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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Dina Interview
on Bidoun Rakaba ("Uncensored")

 

Translated By Priscilla Adum

 

This is a translated transcript of an interview that Dina did for Wafaa el Kilany on a television program called Bidoun Rakaba (which means "Uncensored") on LBC October 20, 2010. In it, Dina responds to criticism from Nagwa Fouad in an interview that happened shortly before. The original program was an hour long, and was uploaded to the Internet in 11 parts. The section appearing on this page represents parts 9 and 10.

 

Nagwa Fouad Response Segment

INTERVIEWER: On the program called 2x2 which recently aired in the month of Ramadan, Nagwa Fouad said that she told you that your costumes were too naked and that you should cover your body more, and that your response to her was "I'm free and I can do whatever I want."

DINA: I saw the program. With all due respect to Nagwa, that discussion never took place and I can't imagine why Nagwa would say that. What I can tell you is that I grew up and was raised properly and was taught to respect those who are older than me. I'd never respond to Nagwa in that manner, by telling her that I'm free.

INTERVIEWER: So, that conversation never happened?

DINA: It never happened.

INTERVIEWER: So, why did Nagwa say that?

DINA: I don't really know. I didn't understand it at all.

INTERVIEWER: Have you tried to call her?

DINA: There are just some things about me that I cannot change, and when I feel that something isn't right, I stand aside. [Translator's note: By this she means that she would rather remain silent about it than to confront Nagwa about what she said.]

INTERVIEWER: They asked Nagwa on the program 2x2 if belly dance is a forbidden thing or not and she responded that the dance of the past was not forbidden but the one they do today IS. What's your view Dina? Is this dance forbidden or not?

DINA: Ohh, we need a sheik [an elder or religious man] to determine that.

INTERVIEWER: Well, let's leave the religious point of view out of it because for sure religious views will say it's forbidden. [At which Dina laughs.]

INTERVIEWER: Perhaps what Nagwa meant was that today there is too much bare flesh and sexual suggestiveness, and that in the past, costumes were better than they are today?

DINA: No, no. There are films from the past. [She means that there are films from the past with revealing costumes.]

INTERVIEWER: So what was the meaning of Nagwa's words then?

DINA: I don't know. And I don't understand them.

 

ABOUT THE PHOTO: Dina performing at her regular show at the Semiramis hotel in Cairo in February, 2017. Photo by Shira.

 

INTERVIEWER: Are Dina's costumes today a lot more revealing and different than Nagwa's belly dance costumes?

DINA: [Laughing] We wear shorts! They didn't used to wear shorts. They had revealing belly dance costumes and transparent skirts! We don't wear see-through skirts today.

INTERVIEWER: Well, the censors are the ones who say that you must wear shorts today. [In Egypt]

DINA: And society says so as well. We dance at people's parties, and if our costumes are too revealing, other people will be bothered by it.

INTERVIEWER: And what about when you travel abroad?

DINA: They're the same costumes. I have costumes made every month.

INTERVIEWER: But sometimes, Dina, your shorts are the same color as your skin and it looks like you're naked and you're not wearing shorts.

DINA: Well that's entirely up to them. If they are blind, they're free to be blind. [She means the people who say she isn't wearing shorts.] Look, if someone wants to object just for the sake of objecting, then they will object to anything I wear. People just repeat words. If one person says Dina dances naked, then others will repeat it and also say Dina dances naked. Even if they didn't actually see my performance. I've never worn a belly dance costume in any film I've been in. In all my dancing in films I've worn a dress or galabeya.

INTERVIEWER: That's because you know that if you were to dance in a belly dance costume the censors would delete the scene from the film. Dina's belly dance costumes are on the top of the list when it comes to being revealing and suggestive.

DINA: No, in films there are swimsuits.

Dina

Question & Answer Segment

[IN THE NEXT PART THE INTERVIEWER DOES A QUESTION AND ANSWER SEGMENT WITH DINA.]

INTERVIEWER: Is Dina for or against dancing at special or private parties, for example in a villa or an apartment or something like that?

DINA: If the place is adequate and appropriate for a good party, why not?

INTERVIEWER: Does Dina agree or not that Dina is responsible for having made belly dance costumes so tiny that they aren't even belly dance costumes?

DINA: If people didn't like them, they could have rejected them.

INTERVIEWER: How Dina? The media has written quite a bit about this. [About her revealing costumes]

DINA: The newspapers are not the people.

INTERVIEWER: Don't the newspapers represent the views of the public?

DINA: No, they don't represent the views of the public.

INTERVIEWER: Is Dina for or against the view that nudity is not a good thing?

DINA: I agree, it's not a good thing.

 

ABOUT THE PHOTO: Dina performing at her regular show at the Semiramis hotel in Cairo in February, 2017. Photo by Shira.

 

INTERVIEWER: Is Dina for or against belly dancing at graduation parties?

DINA: I'm with the view that they can dance as they wish.

INTERVIEWER: Did Nabih el Wahish win the lawsuit against you in court?

DINA: There is no lawsuit. I read about it in the newspapers, but there's no lawsuit. [Nabih el Wahish allegedly filed a lawsuit against Dina claiming that she was destroying ethics, wholesome customs and morality by dancing at graduation parties.]

INTERVIEWER: Why do belly dance stars always marry five or six times?

DINA: Soheir Zaki only married once.

INTERVIWER: And besides Soheir?

DINA: Lucy married once.

INTERVIEWER: And besides Lucy? Because those are exceptional cases. Taheya married 13 times. And Fifi has been married about 7 or 8 times. And Dina how many times?

DINA: That isn't anybody's business. Perhaps a dancer's life is difficult, and a husband can't put up with her working every day. In order for a dancer to find a man who understands her work, and accepts the fact that half the time she will be away from him, he would have to love her very much to put up with it just because his wife likes it. For a dancer to find a man like this, she'd have to search far and wide and try time and again until she finds a man who will accept this.

Dina

INTERVIEWER: Is it difficult for the husband of a dancer to accompany her to work and then return home with her without having a fight? Talk to me clearly about the Middle Eastern man.

DINA: If she is a respectable dancer why would he fight with her?

INTERVIEWER: Maybe because an audience member might not be respectable and might say [improper] words to her.

DINA: Well, of course he'll be angry because he's a man.

INTERVIEWER: So, it IS difficult for a Middle Eastern man to accompany his dancer wife to her work place, you do agree with that?

DINA: Yes, that's right.

INTERVIEWER: Is marriage to a dancer just a whim or a passing fancy that the man wakes up from after a few months?

DINA: I can't answer that. I've not been in that situation. In my life there haven't been any passing fancies so I don't know.

INTERVIEWER: There's a theory that says that marriage to a dancer is just a passing fancy and after it passes the marriage ends as well.

DINA: A theory? You mean a scientific theory?

INTERVIEWER: I don't mean it's scientific but it's believed in our culture and we see it happen quite a bit. We see it even in films.

DINA; A whim or a fancy lasts about a week but a marriage lasts for years. There is no whim or passing fancy that will last for five years.

INTERVIEWER: So, these words aren't really accurate words?

DINA: No, they aren't accurate words.

INTERVIEWER: Dina, is it difficult for you to live without love?

DINA: Yes it is difficult. Life without love is so sad.

INTERVIEWER: There's a rumor that there's an upcoming book about you that talks about all the men who've been in your life but I've also heard that Dina has said that that particular subject will not be mentioned in the book because all of her relationships with men have been failed ones.

DINA: If these relationships had been successful they would have continued.

INTERVIEWER: Sometimes unsuccessful relationships are helpful for others to know about so they don't make the same mistakes that lead to failure.

DINA: I don't want people interfering in my personal business so I'm not going to write about that in a book.

INTERVIEWER: Then you should just say that.

DINA: Well that's what I came to this interview for. If something isn't clear to people, I want to clear it up.

INTERVIEWER: I read in a newspaper called Naba el Watani on January 9, 2010 that you said "I've trained doctors and politicians" [to dance] and that "raqs sharqi helps cure diseases".

DINA: Those aren't my words. I didn't say that at all. Training politicians? They have no time for dance.

INTERVIEWER: Meital Sassi, is an Israeli dancer, and the press published photos of you and her posing while you were in costume, in the Israeli press and she said that she joined in dancing with you at some event.

DINA: She is just a fan at the nightclub, one of the many fans or people who were there at the nightclub. She was wearing a short top and came and asked to have her picture taken with me and she stood by me and had her picture taken. I didn't look at her passport to see where she was from, and I can't look at the passport of everyone who wants to have their picture taken with me. So I had no idea. She also published a picture of herself in a belly dance costume next to the pyramids!

INTERVIEWER: Did it bother you when it was published?

DINA: Yes, it bothered me.

INTERVIWER: Are you for or against cultural normalization [with Israel]?

Dina: Against. Firmly against. I repeat, I am totally against it. That picture was used politically and I refuse to be put in that "corner" [of normalization].

 

For or Against Segment

NEXT THEY DO A FOR OR AGAINST SEGMENT:

INTERVIEWER: Are you for or against a relationship with a man who is ten years younger?

DINA: I don't see what the big deal is.

INTERVIEWER: So you are for it? You don't see it as a barrier?

DINA: No [meaning she is for it].

INTERVIEWER: Are you with or against the idea that people say no man has ever been totally faithful to his wife?

DINA: Against.

INTERVIEWER: Are there faithful men?

DINA: Yes. if there is no infidelity, there is no loyalty, and if there is nothing ugly, then there's nothing beautiful.

INTERVIEWER: Are you for or against euthanasia?

DINA: What's that?

INTERVIEWER: [explaining] When a patient is terminally ill for example and cannot continue and has been in care for a while and cannot suffer anymore.

DINA: Against.

INTERVIEWER: So the family makes the decision...

DINA: Against.

INTERVIEWER: Not even if it were you (god forbid) for yourself?

DINA: I am against. Not even for myself because when my son's father was in the hospital I was against it and he remained on life support for two months.

INTERVIEWER: Did they propose that suggestion to you?

DINA: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: The deceased Sameh el Damour. Did they ask you about that option?

DINA: Yes. Even if he was going to breathe with help, I was against it. [Against discontinuing life support] That's God's decision. There might be a miracle. No one knows.

INTERVIEWER: What do you think about same-sex marriage?

DINA: What, do you mean homosexual marriage?

INTERVIEWER: It's when two people of the same sex get married.

DINA: Oh, they want to get married now too?

INTERVIEWER: [Explains] Abroad yes, in some places abroad they can marry when they are gays or Lesbians.

DINA: [Laughing] I don't know.

INTERVIEWER: Do you accept this idea? Yes or no?

DINA: Whether I accept it or not, who cares?

INTERVIEWER: It's a concept that exists, are you for or against it?

DINA: That they get married? [Laughing.] And how will they get kids?

INTERVIEWER: That's not your problem. They can adopt.

DINA: No, I'm against this idea. Let them stay as boyfriends / girlfriends.

The clip then cuts to Dina's dancing.

 

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About the Translator

Priscilla is a dancer of Lebanese heritage who enjoys researching the Golden Era of Egyptian dance. She owns a collection of more than one hundred classic black and white Egyptian films which is continually expanding.

Priscilla has also gathered a large library of dance related articles and clippings from Middle Eastern magazines and newspapers, many of which she has translated from the original Arabic to both English and Spanish.

Priscilla currently resides in Central America where she is a dance instructor. 

Priscilla

 

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