Gilded Serpent presents...
by Michel Harris
a casual interview with an Egyptian
star in California
of Albany, California
July 9, 2004
didn’t take more than a New York second for me to reason
it out for myself: because it’s a lot cheaper to go to Los
Angeles than it is to go to Egypt, and because I really don’t
feel too cool about flying to the Middle East under the current
circumstances, as a reasonable alternative, I went to the May
14th to 16th workshop and show in Los Angeles
sponsored by Little Egypt, featuring the sensual and
fun Egyptian dance star, Dina. I must have made the right
choice because on Sunday’s break from her dance class at
the LAX Radisson Hotel, I met with Dina outside for a quick couple
of smokes …and a private casual interview!
I saw Dina
dance in person in Egypt in 1994, and today, ten year later, she’s
still one of my favorite dancers. She’s surprisingly down
to earth and unpretentious, and when I asked her if there was
anything that she wanted to say in particular, she replied, “
No, just go ahead and ask any questions you’d like.”
Her English is quite good. She said that she had been dancing
since the tender age of 9: she talked of her training with the
National Folkloric Troupe of Egypt, of her dance instructor,
Raqia Hassan, and also the birth of Ali,
Dina’s 4 year old son. Ali, who’s the spitting image
of his mother, accompanied her for the weekend.
the Saturday and Sunday classes, (She presented different music
and choreography for each one.) I mentioned that I thought I saw
the influence of moves from Latin dance in some of her choreography.
She seemed to acknowledge that it was so by saying that she had
taken some Tango lessons. Also, I did overhear her telling
someone that she wanted to go to Brazil sometime in the future.
videos of the Saturday and Sunday dance classes will be a “must
have” for me.
though I had every intention of participating fully and getting
Dina’s choreography straight, I got lost easily and pretty
much just ended up observing Dina teach her class. Still, it
was worth the money I paid for the classes just to observe.
I got to
see Dina dance and be herself again and again.
Dina is the
featured star, performing 2 days per week at the Samiramis Hotel
in Cairo. She performs at many weddings, and she said that she
had even starred in an Egyptian television soap opera last year.
I wanted to know who designs her distinctive costumes! Whether
you like them or hate them… they are always memorable!
that she designs her costumes herself, and likes doing so. She
didn’t wear anything too outrageous for her show Saturday
night; still, she made four costume changes, which was rather
tame for her, I thought to myself...
“girls” sometimes do, we talked a bit about the state
of the art of… no, not dance, …plastic surgery. Dina
commented that she would like to do something about the tip of
her nose. “No, No! I protested. Don’t let them change
it!” Then, (stupidly) I asked her what she thought I
should have done by plastic surgery.
hesitation, she knowingly tapped the bridge of my typical Italian
(coin-worthy) profile! Enough said?
I heard that
Dina went to Disneyland on Sunday after class, and “shopped
(in Beverly Hills) ‘til she dropped” on Monday with
Dee Dee from Little Egypt. According to Nora
from the Little Egypt group, Dina loved the nice and kind ways
in which everyone treated her while she was in California.
talked on the phone to her honey in Egypt, he asked her if she
was having a good time. She smiled and said,
course I am; I love it, and I’m very happy. I feel like
a queen here!”
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