MYRIAM ABDELAZIZ PHOTOGRAPHY
Today, ‘Egyptian belly dancers are an endangered species, on the road to extinction. That is, if there isn’t a belly dance renaissance in Egypt sometime soon. This is ironic, considering that most of the international community imagines Egypt to be the “Planet of Belly Dance,” and that Egypt is the home of belly dance legends Samia Gamal, Fifi Abdo, and Soheir Zaki. There are also at least 40 million Egyptian women living here. You’d think that with those numbers, this music and dance oriented country could produce a few more belly dancers. Yet the reality is that an ugly combination of economic and socio-religious factors is robbing this country of one of its greatest artistic achievements’ explains Luna, an American Belly Dancers based in Cairo.
The majority of the top performances are now made by non-Egyptians. Foreign professional dancers come to refine their technique and end up being on the top of the scene just because there is almost no local competition. The 2011 Revolution that has driven away tourism from the country and lead to a deeper economical crisis is accelerating the death of Belly Dancing.