Femininity and Dance in Egypt: Embodiment and Meaning in al-Raqs al-Baladi

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Considering the paradoxical position of al-raqs al-baladi or “belly dance” in Egyptian social life, as both a vibrant and a contested cultural form, this issue of Cairo Papers in Social Science considers the impact of wider socio- cultural and political forces on the marginalization of professional performers, on the one hand, and in defining the parameters for non- professional performances ... more on AUC Press

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Considering the paradoxical position of al-raqs al-baladi or “belly dance” in Egyptian social life, as both a vibrant and a contested cultural form, this issue of Cairo Papers in Social Science considers the impact of wider socio-cultural and political forces on the marginalization of professional performers, on the one hand, and in defining the parameters for non-professional performances on the other hand. Through interviews with professional and non-professional female dancers in Egypt, it explores the relationship between al-raqs al-baladi and the dynamic cultural repertoire that produces notions of femininity and normative personhood in Egypt. As a dance that Egyptians learn in childhood, it exposes the cardinal relationship between culture and body movement. The study received the Magda al-Nowaihi Award for best graduate work on gender studies in 2010. Cairo Papers in Social Science 32/3

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