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Raqs Sharqi Dancers Reject Wahda we Nos Channels


Translated By Priscilla Adum



A brand new belly dance television channel has made its debut in Egypt. NileSat has started broadcasting a new channel called "Tet Channel" which is dedicated solely to raqs sharqi and which features belly dancers from all over the world. The advertising on this channel promotes "adult entertainment" products, which stirs negative public opinion about dancers. Egyptian belly dancers are not happy about this as this article in El Youm newspaper's online version shows. This article appeared November 4, 2011, and it gives a few more details about the new channel.



Raqs Sharqi Artists Reject Wahda We Nos Channels

[Translator's note: In this context, "wahda we nos channels" means channels with poor quality dancing.]

Recently, many satellite channels have popped up which specialize solely in raqs sharqi offering clips of Arab, Russian and Turkish dancers. On these channels there are only dancers performing to the songs of Oum Kulthoum and Abdel Wahab and a number of sha'abi songs.

Egyptian raqs sharqi artists reject the appearance of these raqs sharqi satellite channels. The artist Nagwa Fouad confirmed this by saying that these channels are not useful at all because the viewers and lovers of raqs sharqi do not watch them, and she confirmed that these dancers are abusers of this profession and of its rules because they aren't professionals in raqs sharqi. She pointed out that when she participated in the program Hizzi Ya Nawaem, the contestants were trained for six months by instructors before appearing onscreen. She also pointed out that such channels could be damaging to dancers because they wear indecent costumes. On the same subject, Nagwa stressed that Egypt is going through difficult times and it's not appropriate to allow these channels to function at this moment.

The retired artist Zizi Mustapha said that it is acceptable to watch her dance in a film [for example] because it has a context and a framework within dramatic events. However, she rejected the broadcast of large doses [of dance] in this manner. She stressed that Egypt is in need of large doses of culture, education and respect, and that the priority now is for the appearance of channels that will teach the people how to respect each other and to accept each other regardless of their religion, color or origin. She explained that raqs sharqi doesn't need to reach the world via satellite because the world already knows [this] dance, and she said that the appearance of these channels are a distraction from important issues, "We are now in a revolution".


In turn, Major General Ahmed Anis, Chairman of NileSat, stated to El Youm el Sabe3 that El Tet channel which specializes in raqs sharqi has no frequencies on the NileSat Satellite as alleged by some, and he explained that there are some frequencies that are adjusted and can make the channel appear as if it were on NileSat. But in fact NileSat has nothing to do with this channel. Anis said that bellydance is "art" and that if the content displayed on the channel conflicts with anyone then they can resort to the legal system. He then added that he has not seen this channel but if it does not contain indecent scenes then he has no objections to it.

Aside from the raqs sharqi channels, there are also satellite channels that specialize in sha'abi clips, and they broadcast songs that are closer to the kind of songs that are heard inside Takatek. [Translator's note: Takatek is the plural of "toktok", little motorized carts used in sha'abi or poorer areas of Egypt as public transport]. The director Tamer Harbi who is the owner of Darbaka Channel said that his channel provides the opportunity for artists who are unable to pay satellite channels huge sums to have their videos aired, noting that among such artists there might be somone who is talented even though their clips are poor, and he airs these clips on his channel for free without receiving any money.

The Musicians Union explained that they do not have the authority to control these satellite channels, nor to prevent the broadcasting of the content unless the channels do not adhere to public morals and that would be the only situation in which the union could intervene, said Tariq Muzaq, spokesperson for the Musician's Union.



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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