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

Oriental Dance:
Egypt's Shameful Profession

 

Workshop Summary

The profession of raqissa (dancer) is not respected in Egypt. Dancers are considered synonymous with prostitutes because they use their bodies to make money. This presentation weaves together a combination of lecture and video clips from Egyptian movies with English subtitles to illustrate the role dancers occupy in Egyptian society and the reasons for it. Shameful Profession

 

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Detailed Description

The career of professional Oriental dancer is one of the most shameful ways a person can earn a living in Egypt. Dancers are considered synonymous with prostitutes because they use their bodies to make money. Many Egyptian movies have been made over the years depicting dancers as central characters. Although some paint an idealistic picture, others reflect the reality that dancers face, and also shape that reality by creating beliefs about dancers in the minds of the movie-going public.

This presentation uses a combination of lecture and dialogue scenes with English subtitles from Egyptian movies featuring dancers, their admirers, and their detractors to demonstrate what it's like to be a dancer in Egypt. It shows dancers drinking and flirting with customers, wedding guests mocking the dancer, and more. The accompanying lecture links these fictitious movie scenes with factual background, revealing the real-life affair a movie's writer had with a dancer, the banning of a film from Egyptian television due to its content, a situation where a scene in a movie was paralleled by an actual news story, and more.

 

 

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