The Gilded Serpent presents...
Orientalist and journalist Edwina Nearing majored in Near-Eastern Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and the, American University of Beirut. Past Middle Eastern Affairs Editor for Habibi Magazine, she wrote the book-Iength series, "The Mystery of the Ghawazi," for that publication. She is licensed by the Egyptian government as a folkloric dancer, and has performed with the Banat Mazin, Ghawazi as a member of their ensemble off and on since 1979.
Articles on Gilded Serpent by or about Edwina Nearing
- 3-22-12 Sohayr Zaki, The People's Dancer
"When Sohayr Zaki Jumped in Front of President Nixon, American Security Men Moved In," ran the title of the June 1974 article in Al-Shabaka. The popular Middle Eastern magazine continues...
- 6-8-04 Nagwa Sultan: Cairo Soul
Like a number of other Egyptian dancers who retired in the early ‘90s, Nagwa couldn't turn her back on the dance world entirely, however tarnished the glitter had become.
- 1-3-04 Khairiyya Mazin Struggles to Preserve Authentic Ghawazi Dance Tradition
But when Khairiyya Mazin retires, one of the most distinctive traditions of Ghawazi dance may come to an end.
- 2-11-04 Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Part 1
Begun in the mid-1970's , the early sections of "Sirat Al-Ghawazi" were first published under the title "The Mystery of the Ghawazi." We are happy to be able to respond to the continued demand for these articles by making them available to our readers worldwide.
- 5-16-04 Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Part 2
- 8-8-04 Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Part 3
- 9-12-04 Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Part 4
- 9-12-04 Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Part 5
- 7-5-05 Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Part 6
- 9-5-05 Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Part 7
- 12-3-05 Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Part 8
- 1-9-06 Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Part 9
- 10-6-09 Researching Dance Origins with the Mazin Family, Photo from Pepper's Archives Part 2
Yusuf, Khairiyya and Raja looked a Pepper’s hopeful face with the tears standing in her eyes and caved in. A private performance was arranged to take place on the flat roof of the Mazin’s home in full costume with live musicians.
- 10-31-11 Sirat Al-Ghawazi,
Ghawazi Research, Part 10: 1977, Nawary Gypsy Background of the Mazin Ghawazi
"They came to the aforesaid Shah and asked him for dwellings in his country … the greater portion he placed in Mazandaran as a check to the pride of the Uzbak, Turkmans, Umid, and the nomad Tatars, who are always starting raids, and acting as highwaymen."
- 12-12-11 Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Part 11- 1977, Research Strengthens the Impression that Until Recently, the Majority of Professional Dancers in Mid East Were Gypsies
"She is a professional singer and dancer, being taught by her mother from her earliest youth, and with the menfolk beating the taboor (drum) and twanging the kamanga (zither) she gives turns at the Beduin encampments for which the "hat" is passed round afterwards.
- 2-17-12 The End of the Banat Mazin? Struggles with Religious Fanatics, Real Estate Management , and Other Ghawazi
Yusuf Mazin, a Nawari Gypsy, had wandered the land dealing in livestock, entertaining the villagers with stories, delivering messages and generally making himself useful until his non-Gypsy wife blessed him with five beautiful daughters. Beautiful, talented daughters who could master singing and dancing — the arts of the ghawazi, as such women were traditionally called in the countryside — were the best hope for the prosperity of a Nawari family in Egypt.
- 4-16-12 When Victoria was Queen — And the Ghawazi Ruled, Amusing, Illuminating, and Disturbing Tales of 19th-Century Encounters with the Ghawazi
The first dancing of all ghawazi is simply moving about to the music and undulating the body. Then waves of motion are made to run from head to foot, and over these waves pass with incredible rapidity the ripples and thrills, as you have seen a great billow in a breeze look like a smaller sea ribbed with a thousand wavelets. All is done in perfect time with the music.
Edwina Nearing on her Arabian stallion, "Horse," in Wadi Rumm, Jordan, 1987. Nearing explains that the unhappy expression on her face is due to her awareness that a storm is approaching, that she is riding straight into it, and that she has otherwise no clear idea where she is going. "Horse" had been tentatively named Al-Amin ("The Faithful") but, having tried to lie down in the sand and roll on his rider, was subsequently demoted.
Nearing in the ancient ruins of Palmyra (Tadmor), Syria, mid-1980s, at the annual Tadmor Folklore Festival
Nearing (lost again) in Rajasthan, India, 2003