I’m participating in the Blogging From A-Z challenge. One blog post for each letter of the alphabet, each day of April (except Sunday).
C is for the Casino Opera Choreography!
The inspiration for this particular choreography was Badia Masabni, the founder of modern Egyptian dance as we know it today, and her famous nightclub, called The Opera Casino, which opened in Cairo in 1926.
Here, Egyptian dance was taken from street entertainment and chaabi (popular dance) and put on the stage in a theatre/nightclub setting for the very first time. Soloists began showcasing props and dancing in front of “chorus lines.” Another first, important for today’s modern bellydance troupes, was the beginning of choreographed ensemble dancing. For the first time, audiences saw groups of Egyptian dancers performing choreographed pieces together on the stage.
One of the very first choreographies I wrote for the dance troupe (Saba Middle Eastern Dance Ensemble) was inspired by Madame Masabni’s Casino Opera. This piece was written in 2002 or 2003. This performance was filmed in 2006.
I won’t criticize the work. It was an early attempt and pretty good, considering. Simple. But then, so were the early ensemble dances at Badia Masabni’s establishment.
I based the costume for the choreography on the 1940s style chiffon skirt and matching chiffon covered bra typically worn by Samia Gamal and other dancers of that era.
The music is Nebtiti Minin el Hikiya, from Jalilah’s Raks Sharki 5 cd.