Photo of Shira



PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

The Raq-ettes

Inspired by Wendy Page


Dancers in Ka-Gmni Tomb



About this Artwork

The above 4,000-year-old image of dancers appears on an ancient Egyptian tomb wall. When I posted it on Facebook after returning home from Egypt, my friend Wendy Page quipped, "The Raq-ettes: A Horus Line!"

These dancers are frolicking on the wall of the tomb of Ka-Gmni at Saqqara, Egypt. The Saqqara tombs of Ka-Gmni, Mereruke, and Ty contain the oldest images of dancers in the Middle East I've been able to discover so far in my research into belly dance history. (There could be even older ones out there, these are just the ones I've personally found so far.) They're much older than the images at Luxor. I took this photo when I was there on February 13, 2016.

Ka-Gmni was the Chief Justice and Vizier to the Pharoah Teti. The sign on the tomb at Saqqara dates it as circa 2340 BCE.

For those who don't understand the puns in the above photo:

  • The Arabic word for dance is raqs, which sounds similar to the English word "rocks". The word "Raq-ettes" is a pun referencing the famous dance troupe "Rockettes" who perform in New York City at Radio City Music Hall.
  • In English, the term "chorus line" refers to a line of dancers who are performing a choreographed dance together. The Radio City Music Hall Rockettes are a chorus line known for their high kicks. In ancient Egypt, the god Horus was the son of Isis and Osiris. So, the words "A Horus Line" are a pun, suggesting that these dancers from ancient Egypt are honoring Horus by dancing in a chorus line.


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