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

Dance in Egyptian Cinema


Workshop Summary

Explore a piece of belly dance history through Shira's lecture on Dance in Egyptian Cinema. In this lecture, Shira shares rarely-seen dance clips in addition to well-known ones and provides background on the story line. She also shares lively behind-the-scenes stories of these celebrity dancers and their careers.

Explore how the role of "dancer" has been portrayed in Egyptian motion pictures from the 1930's through today. Learn the story behind well-known dance scenes, discover dancers you may not have previously seen, and learn how film portrayals of dancers changed over the years to reflect changes in Egyptian society.

Dance in Egyptian Cinema




Detailed Description

This lecture/video presentation explores how dance has been portrayed in Egyptian cinema over the 20th century.  Many people have seen compilations of dance scenes from vintage motion pictures, but know very little about the films in which they appear. This presentation reveals the story behind the clips – not just the movies’ plots, but also insights into how then-current events/culture influenced the portrayal of dance and who the audiences for these films were.

The workshop shows dance scenes from a variety of Egyptian films to illustrate several key points, using narrative to weave them together, establish a historical context for each, and help viewers anticipate what to look for. Key points covered include:

  • Different environments in which dance occurred: the moulid, the nightclub, the wedding performer, and the social gathering, including movie scenes that illustrate each
  • Types of roles featuring dancers, and how these changed over time
  • How changes to Egyptian society such as the 1952 revolution affected how dance was portrayed in the cinema
  • Dance forms other than raqs sharqi (belly dance) that appeared in Egyptian films
  • Famous actors & actresses and their connection to the dancers



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