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Photos © M. Shahin
Graphic design: Konstanze Winkler
Has the dance situation in Egypt changed due to the recent uprisings?
If so, will it change further?

Of course the dance situation has changed due to the recent political situation. When the uprisings started, a staggering number of tourists and foreign residents (including dancers) living and working in Egypt fled the country. Tourism is a major foundation for Egypt’s working economy, and the major lack of tourists visiting Egypt has had a terrible impact on Egyptians whose work depends on Tourism. During the Uprisings the main interests of Egyptians was to take a proactive role in trying to succeed in changing the political situation of Egypt for the better. Egyptians were not interested in being entertained or in celebrating at that time. Because of this - many performance venues closed temporarily. Those working in the entertainment/food and beverage/tourism industry were without work. But thankfully, little by little, the performance venues have all reopened. 

So, everything is working but not at the standard level as it was before the Uprising. Egyptians are full of hope that in the near future, the political and economic situation will get even better - me included. And when this occurs - it will be wonderful for the arts, music, drama, and dance community to thrive in Egypt.

For the second performance you will see my most requested dance performance known as the Tanoura Dance aka Whirling Dervish Dance.

To learn more about my dance style, workshops, performances, travel schedule and biography you can go to my website or my youtube channel @
Consistently I challenge my students. They will accomplish a mastery of different techniques, movements, combinations, styles, choreographies and learn information about the dances and song translations. During the first workshop, the students will learn:

Classical Oriental Choreography to Um Kulthoum’s famous song “Ansak” which includes Technique and Choreography breakdowns.

"Ansak" is one of Um Kulthoum’s timeless classics.  In Arabic “Ansak” means “Forget You” but in this song, “Ansak” is asked in the form of a question. The answer is Never! This is an emotional musical piece that speaks across generations and cultures. In choreographing this song, I translated the lyrics into movement which is the trademark of the true Egyptian dance style. You will learn many hand gestures that correspond to the meaning of the words, adding depth to your performance. The translation of the lyrics will be provided for your reference.

The second workshop will be: Shaabi” (Cairo Street Dancing) - Technique and choreography with a breakdown of combinations.

"Shaabi" is a name for style of living, a style of dance, and a style of music. In Egyptian Arabic, the word Shaabi refers to the poorer, lower standard sections of the city of Cairo. The closest English equivalent to the word Shaabi would be "ghetto." The name came to characterize the style of music enjoyed in such neighbourhoods. You will usually hear Shaabi music played everywhere throughout Cairo - in taxis and buses, in your favourite falafel shops, and lively street weddings. This style of music is somewhat rougher and more playful than the rest of Egyptian pop music. Truly, Shaabi is the music of the Egyptian people.

This is your first time in Germany, what do you expect?

You are correct. This will be me my first time visiting Germany in November, 2011, at the 19th Oriental Festival of Europe, sponsored by Leyla Jouvana and Roland. I’m expecting a warm welcome from Leyla and Roland. I had the pleasure of meeting them for the first time during the Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival in Cairo, Egypt a few years back, where I was teaching and since then I have met them around the world at various dance festivals and most recently, this year at the dance festival in Beijing, China. They are very warm and gracious and I look forward to being a part of their festival.
As we know, Germany is one of the first countries where “Belly Dance” as it was then named, started.  Germany has great Belly Dance teachers, and moreover Germany is the country that has the largest number of great Egyptian dance teachers after Egypt itself. So I am expecting to see great dancers during the festival and in my workshops. I am really looking forward to having a wonderful time with all the festival participants, dancing together, and teaching them during my workshops.

Thank you can’t wait to see you all in Germany soon, Mohamed Shahin

Mohamed Shahin is guest at Leyla and Roland Jouvana's 19th Oriental Festival of Europe, Nov. 18th - 28th 2011,
What will we see from you at the Festival in Germany?

You will see 2 of my performances. For the first performance you will see me perform a Lebanese Dabke to a famous Lebanese song. I’m a big fan of Lebanese Dabke and I love to perform it.

What will the students learn at your workshops?

I am teaching 2 workshops during the festival. I will give my students as much information and learning tools possible in the few hours we have together during my 2 workshops.


Interview with Mohamed Shahin

by Marcel Bieger