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, September 30, 2012

Current Affairs

One of the reasons I allowed myself to come to Egypt was because I was burnt out.  Six years of nonstop reading, writing, and thinking about Middle Eastern politics will do that to you.  Not to mention the constant debating, arguing, analyzing, questioning and critiquing.  It’s educational, no doubt, but also maddening.  Your brain never stops.  One thought opens the door to a million new ones.  I thought learning to dance in Egypt would be the perfect way to clear my head of all the political pollution, but boy was I wrong.  If anything, living here has only the made the wheels in my head turn faster.  Especially after the revolution.  All people seem to want to do is talk politics and make history.  At work, in taxis, at cafes, in Tahrir.  There’s just no escaping the political madness these days.  It’s endemic.

This month was no exception.  Tensions reached an all time high, seemingly over that disgusting film which denigrates the Muslim prophet Mohamed.  As an American who lives in Egypt, this is something that greatly troubled me.  So I want to share some of my thoughts on the matter.  Note: they are just thoughts.  I don’t have an “agenda,” and don’t present my views as THE truth.  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

"Living the Dream"

I’m always bemused by all belly dancers who tell me I’m “living the dream.”  Every time I hear that, I want to ask, really?  What dream?  I never dreamed of being a belly dancer in Cairo.  I didn’t even know that was possible! =D
Truth be told, I didn’t come to Egypt with a mission to be a “star,” or because someone pumped my ego with garbage.  I came to Egypt because I had a broken heart.  I hadn’t broken up with a boyfriend or anything like that.  But a couple of years earlier,  I saw something I really wanted and didn’t think I could do-- real Egyptian belly dancing.  Since attending that festival in 2006, I desperately wanted to learn.  But because achieving that level of excellence in the dance requires many years of living in Cairo, I decided that was impossible, and got depressed.

It turns out I was wrong.  I have, after all, been living in Cairo for four years.  Yet at the time, if you would have told me this could or would happen, I would have responded that I also believe in the tooth fairy.  I had just been accepted to Harvard, would spend the next two years of my life there, and would then go on to get a job and make babies.  I couldn’t imagine interrupting the very natural flow of things to fit Egypt in.  Nor could I imagine the logistics of undertaking such an endeavor.  How would I get there?  Where would I stay?  Who would hire me to work so that I could pay my rent and fund all my dance classes?  Too much uncertainty, too much impossibility, no money.