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).
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:
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:
A charming performance, right??
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.
And then on Sunday, June 3rd I will join Khalil Abboud and Band again at El Morocco:
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.