Belly Dancers... Their Stories, Their Experiences and Their Confessions

The Dark Side of Egyptian Belly Dance Exposed Through Fiction

A book about Belly dancers where drugs, prostitution and bribes are the norm. A place where belly dancers are both queens and victims of the nights in Cairo... Can they escape their fate?

Did that get your attention? Because French author and belly dancer Salomea Kamar just gave us a reason to learn French. Her book, Cabaret Rouge is only available in French right now, so we will patiently wait for the English version. This belly dancer who lives in Cairo has written a book based on four cabaret rouge, belly dance, cairo, HipMix.netbelly dancers and how the fates of their lives intertwine.

Born in France in 1982, Spanish father and mother of Polish-Ukrainian origin, Salomea knows the Belly Dance scene very well she has been taking lessons for more than five years and started teaching once she arrived in Cairo. "I take my inspiration from this city with its people and the music everywhere all the time, in the cabs, in the restaurants and in the TV...and from the belly dancers I get to watch dancing, and from the local musicians (baladi) I get to dance with," said Salomea.

But with all this love of the art of Oriental dance, why would she write a fictitious book about the darkness of belly dance thru the eyes of four characters?

According to Salomea, this book is not just about dancers but also shares her personal experiences in Eqypt. "Living in Cairo is dangerous for dancers, foreigners, women and even Eqyptains," Salomea said. "I am proud to tell people what I do for a living, but the distinctive feature of being in Eqypt is that you have to hide your status. But when I get on stage and I start dancing and then see the expressive faces of the people around. Then I think AH-HA I am a belly dancer," Salomea explained.

Shortly after moving to Cairo she began meeting more and more people in the belly dance world she saw a different side of Cairo.  Quickly she realized she had a message to share, she didn't want to testify in person so she decided to reveal to the "few things people know hidden and secrets" that the belly dance circle is really about.

Salomea wants everyone to know that "After reading my book many people may think that I've intended to give a bad picture of belly dance. Nevertheless I consider my book as a plea for these women who dance and are not accepted for what they do. My heroines are all positive girls. I have just intended to report what is really going on here in Egypt and what nobody dares to tell because it would put the myth at risk, the 1001 Nights Tale and the dream of the dancer who wants to go to Cairo to make a career. Reality is so more cruel."

When asked what she like a beginner dancer and everyone else to know about belly dance, she had this to say:

"I want them to know that belly dance requires refinement, subtlety, culture and musical intelligence. Most people think that it is something easy, in the coarse way, as if it were only a question of moving your ass and boobs at the rhythm of the music.

"Belly dance is not only about moving your limbs. It is a visceral dance behind the 'entertainment" appearance. It has to come from the inside where your emotions are. As for me, I am convinced that you need to have suffered and lived difficult things to be a good belly dancer or a good poet. The kind of things that overwhelm you so much as to provide you with a great sensitivity and strong emotions."