Thursday, July 07, 2005

Of Course It's About Sex

by Helen of England

How many times have we heard the tired old harem cliches about our dance and retorted with some variation of "this is NOT a dance of seduction."

It's the reflexive response of self-defence, because we want a quick retort to those who claim that we are one-step removed from being strippers and who say that dancing for the pleasure of men is frankly immoral and therefore we must be too. So we respond by promoting our dance as a legitimate artistic performance and downplay any suggestion that there might be a legitimate sexual aspect to it.

So how come when we watch any of the old classic Egyptian movies featuring stars such as Samia Gamal or Tahia Cariocca we see something that is very different indeed? You'll see pretty girls dancing around very definitely for the attention and pleasure of men, whose faces in turn show that they are certainly enjoying the spectacle at a fairly basic level.

Of course, one can say that Badia Masaabni wanted her dancers' presentations at the Casino Opera to conform to western tastes, the venue was modelled on the British Music Hall after all. But then again, going back to the source, you have to ask whether the original Ghawazee were sexy in their presentations? Well, it's just a wild guess, but if you're in a competitive entertainment market selling to a patron it's unlikely you're just appealing to his aesthetic appreciation of art!
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