How do I start this post? First of all let me introduce myself: “My name is Magda (Originally Magdalena but I’ve changed it long time ago because I got tired from “Maggie”) , I’m from Northern Argentina, I’m an artist… Since like five years I’m working (surviving) and performing in Egypt… Two revolutions caught me here and I was like “I’m coming back home” but my unlimited hope and my positive thinking stopped me… So here I am!
Are we clear? Good! Well, this post it’s about some misunderstood concepts that are flying over the Belly Dancing’s community skies… So, let’s start!
Audience in Egypt and elsewhere
I said it before and I will repeat it until I die… (I hope I don’t need to) : “You are not doing the same things here in Egypt and outside… This is what people showed me and this is what I (by experience) can say… Let’s bring on some examples so we can have a clear view…
While here in Egypt are the boom of the moment, abroad splits are like “normal”… since ANY trained dancer can do that! So, why here in Egypt splits are a big deal? Just because (except a few dancers) Egyptian dancers are NOT trained to do that or even to “dance” the music that they grew up with… and let me add “Splits in an acceptable way so people won’t judge you” and bla bla bla…. Some of this is truth, some of this is lie…. WHY? Since you are a dancer, a Belly Dancer, people will not look at you in a good way… It doesn’t matter how “respectable” your dance is, or even if they take pictures with you… because in the end “Enty Rakassa” (You are a dancer)… BUT deep inside they will always know which kind of dancer you are, so be aware and try to change this concept they have without loosing your hope in the way…
I heard a dancer saying: “Splits are made to bring the attention, so you are seeking people’s attention”… Mmmm Really? OF COURSE ARE MADE FOR THAT! Specially if you do it in the finale! (As I do it and I love it) What’s wrong with that? I do it in every time I consider it’s worth to do so… I just try to not do it slow while touching my boobs… But that’s MY split version.
Wings, 1000 veils and whatever circus show
That’s working outside… here Maybe wings and “shamadan” well performed ( and with lighted candles)… if no… Just forget it….
Singing while you are dancing
I had a woman between my guest at my show, she was claiming she performed in Egypt long time ago and telling me her story… I respect her as ANY dancer who have the guts of living and performing here… She told me: “Don’t sing the song while you are dancing! It’s not your language! It’s not yours!” I don’t know how she danced but I felt like if singing is what I feel, that’s what I will do…
People here are not interested in your pirouettes or with how many elements you dance with… They want to see interpretation (not overacting). Remember: Maybe for you Om Kalthoum’s Lyrics are something so NEW and may bring you on tears BUT people here grew up with that and they knew it before you so… Just feel it without even trying to tell anything… because IF you feel it , you would be able say it with your body.
Costumes… a big subject
For this I am very personal.I sometimes use the same costumes in Egypt and outside and I had all kinds of criticism… a woman said (in any group lost in facebook) that I had killed my grandmother’s sofa while wearing a suit made by Aziz (RIP my dear and awesome designer since YOU I never wear another’s designer costume)
Another said that in one of my outfits she could see even “my address”… and in other costume “I hope she won’t sneeze so her boobs will stay in place”… And many comments like this…I am not interested but I laugh a lot… LOL Keep talking and commenting :*
When people would understand that dancers here perform for a different kind of audience? and they are not related to dance at all? Oh! yes, they know how to dance… any Egyptian woman can do that! And you will be surprised because what you’ve paid it to learn, Egyptian woman and little girl knows it from her heart… blood and whatever… BUT of course there is a big difference between “knowing by heart” and actually “doing a show for 45 mins or more”…
It doesn’t matter how long I live in egypt… five years… twenty… I’ll never be Egyptian because I’m Latin American, Argentinian and proud of it … in my whole being, not only in my dance! Anything wrong? That’s the mean reason they hired me here in Egypt when they first saw me! It is a commitment, no doubt… and I assume that… with all the love and respect that dance deserves…
“If you don’t like something, change it or make it better but If you can’t then just shut up because foolish words, criticism and gossip are typical of people who can’t stand another’s success… Yet also this is FUEL for those who love their lives, trust in their work and have no time to lose”