Camelia the famous raqs sharqi star

Camelia Background

Camelia teaches at the Nile Group Festival and, according to its website (no date), she started her career as a folkloric dancer in the late 90s and later she started dancing raqs sharqi.

She is now performing in 5-star hotels in Cairo and she teaches in and outside of Egypt.

Videos Analyzed

Laban Analysis

The laban dance results from analysing Camelia's movements.
Table 37 – Results from the Laban dance analysis of Camerlia’s movements.

Her style, summarised in Table 37, is different from that of any other Egyptian dancer analysed so far.

Lorna of Cairo, in her interview, stated that her style is ‘more modern, Camelia, is just absolutely crazy and does things often to shock people, but always leaves an audience smiling’.

By watching some videos of Camelia, I noticed that Lorna’s observation is very accurate and, going from the comments under those videos, people’s opinions are split about her dance.

Camelia the belly dance who also works with the Nile Group festival
Figure 32 – Camelia at the Nairuz Weekend in Malaga, 2015. Photo by Rubén Lozano
(Beigbeder 2015)

For example, there is a video (Aleya Cairo Bellydance, 2013) where Camelia is dancing on the Nile Maxim Boat in Cairo with a live band and her style is very energetic, close to Randa’s, but a bit softer. The comments under the videos show different opinions:

Dynamic and energetic, but so far from being elegant and refined. Perfect for a restaurant.

(Amira Abdi oriental belly dance)

The problem is that people are so used to see belly dancers with perfect hair, make up, doing everything in the perfect second . . . but the real feeling of bellydance you can see here . . . For me this is the true essence of this Dance!!!

(Emanuel Keller).

It seems that this reflects a general split between two different images of Raqs sharqi dancers.

Afrangi vs Baladi

On one end of the spectrum there are the soft elegant ones, more ‘afrangi’, such as Samia Gamal and Lucy, and on the other the more grounded energetic, ‘baladi’ ones, like Fifi Abdou.

Of course, the division is not always neat and clear. Sometimes dancers take on different personas depending on the music and the audience and there are extremes, but there are also many nuances in between.

However, there seem to be two general tendencies, almost a difference in personalities as well as dancing style, from the more relaxed and sweeter to the more assertive and fierier.

Indeed, I found a video from the 2014 Nile Group Festival (Daniella Cairo, 2014a), in which Camelia’s dancing could be qualified as extremely assertive and suggestive.

The music is Saidi, and the dance style is Shaabi, which requires a certain amount of assertiveness and, from the performance it seems that, as Lorna pointed out, Camelia enjoys shocking the audience (who, however, seem to be having fun).

*One of the videos analyzed is no longer available on YouTube. The other can be viewed below:

Next Page >> Analysis of Sahar Samara, a modern but mellow belly dancer