people go out of their way to be kind.  From the multicolored Christmas lights that adorn mosques and buildings, to the ubiquitous fawanees (Ramadan lamps) that hang from every home and storefront, there is an undeniable mood of festivity in the air. 

It’s Ramadan, the Islamic holy month, during which Muslims fast and abstain from all things vulgar. Well, theoretically at least.  In Egypt, cabarets, casinos, bars and nightclubs close down.  Muslims make an effort to refrain from using profanity, fighting, lying, smoking, and engaging in other un-Islamic activities, one of which is belly dancing. 

Legally speaking, belly dancing is prohibited during the month of Ramadan.  This is because it contradicts Islamic values of female modesty.  In reality, however, some venues continue to hire belly dancers.  These are mainly the Nile cruises, which cater to foreign tourists and can’t afford not to have belly dancing.  Thus, they dodge the “no belly dancing during Ramadan” policy by making the dancer wear a 1-piece Saidi galabiyya and dance with a couple of folklore boys, thereby making her a folklore dancer.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Song Translation Service!

Take your dancing to the next level with my new Arabic song translation service! 
Upon popular suggestion, I’ve finally decided to offer a song translation service. :)  Now you can have ANY Arabic song translated & transliterated into fluent, native English for just $18.00.  I provide accurate, precise translations, phonetic transliterations, and explain all idioms, terms, and cultural references that aren’t immediately intelligible to non-Arabic speakers. No more limited, awkward, online translations by translators who are limited in either English or Arabic.
Understanding the meaning of the words to which you’re dancing will significantly improve the way you “feel” the music, and your audiences will be impressed.  Song translation is also a great way to gain further insight into Middle Eastern culture.
Just for the record: I have 5 years of formal Arabic study under my belt: 2 years at Harvard University, 2 years at Columbia University and the City University of New York, and about 1 year in Syria, Yemen, and Egypt combined.  I’ve also been living in Cairo for 3 years and am fluent in the Egyptian dialect.

Click here and here to read testimonials from satisfied customers. :)

Payment via Pay Pal.  To begin translating, contact me at  Looking forward to hearing from you!