These Are the Faces Reviving Dance in the Arab World

Follow their moves

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The region has a long-standing relationship with dance, and it goes well beyond belly dancing. The style, which was made famous in the early 1900s thanks to the Egyptian cinema with iconic belly dancer Samia Gamal and revered further by the iconic Fifi Abdou, is only the tip of the iceberg.

Our history comes with an array of folk dances that vary from North Africa to the Middle East. There’s dabke in Syria, performed as an act of celebration in weddings and ceremonies, Egypt’s tanoura, which is an act of contemplation in Sufi rituals, and Morocco’s Guedra, danced to attract blessings.

But over the last few decades, young generations began experimenting with new international styles alongside bringing back age-old traditional dance.

If you’re looking to get familiar with the region’s dance scene, we’ve rounded up five Arab dancers and choreographers you need to follow.

Rochdi Belgasmi

Belgasmi is the guy who single-handedly brought back Tunisian traditional dance to the stage. Bashing stereotypes of a style that has been reduced to female performers, the dancer and choreographer has gone viral for his ‘mezwed’ routines and festival-worthy spectacles. He made a name for himself thanks to his 2013 performance ‘Zoufri’ that was presented in major venues around France and has performed in many festivals from Tunis to Ramallah.

Tarzanisme

 

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Tarzanisme or Mohamed Amine Elouai is the Moroccan break-dancer pushing the dance style in his native country. He has competed in international competitions with breakdancing crews ‘El Mouwahidine’ which brings together break-dancers from all over the region.  

Natalie Salsa’

Natalie Salsa’ is a Palestinian Brussels-based contemporary dance artist. Working between Bethlehem and Amman, Natalie brings her heritage into her performances. She has been part of several dance festivals in the Middle East including the Amman Contemporary Dance Festival and the Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival.

Mahmoud Shoukry

If you’re looking for original hip-hop routines to follow, Mahmoud Shoukry is your guy. The Egyptian self-taught dancer and choreographer was obsessed by Michael Jackson’s ‘Remember The Time’ as a kid and has been dancing ever since. His energetic hip-hop dance clips will bright up your feed.

Fadi J Khoury

 

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Born in Baghdad, Iraq, the dancer and choreographer grew up surrounded by folkloric music and traditional Bedouin dance. He is the founder of NY-based contemporary dance company FJK Dance which supports cross-cultural dialogue and presents a unique fusion of contemporary dance and visual arts.

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