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  • Lisa Lumina

Level One: Circle Unit, Class 5


When I first started, the line between pop music and shaabi music was more clear. Today, many shaabi artists are very popular. You can think of this just like how hip-hop has become more and more mainstream, and more and more pop-hits include elements from shaabi music. In the 60s and 70s, popular music on the radio was often the orchestrated songs we think of as classics. By the 90s stars like Egyptian Amir Diab dominated the charts. Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram and Turkish singer Tarkan were very popular when I first started dancing. To keep up, I recommend sites like Anghami, the Arabic spotify. But really, the best way might be to ask someone younger ^_^


Regional Highlight This unit, we're focusing on Egypt. These regional highlights are meant to give a general orientation, and really only scratch the surfface of the diversity of arts in the MENAHT/SWANA area (Middle East, North Africa, Helene, & Turkey/SouthWest Asia & North Africa).

Tanoura is an entertainment dance with colorful, sometimes with LED lights imbeded, skirts, based on the Sufi tradition of whirling as a means of feeling closer to the divine.

The Delta region includes many diverse farming villages. The Reda Troupe presented this region with a dance named for the Fellahi, the country farming folks. This region also has their own ghawazee groups, but they are less well documented than the families working the the Saidi region.



I was lucky enough to see this group perform when I went to Cairo. Their show is a mixture of more traditional and more entertainment focused elements.

Again, the dance clip below is an example of folklore, dance modified to fit a stage show and present people in a way they want to be publicly seen.

Since it is a performing art in a cultures that are participatory between audience and performer there are many ways the audience will show their appreciation: from clapping and cheering to tipping. Tipping is culturally appropriate and should always feel festive and wholesome, little kids are often sent up by their parents to give the dancer tips, which is adorable! This dancer is performing to an example of pop music from the early 2000s.

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