As many people know the dancers here in Cairo we are forced to hide our profession. Although it is frustrating and even painful for me, was a condition that I should accept when it was in front of me the opportunity to stay and dance here, making my dream come true.
A dream that has its price and that requires a lot of patience, understanding, ability to adapt and above all LOVE to live it.
When I first started my career here in Cairo it was easier to hide and go unnoticed among the people… No one imagined that I was a dancer, so for my neighbors I was a foreigner married to an Egyptian, nothing more. Time passed and although I participate in a “musalsal” (television series) and performed with my orchestra in countless events (I don’t keep the account) The people never realized what I was really… until a few weeks ago and everything changed.
I went to the pharmacy across the street, I took my time to choose a shampoo… Totally lost in the doubt : “Take the large or the little?”, “For long hair or…” and then a pharmacist’s assistant from the front desk called me by my name: “Magda!” And I? I was distracted so I turned and by doing so… he was sure it was me… He said aloud, in front of the pharmacist and several customers who were present: “I saw you dancing at the wedding of my sister!” Everyone there looked at me expectantly, waiting for my reaction… I felt a terrible cold on my chest and a wish that the earth swallow me alive…
I didn’t say anything, but I heard the comments: “What do you mean you saw her dancing?”, “Yes! she is a belly dancer! I saw her!” When I was paying for the “shampoo” I looked at him with a look of “Please don’t say anything more”. I left the place by pushing between questions… It was one of the most awkward situations of my life…
I left the pharmacy walking aimlessly… Just I didn’t want them to see me going into my building, but it was useless because here in Egypt the people know where everyone lives, specially if you are foreign… and I had never passed unnoticed.
In my walk I remembered a similar situation in the supermarket. I was doing my shopping when suddenly a little girl of about six years, she was with her mom and her dad, when she saw me she screamed: “Mama! di Ra’asa!” (Mom! she is a dancer!) When the mom turned around to see perhaps she saw my shadow or “smoke” like the cartoons… And so I was like 20 minutes inside the supermarket between shelves running from a girl who knew my secret… In every corner of the supermarket she saw me she screamed: “Ra’asaaaa!” and I think it was fun for her because she let out a little laugh every time she said the “magic word”. With God’s help I manage to reach the cashier, pay and leave again that trail of “smoke”…
Were crossing million of question in my head… I couldn’t help but smile at the time, while I was walking with the bag of the pharmacy… “All this for a shampoo!” I thought… “Aziz was right! I should use a pseudonym! Because if I were on stage SUSY and in everyday life I am still MAGDA I was not going to turn around!”… After a while I went home.
It goes without saying that in the days following this event turned a popular knowledge among the neighbors… So much so that my neighbors (in front and beside me) they absolutely changed their way with me… I was not “Habibty, Gamila, Assal” (Dear, beautiful, honey) anymore… I was just: “Ya Magda”… And not to mention that every time I leave the house a few brats yelling at me: “Ra’asaaa!”… In this country this word is an insult.
Hello? For me it is not an insult! I am proud to be what I am. Of everything that describes me I am more then PROUD: “Latin american, Argentinian, Tucumana, WOMAN AND ARTIST” Do I need something more? My only concern it’s the reaction from the people, because here since they have this new president from the Muslim brotherhood they are more close than ever. If before, when neither they crossed the idea of making any revolution, some kids in Haram they threw me with stones… and they didn’t knew my profession. Still today I don’t know what I did to take those stones.
I know that this may cost me a move but frankly I don’t care. This is who I am and that will not change. Some time ago I was offered to record some videos for a channel that transmit only dance (Yes! actually there are like 5 channels that broadcast “SIN” 24 hours a day without interruption) and I didn’t accept because I was afraid. So now I will accept that and all the proposals because I decided that if I take a step it will not be “backward”. Anyway, I knew this will happen sooner or later… So I am in charge. No more traces of smoke!