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, December 21, 2011

Endangered Species

The Dying Art of Egyptian Belly Dance

Egyptian belly dancers are an endangered species.  On the road to extinction.  That is, if there isn’t a belly dance renaissance in Egypt sometime soon.  Even Dina fears as much.  For the truth is, aside from Dina, Randa, Camelia, and more recently, Aziza, there has been a decline of good Egyptian belly dancers on the market.  This is ironic, considering that most of us imagine Egypt to be “Planet Belly Dance,” and that Egypt is the home of belly dance legends Samia Gamal, Fifi Abdo, and Soheir Zaki.  There’s also at least 40 million Egyptian women living here.  You’d think that with those numbers, this music and dance oriented country could produce a few more belly dancers.  Yet the reality is that an ugly combination of economic and socio-religious factors is robbing this country of one of its greatest artistic achievements.

I remember first moving to Cairo and being excited about all the belly dancers I thought I’d see.  Expecting to discover hundreds of naturally talented women, I visited nearly every venue that featured belly dancing.  But what I expected and what I discovered were two different things.  To my dismay, the level of dancing here amongst most Egyptian belly dancers is not as high as it used to be just 30 years ago.