Dances of Egypt
Item # video199
Dances of Egypt - Belly Dance Performance Video
In Egypt, music and dance performances are the high-light of every celebration, especially the wedding feast. This 60-minute DVD video gives an intimate view of a variety of these entertainments, with glimpses of the countryside, the people, and their lifestyles.
The performances take place in cities, towns and villages throughout parts of Egypt, and were filmed or recorded by Aisha Ali between 1971 and 1988. Considering the changes that have occurred since the filming began, much of the material has important archival value. It begins In Cairo with a wedding procession - or zaffah - which IS followed byy a belly dancer performing for wedding guests at a modern hoteL An example of the traditional awalem style of dance follows. Concluding this section is a remarkable zar ritual, and a cabaret version of a whirling Darwish dance. Traveling between Cairo and Tanta, there are brief views of the farmlands and the fellahin at their daily chores. At Alexandria, a fascinating variety of dancers, singers and musicians perform at several wedding celebrations. In Upper Egypt (the Sa'id) there are presentations of the Tahtib - a combat dance performed with quarterstaves, that dates back to Pharaonic times; a dancing horse, a men's cane dance, and, a Sa'idi version of the bambutiya dance from Port Said. Especially interesing are several performances of the Sanat Mazin, a family of Nawar gypsies that has been settled in Thebes for hundreds of years. They are some of the much-talked-about Ghawazee, a term used to describe the public dancing girls of Egypt who perform in the traditional manner at weddings and festivals. Musicians and ethnomusicologists will be interested in the variety of urban .and folkloric ensembles that accompany the dancers, including some excellent examples of Rais Qinnawi's mizmar and tabl baladi group, playing for the Sanat Mazin in 1974, 1977, and again in 1983.
This DVD version includes a bonus clip of the Banat Mazin performing with Aisha Ali in Luxor for the cast of the 1977 film, Death on the Nile.