by Luna

by Luna

Luna

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

Monday, January 30, 2012

Metamorphosis

It just dawned on me that I’ve been living in Cairo for more than 3 years.  That’s a long time for someone who never intended to live or work here.  With all the uncertainty in the air about Egypt’s future, one wonders how much longer I and others like me will be able to thrive.  But rather than speculate about the future (again), I’ve decided to reflect on my past and share a few of the adjustments I had to make as a dancer.  There were many, because belly dance outside of Egypt is a totally different animal than belly dance in Egypt.  There were adjustments in technicality, musicality, and even physicality.  There were adjustments in music selection and music understanding, costuming and audience.  And there were changes in attitude, ethics and comportment.

Technique
Perhaps one of my biggest challenges as a foreign student of Egyptian dance was learning proper technique.  Egyptian technique is much more subtle, nuanced, and intricate than what most of us learn back home.  Movements are smaller and more precise, more controlled and more meaningful.   Upon studying dance here, the first thing I had to do was unlearn everything I thought I knew and start from scratch.  For example, back home, I learned to do everything in plié.  Shimmy in plié.  Hip drops in plié.  Figure 8’s in plié.  I never noticed how bent my knees were until I came here and Egyptians pointed it out.  Not only do bent knees look bad, but they prevent us from getting the maximum oomph out of our hip movements.  I’ve since straightened up and become somewhat of a knee-nazi, as anyone who’s ever taken class with me can attest.  :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

False Alarm

Warning: If you have an aversion to feminine products or problems, or are generally squeamish, proceed no further.

I totally didn’t intend my first blog post of the year to be about my period, but hey, it’s better than some soppy post about New Year’s resolutions.  Years come and years go, and I never make resolutions.  They’re worthless, and nobody keeps them anyway.  Besides, there’s nothing  special about January 1st.  As far as I’m concerned, July 29th is just as good a day to make resolutions as January 1st.  Because there’s no such thing as time.  Not here in Egypt anyway.

Back to my period.  If anything, my monthly cycle is the closest thing to time in my world.  It’s always punctual and always painful, and I can always count on it coming.  That’s more than I can say for most people, including myself.  And, conveniently enough, it came back to haunt me on January 1st, at the stroke of midnight, to be exact.  Couldn’t possibly be a better way to kick off the new year, now could there?  

The reason I’m blogging about my period is because I wound up touring four hospitals because of it.  In one of my many moments of absent mindedness, I inserted a tampon without remembering if I had removed the previous one.  Being the sissy that I am, I panicked.  Left unremoved, a floating tampon can cause Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), which is potentially fatal.  Not to mention, I have extremely long nails, which I wasn’t about to remove to perform a tampon extraction.