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A 1001 Arabian Nights at the Movies
Workshop Series

Egyptian Superstars posterThe Egyptian Belly Dance Superstars!

Join Yasmin for a night at the movies and a look at the variety of Middle Eastern Dance from region to region, across three generations. From tribe to tribe and nation to nation, the movements and rhythms of Middle Eastern Dance have evolved into separate and unique dance forms. From hieroglyphic tomb paintings and written accounts in cuneiform, to the flowery language of European aristocratic journals and 19th century photographs, observers have continually tried to capture the dance's magic for posterity. This art form was ultimately best visually recorded, not by Hollywood type 35 mm productions, but by video cameras. Nowhere else does the spontaneity inherent in the dance shine through as in the minimal production requirements of these relatively lightweight cameras. Through a compilation of the images these cameras have caught, learn to see the difference between Egyptian, Lebanese and Turkish dance and appreciate the finesse of the region's greatest stars, past and present.


Badia Masabni
The origin of veil work
The 19th century Ghawazee and Awalim
Tahia Carioka
Samia Gamal

Beba Ez Edine
Naima Akef

and the 1960s - 1980s dancers

Much of the footage has never been available commercially. The beginning will be included as bonus material on the updated DVD version of Belly Dance Magic. The script is available in the booklet that accompanies Dancing with Genies.

A Review of the workshop ...

Hi Yasmin!
The movie was lovely.  I was really particularly mesmerized by the ancient times and the silver screen stars.   They are just so cute and ethereal.  I wonder if its the black and white far-awayness almost like an egyptian tomb painting in some way that makes them seem more romantic fascinating and draws my sort of ancient spirit in.  Also your narration voice is perfect. 

God, so much work, incredible- can't imagine and you were certainly very fair to everyone.  You mentioned all the major styles.  What a phenomonal reference DVD that would be to every teacher in America to show clips to students.  

That's funny that Artemis and I both didn't like Miss Mona's drum solo.  I'd say this it is great, super, awesome to have that physical endurance and some of her tricks and moves to place strategically in drum solo for climatic excitement- but to have 5 minutes plus of it non-interspersed with subtle slow and sexy moves to me was more like go go dancer monkey in cage type thing.  I also admittedly think though that American audiences would love the non-stop action.  Egyptians would be OK with it too if the rest of her show had some Om Khalthoum etc whcih you said she did splendidly.  
Also intersting how all the girls there liked different types.  I've figured out Samia appeals to me - the ballet with the Egyptian - becuase that is what I have always longed and strived for Rhythm and Grace.  It's the spiritual reaching longing element that beautiful arms and body posture imply that make the dance complete and polished for me.
Anyhow, you are so gifted and talented as a dancer and as a documentary film maker!  God probably gave you both these skills so you can caputrue something and touch people and important legacies of the past won't be forgotten.  Perhaps in the long run of things the film maker skills are even more important because they can touch ultimately thousands upon thousands vs the "just" (ha ha thats LOTS) of hundreds upon hundreds you've danced for in your life time.
Thanks for including me,  


From the first showing

The Totals have been counted - even though over half of you walked off with the sheets and didn't give any feed-back. But there were still more than 20 answers so I will assume the answers I received are pretty indicative.

The Questions:

1. Which was your favorite dancer and why?

2. Which was your least favorite and why?

3. Which movements would you most like to learn?

4. Who had the best -

  • Hands
  • Facial Expressions
  • Arms
  • Hip movements
  • Accents
  • Costume
  • Hair
  • Music
  • Cool moves

The Dancers were (in order of appearance):

    The Answers
    Note: Not everyone answered all the questions so the totals are different

    1. Which was your favorite dancer and why?
    Samia Gamal won this one with 6 votes
    Naima Akef came in 2nd with 3
    Mona Said and Dina tied for 3rd with 2 votes each
    The rest of the votes were split between the other dancers.

    2. Which was your least favorite and why?
    Nelly Fouad, Zizi Moustafa and Aida Sharif had 2 negative votes each
    The rest were split between the other dancers.
    The only dancers that did NOT get negative votes were:
    Tahia Carioka
    Naima Akef
    Nagwa Fouad
    Sohair Zuki
    Fifi Abdou
    Mona Said

    3. Which movements would you most like to learn?
    The replies I received were -
    Veil entrance
    Hip movements of Sohair Zuki
    Hips from Shoo Shoo Amin
    Samia Gamal arm patterns
    Hair toss
    The "pop"
    Clean accents

    4. Who had the best -

    • Hands: N + O + A + I + E + F + E + E/J + E + J + C + C
      Winner: Nagwa Fouad
    • Facial Expressions: N + N + G + A + A + B + A + N + A + C + A + C + I + G
      Winner: Tahia Carioka
    • Arms: C + N + C + I + A + C + C + C + J/B + E + C + C + C
      Winner: Samia Gamal
    • Hip movements: O/F + B/F + E + F/O + D + D/F + D + B/J + D + F + D/I
      Winner: Sohair Zuki
    • Accents: O/F + N + I + F + D + D/F + M + D + J + D/E + N + D
      Winner: Naima Akef
    • Costume: G + A + H + N + O + I + C + H + I + Lebanese + C + E/M + G/O + I + F
      Winner: Mona Said - but not convincing
    • Hair: I + N + O + O + C + N + I + N + N + G + G/I + P
      Winner: Dina
    • Music: N + N + N + C + P + D/G + F + C + J + N + I + P
      Winner: Dina
    • Cool moves: I + I + G + G + G + D + I + D + I + I + D + L
      Winner: Mona Said



Each 4 hour class will break down one number from a variety of Egypt's most well known dancers:

  • Mona Said
  • Fifi Abdou
  • Dina
  • Lucy
  • Nelly
  • Sohair Zuki
  • Aiza Sharif
  • Nagwa Fouad
  • Sahar Hamdi
  • Shoo Shoo Amin
  • Aida Nour
  • Naima Akef
  • Tahia Carioka
  • Samia Gamal

For more information please send an email.