The dance in these videos is an interpretation of an historical style of dance and costume common in Egypt in the late 1800’s and into the 20th Century. Our choreography is based on historic photos and travellers’ writings about the Ghawazee, and our studies with Aisha Ali, Banat Mazin troupe members, and others. The Ghawazee continue to perform today, though with different costumes! Many Ghawazee, and in particular those we studied for this piece, are members of Domari and Nawar tribes – that is, Middle Eastern branches related to the “Romani” (peoples who have asked to no longer be called “Gypsies”). Ghawazee has been translated as “Invaders of the Heart” – but the word has some negative connotations, as it represents Egyptian women who dance to entertain.
We are members of the B.C. dance collective “Re-Orient”, and we hope our performance, and these videos, will broaden your perspectives on Arab and Turkish arts and societies. Videos are by Eric Boucher.