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Lucy Interview

During Ramadan 2010


Translated By Priscilla Adum


This is a transcript, translated into English, of an interview Inas el Degheidy did with Egyptian dancer Lucy. It aired on Egyptian television in Ramadan 2010, on the program El Gaaria wi el Moushaghbeen. This translation is based on a copy posted on youtube. This translation begins at the beginning of the youtube clip, but because the youtube clip starts midway through the interview, so does the translation.


LUCY: She is an intelligent woman. She knows what has become popular today and so she used that and put it in her work. She knows that she's doing difficult work, not easy work.

INTERVIEWER: What things do you see that she took the most of?

LUCY: The hip movements, the shimmies, the Middle Eastern style turns and some of the hand movements.

INTERVIEWER: You mean she benefited from that?

LUCY: Yes, she got hold of our DVD's. DVDs of all of us including Samia and Taheya and she benefited from them.

INTERVIEWER: Is it true that any Middle Eastern woman can dance well?

LUCY: Especially Egyptians!

INTERVIEWER: But I think not all of them, Lucy.

LUCY: I know girls who can dance well, and I have a friend who dances like me but in a different style. [Lucy means that her friend dances as well as her even though she's not a professional dancer.]

[Editor's note: the photo of Lucy at right was taken by Shira in 2004 at Lucy's nightclub, the Parisiana, in Giza, Egypt.]

INTERVIEWER: Maybe she learned from you because she's your friend?

LUCY: Not at all. For example, no one taught me to dance. I learned it by myself, on my own.

INTERVIEWER: How was your dancing when you were a kid? Before you became a professional dancer? I mean, how did you know that you could dance well?

LUCY: [laughing] The circumstances. I was in ballet school when I was 9 years old and I felt like I was suffocating from the steps we were doing. They were like 1 2 3 4. But I wasn't old enough to decide if what we were doing was right or wrong. When I grew up a bit and I saw Naima Akef and Samia and Taheya, I discovered that the dance they did was completely different than what I did. So I always stood in front of the mirror and I'd tie a cloth around my waist [hips] and begin to dance. Especially to songs by Mohamed Rushdie. Then I'd go to school the next day and tell my classmates, "Oh yesterday I danced in front of Mohamed Rushdie!" And then with my hands I'd go through the motions of putting on makeup in front of them.

INTERVIEWER: You did two fawazeer, one called "Abed wi Eswad" and another called "Aiema wi Siema" and then after you did those, the fawazeer suddenly stopped. Did you see that the circumstances were no longer ideal for the production of fawazeer?

LUCY: Well I'll tell you, in the past there were questions [riddles] in every fawazeer and people would answer the questions so they could win. But now there are a lot of programs on television where people can win things. And there are now also a lot of video clips full of singing and dancing.


INTERVIEWER: You've watched Nelly's fawazeer and Sherihan's fawazeer and then Lucy comes along and does a fawazeer. What do you think is the difference betweo see their steps. I felt suffocated by the stepsen Nelly, Sherihan and Lucy?

LUCY: Nelly had a special flavor; Sherihan had a wild Middle Eastern style. They both dance well but Nelly is better than Sherihan in show dancing, and Sherihan is better than Nelly in belly dancing.


LUCY: [laughing] I don't know. You could say I'm similar to them.

INTERVIEWER: But you're a professional dancer.

LUCY: Yes, so? I asked Mahmoud Reda, what should I do? And he told me that Nelly just did it without having to ask. So I was looking at the [background] dancers and trying t

and the 1 2 1 2 1 2. I don't like 1 2 1 2.

INTERVIEWER: You don't like restrictions in your dancing, you like to feel free?

LUCY: Yes. If you watch my dance today, and then you see me dancing tomorrow with the same music, you will see different styles.

INTEVIEWER: Does it depend on your mood?

LUCY: Not exactly on my mood. But it depends mostly on the audience and their reaction and on my feelings for the music while I dance.

INTERVIEWER: Do you still dance every night at midnight at your night club?

LUCY: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: Even if you are doing work in television soap operas?

LUCY: Yes, If I am going to be working late on the soap opera some nights, past 3 am, then I call the club and tell them that I can't make it.

INTERVIEWER: Your husband is the owner of the club?

LUCY: Yes, he is the owner of the night club.

INTERVIEWER: Does he pay you a salary for working?

LUCY: [laughing] Sure. It's work.

INTERVIEWER: Does he pay you monthly?

LUCY: [laughing] Daily!

INTERVIEWER: Some men say, "Your money is my money."

LUCY: Yes, it's like that between us in other matters, but regarding my work, he does give me my money which I've earned.


INTERVIEWER: Lucy, you're a good actress and you have made very good films. You're not like other actresses who have needed time and experience to become good actresses. You were a good actress from the start. But then you stopped making films. Why?

LUCY: I only do what I like and feel and even in the days when I had bit parts in films I loved what I did and I'd go to the studios early because I loved it. I dreamed of having a big role so I would be able to express the feeling and the love for acting that I had inside of me. As far as films, my last movie was Korse Fi el Kelob. In that film I suffered a fractured pelvis.

INTERVIEWER: [laughing] Is your pelvis healed now?

LUCY: [laughing] Yes, it's quite healed. After that film, the offers I received were not for the same quality of films as the ones I had made before, so I turned them down. Because they weren't of the same high quality of films that I'd done before.

INTERVIEWER: Your films were very good from an artistic point of view and they weren't just commercial films out to make money.

LUCY: Yes, these are the films that will remain and this quality art is what people will remember me by after I am dead. It's good work that is respectful of the people who watch it and respectful of their minds too.

INTERVIEWER: Lucy, you're a dancer and you know that Arab society likes and loves dancers but at the same time rejects their work as dancers. And yet you say that you only do respectful work and respectful films? How do you reconcile this?

LUCY: Almost all jobs are respectable jobs.

INTERVIEWER: Yes, and dance is a respectable occupation as well.

LUCY: Yes, and it's a good art. If you look at ballet, you'll find that some people like it and other people don't. And when you look at the dancing of Samia and Taheya and Zeinat and Nabaweya Moustafa, they were great artists [dancers] that left a positive mark in our history. They were very good. In the beginning cinema didn't show dancers in a positive light, but later on they began to portray dancers in a more positive way. They began to realize that a dancer is a woman who can be a wife or a mother, and as people became more educated they began to view dancers in a better way.



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About the Translator

Priscilla is a dancer of Lebanese heritage who enjoys researching the Golden Era of Egyptian dance. She owns a collection of more than one hundred classic black and white Egyptian films which is continually expanding.

Priscilla has also gathered a large library of dance related articles and clippings from Middle Eastern magazines and newspapers, many of which she has translated from the original Arabic to both English and Spanish.

Priscilla currently resides in Central America where she is a dance instructor. 




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