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

Monday, May 13, 2019

DROP THE PROP: Dancing to Mawwal

Hello! And thank you for your interest in Drop the Prop, my groundbreaking series of online Egyptian dance workshops! The topic of my first workshop is ' Dancing to Mawwal.' If you’ve already purchased this series, great! Read on to learn more about the history and development of mawwal (plural is mawaweel). If you haven’t, now’s your chance. Just click on this link, create an account with Teachable, and login to the workshop.

I imagine ‘mawwal’ might be a new term for some of you, so let me briefly define it. Mawwal is the improvisational singing that usually occurs in the beginning of an Arabic song with little to no musical accompaniment. Think of songs like Bint Il-Sultan; Mawood; and Inta Omri. Each contains a mawwal towards its beginning that you can probably recognize.

So what?, you might be thinking. Why dedicate an entire dance workshop to such a topic?

      1.   …it’s obscure. No one teaches this in a live or virtual setting, because…
      2.   …it’s challenging. Most dancers don’t know how to dance to mawaweel. Either they don’t understand Arabic, or they find dancing to music-less lyrics counterintuitive. A lot of times it’s both. Most will edit them out if they’re dancing to canned music, or else leave them (or tolerate them when dancing to live music) but meaninglessly flail around until the music kicks in.