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Yasmina, sometimes known as 'The English Rose of Cairo', has over twenty-five years of experience in the field of Egyptian oriental dance as a performer, teacher and choreographer. Originally from the UK she spent many years travelling and dancing her way around the Middle East before settling in Cairo in 1995. Here she performed for many years with her orchestra, becoming one of the city's best-loved dancers. Cairo is still Yasmina's home, where she hosts dancers and dance groups from around the world and provides services ranging from accommodation, choreography, training and coaching in oriental dance, to publicity photography and music production.
 


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Yasmina of Cairo

Yasmina’s Belly Dancers’ B&B

 
Articles by Yasmina
Dance - Related Articles Celebrity Interviews General Features Travel Features
The following are a selection from hundreds of articles written and often photographed by Yasmina (under her original name, Francesca Sullivan), on cultural and social issues in Egypt. Many are dance or music related, including celebrity interviews with dancers, actors and singers.

To obtain complete copies of any of these articles, or to commission an interview or feature, please contact Yasmina directly.


LUCY INTERVIEW (INSIGHT MAGAZINE)
A maid shows me into Lucys penthouse apartment in a fashionable area of Mohandiseen. Stepping into the living room with its blood red walls and comfortably stuffed sofas, my eye is caught by what I take to be an enormous gilt-edged mirror running the whole length of the wall when suddenly I realize that its not a mirror at all; the room is just twice the size I originally thought. Its an environment utterly fitting for a diva and Lucy is just that. With fifteen movies, five TV serials and four albums behind her shes gamely keeping up with every aspect of contemporary performance culture and can currently be seen strutting her stuff in a new music video. Within minutes Lucy bounces in. She looks fit and energized in a scarlet designer tracksuit, and her complexion glows with health. Lucy defies those whod like to paint her as a fading star: shes still very much in the limelight. Whats more, shes managed to keep herself well away from all the usual smutty gossip too often surrounding belly-dancers, even while continuing to perform regularly at her husbands Haram Street cabaret, the Parisiana. Queen of her own personal stage with a highly entertaining performance that incorporates Lucy the singer as well as the rakasa known to millions, she offers up a show that successfully mixes traditional with modern elements. One minute shes performing baladi in an antique Assuiti dress, the next shes showing every curve in a pink lycra cat suit (which was incidentally alluded to in the press for being too sexy. These days the average person in the street would be hard pressed to name a dancer still performing on stage. Lucy remains the first name to come to most peoples lips


FIFI ABDOU INTERVIEW (INSIGHT MAGAZINE)
I know Im at the right address, because when I mention her name down in the street the doormen nod solemnly, and wave me into a parking space. All the way up in the lift, I find myself re-living the first time I saw her, and the times after that. She was impossible to forget.

In a land of delicious contradictions, she seemed at the time the most flagrantly contradictory of all. Can I really be in Egypt? I remember wondering, as she lit up the stage with a presence so commanding, but at the same time so outrageous, people around me were blushing. Squeezed into a skin tight, florescent orange dress, matching shoes encrusted with sequins, she acted out her notorious ma-alimma routine, seating herself before each table in turn while prancing male dancers dressed as café waiters administered her the famous shisha. Adjusting her cleavage conspicuously while winking at the audience, she inhaled the tobacco and exhaled it slowly through each nostril, shifting and undulating provocatively on her chair. Behind her the stirring energy of a forty-five piece orchestra rose and fell at the drop of her little finger, or the minutest lift of her chin.

Afterwards, shoeless and in yet another shimmering stretch number, she danced with a heady combination of pure abandonment and utter control. The whole room was mesmerized.

Its this that Im remembering as a Filipino maid shows me graciously into Fifi Abdous apartment. To one side, a vast salon the size of a large hotel foyer is cast in gloom. To the other Im led down a corridor to a small lounge with comfortable settees and a TV set. Giant portraits of Fifi loom from every available wall-space, her perfectly made-up face caught in a flattering expression of mild surprise. Then she walks in, and I fail to recognize her entirely. Instead of the self-proclaimed Queen of the Nile, the larger-than-life siren Im expecting, Im greeted by a scrubbed-faced, ordinary-looking woman dressed entirely in black higab. Im terribly disappointed, but Fifi gives me a look of amusement even a fleeting hint of triumph as though to remind me theres more than one way to make a memorable entrance.

Of course she knows what Im thinking. I never wear make-up off-stage. It ruins the complexion, she says.
So that takes care of that.
Interview with Dina (Insight Magazine)
Dina sits in her sisters boutique in a fashionable street in Mohandiseen, drinking Nescafe and giving the odd piece of friendly advice to customers walking in to buy clothes. In the kind of comfortable, sporty gear shes always favoured off-stage she looks relaxed, calm and happy. No sign of the hegab some rumour-mongers have insisted shes wearing but that of course was simply because shed returned from Saudia Arabia on her first Haj. People will not find me changed, she remarks, hinting at an immanent return to the public stage, and if todays appearance is anything to go by, shes quite right. But those whove always admired her spirit will be pleased to know that that too hasnt changed. Careful but open, both serious and playful, she seems the same Dina that her fans have known and loved.
ORIENTAL DANCE INTERVIEWS (INSIGHT MAGAZINE)
The stage lights up, the orchestra is in full swing, and into the spotlight glides, or twirls, or even walks it doesnt really matter as long as she grabs your attention the dancer. Symbol of the exotic orient to many a foreign tourist, and the legacy of a tradition handed down through generations, exponents of the art of oriental dance (belly-dance to some) represent a paradox within the Islamic society they inhabit. The dancer is a powerful manifestation of female sensuality, and often, additionally, works outside the normal constraints placed on a womans independence. Glamorous presentation is as much an important part of her performance as technique. She provides employment to several industries, from the musicians that make up her orchestra, to the tailoring shops that design and embroider her costumes. To some it may seem an easy way to earn a living, but nothing could be further from the truth. Four dancers, from the world famous to the unknown, but each with many years of experience behind them, tell Insight what it has taken them to get where they are, and what keeps them there..


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