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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.

Tel: +2012-27465185

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Yasmina of Cairo

Yasmina’s Belly Dancers’ B&B

Articles by Yasmina
Dance - Realted Articles Celebrity Interviews General Features Travel Features
Chances are, if youve attended a lavish wedding lately, youll have seen Asmahan. Flash, glitz, a showy stage persona and ultra-kitsch line in entrance numbers are the hallmarks of the Argentinean-born dancers style. For her debut in Cairo in 1997 she emerged from a giant lotus blossom with removable petals, and her fondness for high drama (and the influence of Nagua Fouad) has also seen her arriving on stage dressed as Queen Cleopatra in a litter borne by slaves. But the lure of such gimmicks should not be underestimated, and her rise to fame among the upper echelons of Cairo society has superseded that of any other foreigner. Only Dina is more sought after as a prestige-wedding dancer. Asmahans tale is one of power and influence
Anwar Sadat once said to her You are the Um Kulsoum of dance. As she sings with her voice, you sing with your body. President Nixon named her Zagreeta, when he learned that the word referred to an expression of joy. She received accolades and medals from the Shah of Iran, the Tunisian President and Gamal Abdel Nasser. Next week, for the first time out of retirement in more than ten years, the legendary Suhair Zaki will take to the stage once more. Not to perform, but to impart some of the secrets of her art to several hundred lovers of oriental dance from around the globe, in this years Oriental Dance Festival.

Heres a question: What happens to a star when shes taken her final bow to the audience, hung up her costumes for the last time, and closed her front door to the public? After a life-time of dance, of being in the public eye, and receiving adulation and the love of a devoted audience, home must surely seem dull.

Suhair Zaki lives just a stones throw from one of the cabarets that once made up the bright lights of Pyramids Road in its heyday. A time when the street was lined with expensive villas most now demolished to make way for blocks of flats and night-club audiences were still comprised of the Basheraat ; the cream of Egyptian society. Later into its history, when Suhair was in her prime, the cabarets of Haram Street grew in number to cater for rich customers flying in from the Arab states. Now the lights are dimmer, many of those venues have gone, and supermarkets and internet cafes have sprung up in their place. Just one block behind the main street the neighbourhood is more than a little run down. But inside Suhairs apartment, grandeur lingers on
Whats on the agenda for the majority of tour operators when it comes to entertaining visitors to Egypt? Theres the tanoura show, currently in a temporary new location at the citadel. Theres the inevitable dinner on one of the Nile cruisers, with a belly dancer and possibly a mediocre folkloric performance. And perhaps, at a stretch, an arranged dinner in a romantic desert setting somewhere in the vicinity of the Giza Pyramids. But for some inexplicable reason one of the best, most culturally stimulating showcases the country has to offer is strangely lacking the very audience that would appreciate it the most. Three nights a week at the Balloon Theatre the world famous Reda Troupe and the National Folkloric Troupe have joined forces to produce a full two hour extravaganza of one of Egypts strongest national assets; its folkloric dances. The lack-lustre sets and depressingly empty auditorium are compensated for by an excellent orchestra, great costumes and a level of skill and enthusiasm from the dancers themselves thats a tribute to their professionalism. It must be disheartening to come out and face a trickle of people in that huge space each night, but youd never know it from the amount of energy they put into their performances
Farida Fahmy once described herself as one flower in a bouquet, but to the many people, both in Egypt and abroad, who saw her perform she was more than that; a national treasure, and a pioneer of dance. Still living quietly in her Cairo home, she keeps an interested eye on the contemporary cultural scene, and even once in while gets out her dancing shoes to teach. Insight went to meet her. Its been almost half a century since Mahmoud Reda and his brother Ali founded the famous Reda Troupe, helping to turn dance into an art form in the eyes of the Egyptian public, and setting the standard by which different forms of dance have been judged here ever since. Farida Fahmy, married to Ali and the first original female member of the troupe, became their principal dancer and helped train many of the girls who came to join them. The beauty and grace of her style is recorded in movies such as 1961s Agazit Nus al Sanna (Mid-year Holiday), and Gharaam fi Karnak (Love in Karnak) in which the dancing featured as an integral part of the films plot and helped solidify the Reda Troupe as major contributors to the countrys cultural heritage. To this day both movies, which were directed by her husband, are shown regularly on TV and have become classics
Recent reports in the Egyptian press, sparked by rumours among the belly-dance community, have publicized a new law in the making which will apparently restrict, or even eradicate, the granting of work permits to foreign oriental dancers. The news first broke in August, since when theres been some confusion as to whether such action will actually be taken
In a penthouse apartment high above the centre of Cairo, the citys newest pretender to the crown of oriental dance queen gazes out over the view. The five-star hotels that punctuate the miles of rooftops and banks of the glittering Nile below her were once each home to a famous nightclub, where audiences watched dancers with household names - Suheir, Nagua, Mona Said, Fifi, Lucy, Dina take to the stage and entertain. Now all (with the exception of Fifi who has come out of retirement to take over Dinas spot at the Semiramis) have vanished one by one. Lucy only appears at a private club in the Pyramids Road. Dandesh and Randa Kamel, two high quality Egyptian dancers still left on the market, are barely known by a wider public. The door has been left wide open, it seems, for the many aspiring foreign dancers trying their luck in Cairo to try to reach those dizzy heights of fame. And Suraya, who once dreamed of coming to Egypt to dance in the land of her idols, has found herself propelled into the limelight with amazing speed. Just two years ago she was a stranger in town. This year she became the most talked-about performer at the annual Ahlan wa Sahlan Festivl of Oriental Dance, and appears nightly before a growing regular clientele at the Sheraton Casablanca restaurant All my life I wanted to come and dance in Cairo, she says, and now Im here. But I am not a star. Now, in oriental dance, it is hard for anyone to be a star. There are hardly any nightclubs left, and nowhere for a dancer to build up her name. Suraya, diminutive, natural and friendly, is of pure Brazilian blood, though she has a Lebanese stepfather and an Egyptian uncle by marriage, and converted to Islam seven years ago..
Ahlan wa Sahlan Festival 2003
Last month, the annual Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival of Oriental Dance successfully took place in Cairo, with dance students from around the globe gathering at the Mena House Hotel for a week of workshops, performances and star-studded galas. Now in its fourth year, the festival is becoming an established event, each time reinforcing the fact that oriental raks sharqi, or belly-dance, is an art form beloved the world over by on-going generations of women. It may be harder and harder these days to find good oriental dancers in Egypt, the dances natural home, but its popularity abroad continues to flourish and grow. Despite regional tensions over two hundred and fifty attendees made it to this years event, down on last year but still a healthy vindication that even war and the threat of terrorism isnt enough to keep dance lovers away..

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