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

Nagwa Fouad Interview on 2 x 2

During Ramadan 2010

 

Translated By Priscilla Adum

 

This is a transcript and English translation of an interview that Nagwa Fouad did for Magdy el Galad on a television program called 2 x 2 during Ramadan 2010. The format of the program is to feature two interviewers, each interviewing a different subject. The other interview on this episode of the show was Wael el-Abrashi, and his subject was Dina. The original interview appears on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwAa3hHPOqU.

 

INTERVIEWER: Is Oriental dance meant to excite or is it an art?

NAGWA: It's an art. This dance has changed 180 degrees and it's the new dancers who have caused this change. Especially the costumes and the styles. The costumes today are just horrible. Today there are costumes that leave 3/4 of the body naked! This dance isn't just about shaking your waist and your ass.

INTERVIEWER: Is there any dancer today that you like?

NAGWA: In all honesty, No.

INTERVIEWER: So, what do you think about Dina?

NAGWA: Dina's overall appearance is beautiful but as far as the costumes she wears, I disilke them completely.

INTERVIEWER: Have you told her that?

NAGWA: Yes I've told her.

INTERVIEWER: And what did she say when you told her that?

NAGWA: She said to me, "I'm free"

[Editor's note: The photo at the right shows Nagwa Fouad in a scene from her very first motion picture, Sharia el Hob.]

Nagwa Fouad

INTERVIEWER: Doesn't she regard you as a dance instructor?

NAGWA: She regards herself as the first and foremost dance star now.
(Then Nagwa adds in sort of mocking manner) "She is younger than our generation and she's educated and she can improve Egyptian style dance." [Translator's note: But it's clear from Nagwa's tone that she feels that Dina has done just the opposite.]

INTERVIEWER: What do you think of Dina's dancing?

NAGWA; When she's onstage I like her, but she doesn't really capture my attention. [Translator's note: The hidden meaning is, "She doesn't blow me away.]

INTERVIEWER: What's Dina's ranking as a dancer today in Egypt?

NAGWA: There are no other Egyptian dancers besides her right now. There are a lot of other foreign dancers: Russian, Brazilians.

INTERVIEWER: So, what's the story of the phenomenon of foreign dancers taking on raqs sharqi?

NAGWA: They take the dance very seriously. But unfortunately, they must be contained, the syndicate must crack down on them to wear different costumes, because they just imitate Dina, they imitate everything else they see. They don't know anything. They are foreigners. I never got any {bad} comments about my costumes either in Egypt or abroad.

INTERVIEWER: What do you think about the sexual events that happened right smack in the middle of Cairo? [Translator's note: Here he is referring to the sexual assaults during Eid Al-Fitr in October 2008 that some women in Cairo suffered immediately after a public performace of Dina's.]

NAGWA: I think they blamed Dina because they always love to attack famous artists.

INTERVIEWER: Is there a difference between how people view this dance today as opposed to how they viewed it in the past?

NAGWA: Yes, today not many people are interested in watching it anymore.

INTERVIEWER: What's the difference between this dance in Egypt and in Lebanon?

NAGWA: In Lebanon they imitate Egyptians.

INTERVIEWER: What dancer made you really enjoy watching this dance?

NAGWA: Naima Akef. I used to escape from school to go to the movies and watch Naima Akef dance in films.

INTEVIEWER: Who else besides Naima?

NAGWA: Also Zeinat Alwi. Zeina Alwi had very much feeling in her dancing. There was also another dancer who was overweight but had quite alot of flexibility and that was Nabaweya Moustafa. [Translator's note: here Nagwa laughs a bit.] When I see how much flexibility Nabaweya Moustafa had when she danced, I feel like my waist is going to break!

INTERVIEWER: Its strange, Nagwa, that you have not mentioned Taheya Carioca nor Samia Gamal. Is it because there was a rivalry amongst you?

NAGWA: No, not at all. Samia was my friend. And I knew Taheya but we were not close friends. Taheya invited me to dinner at her home and I noticed that she had many many books, that she was educated and she read a lot.

INTERVIEWER: Is this dance a shameful thing?

NAGWA: No. Never. In our celebrations and parties and weddings we always dance.

INTERVIEWER: You've danced in front of Kings and Presidents and important people. Is there a difference in the way you dance in front of these people and the way you dance in front of ordinary people?

NAGWA: Not at all. My dancing is the same whether I dance in front of important people or ordinary people.

 

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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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