Gilded Serpent presents...

Researching Dance Origins with the Mazin Family

Photos from Pepper’s Archives

January 1979, The Maazin home in Luxor, Egypt
captions by Pepper Alexandria and Edwina Nearing
posted October 6, 2009

The Maazin's welcome you to their home!
The Maazin sisters welcome you to their home!

Mazin Dudes
Yusuf Mazin, father of Khairriyya and Raja, and their 3 older sisters. The five girls who make up the famous Banat Mazin dance group. Sitting next to Yusuf is husband of one of the Mazin girls who defied his family to marry a dancer. The man at far left is John Burnham, a Berkeley artist and drummer.

Edwina dances with Mazins
Edwina Nearing and Khairriyya dancing on the roof of the Mazins house at the private party that Edwina arranged for Pepper.

Khairriyya dancing on the roof at the private party

Sisters sing and dance

Khairriyya and sister Raja singing, dancing, and playing finger cymbals in roof party

Mazin daughter 2

Sisters sewing
Khairiyya sewing a costume while sitting in front of the Mazin House with her sister Raja.

Edwina sits with Mazins
Edwina sitting between Khairiyya, who is wearing a typical house dress with her father, Yusuf, in the salon of their home.

Khairriyya dancing in the salon with Pepper.
Pepper in a qhawazi costume that Pepper had made a couple of years previously based on photographs.

Pepper taking a dance lesson with Khairriyya in the salon. Edwina and Pepper were the first to have set up classes with the Mazins.  At the time of the roof party, Pepper arranged for 5 days of personal lessons after the rest of the tour had gone home. The Mazin sisters gave Pepper a taj  (ghawazi head piece) to wear while she performs the dance. The Mazins had never taught an actual class before and even became upset when she tried to pay for the lessons.  However, Pepper insisted on paying, and that was the start of a long friendship that continues to this day.

Pepper showing Khairryya a photo album of Pepper’s dance troupe. Raja and Yusuf are also present.

The rababa musicians who played for the roof party..

Pepper between Raja (in maroon) and Khairriyya

Pepper dancing in the ruins of Karnak

More photos coming soon…

Have a comment? Use or comment section at the bottom of this page or Send us a letter!
Check the "Letters to the Editor" for other possible viewpoints!

Ready for more?

Related Coming Events!

Pepper’s Carnival of Stars Festival

this weekend!

See her Ghawazi troupe perform plus many more dancers and musicians at the fabulous
Richmond Auditorium, October 10 & 11, 09.
Come visit the Serpent Lounge for free sample classes and live music!

Next Giza Awards is November 1, 2010

RSVP required to attend.

Edwina Nearing won the Lifetime Achievement Award last year for her research on the Ghawazi.

Khairiyya Mazin will be teaching and performing in April 2010 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada at the International BellyDance Convention of Canada

  1. Mahsati

    Oct 8, 2009 - 08:10:57

    Great pictures!! Thank you for sharing these with us!

  2. Morocco

    Oct 15, 2009 - 12:10:17

    OK, Pepper – nothing was MIScredited. I was there too, I took my movie camera & did my own films & my then husband, the Russki, a professional photog, took the photos I let her use. Remember?

    Apologize for the snide remark. Its not true & I dont appreciate it.

    Oh, yes: my travel agency arranged all the hotels, tours, etc. Edwina arranged things with the Maazins & helped line up the dance shows *&* it was 1978 – not 1979.

    sent from Slovenia

  3. Angela

    Jun 14, 2022 - 12:06:39

    Good evening!
    I’m Angela and I live in Brazil
    I am writing an academic book on dance and would like to use an illustrative photo of Khairiyya playing saggats.
    Would you authorize me to use one of your records?

    Thank you!

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