Cairo Scene, Egypt
Aug 30 2014

Life as a Belly Dancer in Egypt

30/08/2014 08:00 GMT+2

A report published by USA Today elucidates on the daily struggles of
women who work as belly dancers in Cairo, and the largely unfriendly
atmosphere that surrounds the profession.

Cairo's belly dancers are facing a life of misery and discrimination,
a report claims.

The probe by leading US daily USA Today found that many dancers have
trouble with both promoters and ordinary Egyptians alike.

US dancer Diana Esposito - who goes by the the stage name Luna - tells
of the daily struggle of being a dancer in Cairo in the report.

"When you speak with any Egyptian and they do not know that you are a
belly dancer, they treat you very nicely and very respectfully," said
Amora Shams, a Spanish belly dancer. "But the moment that they find
out that you are a belly dancer, they change their tone of voice, they
stop looking at your eyes. They start looking at the rest of your

She claims that because of this many dancers are forced to lead double
lives, keeping their work secret from even close friends. In 2009
Esposito was left reeling when her landlord kicked her out of her
apartment after discovering her job.

Meanwhile, Scottish dancer Lorna of Cairo, claims that many of the
problems come from promoters themselves.

"If you're straight and talk serious business, they think you're
aggressive, and they don't want to know you," she said. "You don't
actually get the job -- I hate it."

Many claim that the craft has the same connotations as stripping in
the USA. Allegra Pena - better known as Aleya of Cairo - claims that
it is this association which causes misery for many dancers.

"It has the same kind of connotation," she said. "But it's a weird
thing because they really love you."
Earlier this month prosecutors summoned Armenian dancer Safinaz for
allegedly insulting Egypt by wearing a costume with colors of the
nation's flag. However Egyptian doctor Oday Noman told reporters that
there were two sides to the story.

He said, "Belly dancing is something that is part of our culture -- as
it's been for a long time. Most celebrations include a belly dancer."