Hoda Shams El Din (هدى شمس الدين)

A couple weeks ago I was looking at the YouTube page of Sausan's Academy of Egyptian Dance and stumbled across a very cute clip of Egyptian belly dancer Hoda Shams El Din (هدى شمس الدين).  

  Photo of Hoda Shams El Din courtesy of  The Belly Blog

Photo of Hoda Shams El Din courtesy of The Belly Blog

Before I get to the clip, I wanted to mention a really interesting article/interview with Luna of Cairo.  Luna is an American belly dancer who moved to Cairo to study Egyptian dance and to work as a professional belly dancer.  Like many other belly dancers who have not had that opportunity, I have enjoyed her reports from Cairo.  This interview is about her decision to leave Cairo and move back home, and in it she says:

The dance scene is now centered around an Eastern European aesthetic, physically and in terms of dance, and that’s not why I came to Egypt.
— World of Dancers: Exit Interview with Luna of Cairo

This is a very frank and important observation from a dancer who has been deeply involved in the Cairo scene.  I am mentioning it because this is precisely why I like to share vintage or classic Egyptian style belly dance clips on my blog and why I also try to support other artists who share the same respect and love for the roots of the dance.  I feel that someone new to belly dance could go onto YouTube and look for clips and get a completely skewed idea of what the dance is, and perhaps be discouraged from trying it.  Some of the clips out there make the dance look much too gymnastical (is that a word?), technical or impossible for the average person to do, and I fear women could be discouraged from trying.  I always hear the words of my teacher Amina in my head when I would start to get to wrapped up in this kind of thinking.  She says, "It's a folk dance."  That means it is not only for someone with elite training.

Anyway, I highly recommend the whole interview with Luna of Cairo for a great read.  It sounds like she will be teaching workshops now that she is home from Egypt, so here's hoping that San Francisco is on her list.  Follow Luna here to stay up-to-date.

And so back to the clip I started talking about!  Sausan is another artist I admire so much- she is the owner and head chef of Al Masri Egyptian Restaurant (where so many of us in the Bay Area LOVE to dance, watch dance and listen to live Arabic music!) and also runs the Sausan Academy of Egyptian Dance.  She has taken many film clips of dancers and created DVDs of them categorized by dancer- she has translated many of the songs into English and subtitled the DVDs so it's quite valuable - you can see her collection here.

Sausan herself is a beautiful performer and I will share a video of her here when I start my series on American dancers.  For now, here is Hoda Shams El Din, with the caption below from Sausan's research:

©SAED Hoda Shams El Din was born of Armenian parents. Her first appearance on the silver screen was in 1950 as a dancer. She later starred and danced in a movie called Halal Alayk (You Really Deserve It) with Ismael Yaseen in 1951 and continued to appear as a dancer and actress until the mid 1960s.

A charming performance, right??

You can see more of Hoda Shams El Din on the CaroVan Vimeo Page.  And you can learn more about her at this really fascinating article on The Belly Blog.

Lots of news for this week too: first of all I get to be part of not one, but TWO live music and belly dance shows this weekend!  Tomorrow (Fri 6/1) I will be at Tannourine  Restaurant in San Mateo for a live Arabic music and dance with Khalil Abboud and Band.

  Live Music and Belly Dance Show at Tannourine in San Mateo on Friday, June 1st!

Live Music and Belly Dance Show at Tannourine in San Mateo on Friday, June 1st!

And then on Sunday, June 3rd I will join Khalil Abboud and Band again at El Morocco:

  Beautiful Live Music and Belly Dance Show at El Morocco in Pleasant Hill - Sun June 3rd!!

Beautiful Live Music and Belly Dance Show at El Morocco in Pleasant Hill - Sun June 3rd!!

Details for these and other performances are on my Shows page!

And then I will be teaching belly dance for the Summer 2018 session at the South San Francisco Parks and Rec - you can register easily online!

  Belly Dance Classes in South San Francisco!

Belly Dance Classes in South San Francisco!

Complete class information on my Classes page.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you find a class, clip or show that you will enjoy and I will see you next time :)  Happy Dancing.