TRAVEL THERE: THE CELEBRATION’S CROWNING GLORY
If you’ve ever been to an Egyptian wedding and they didn’t have a belly dancer, then you’ve missed out on a wonderful treat. Bassem and Mariam’s wedding was an over-the-top experience in a lot of ways and true to form, when it came time for their belly dancer to appear, you can be sure she didn’t disappoint.
The Excitement Builds
From the moment the bride and groom made their pyrotechnic appearance in the Fairmont’s Pearl Ballroom, we were treated to excess after excess. Generous pourings of fine scotch, a grandiose buffet and amazing desserts were just the beginning. The dj kept the dance floor filled and a great time was being had everywhere you looked.
Suddenly, everything came to a screeching halt. The music stopped and the dance floor cleared, but the excitement level went through the roof. The belly dancer was about to make her appearance.
I Love Belly Dancing
OK, I’ll confess, I love belly dancing. Whether we’re enjoying a festival like Scarborough Faire, taking in the State Fair of Texas, eating at a Middle Eastern restaurant or attending a travel show, when the throbbing beat of drums announce the appearance of a belly dancer, I make a beeline to the edge of the stage.
While I’ve never taken a belly dancing lesson in my life, I did win a belly dancing contest on my earlier visit to Egypt. I’d dressed up for Gallebeya Night on our Nile Cruise with no idea I’d be belly dancing before the night was over.
When they began a light-hearted contest and were getting a slow response, I stepped up on stage to dance against a fellow passenger in the spirit of fun. When the music started, I wiggled around with my hands up in the air, making what I hoped were belly-dancing-looking gestures. I won the match-up completely unaware that it was just the first round. Time and again I was asked to dance against other passengers and to my amazement I somehow won every round.
On the last round, an appropriately-garbed and obviously properly-trained dancer shimmed up to challenge me and I tried my best to bow out of the embarrassing match-up, but no one would allow it. In my clumsy, but joyful attempts, I had become the crowd favorite and even though the real belly dancer danced circles around me, when the crowd was asked to vote with their applause, I was the overwhelming winner.
Over here in States, the dancers are a mixed bag. More often than not, amateur performers share their pure love of the art form and I revel in their delight. From women so skinny their ribs are hanging out to voluptuous ladies with rolls of fat freely jiggling, each lady who practices this art is braver and more skilled than me. Huzzah! Here’s a sampling of belly dancers we’ve enjoyed. And yes, that is Bill on stage. He’s always the guy they pick for crowd participation, but I’m the one who won the belly dancing contest.
The Best Ever Belly Dancer
Though I am a big fan of belly dancing, I have never in my life seen such a beautiful and talented dancer as I did that evening. While I have seen some attractive women shake their stuff, the crystal blue eyes, gorgeous skin and toned muscles of this wedding dancer put her in a class all by herself. Her performance included several costume changes. The first one, a red velvet number encrusted with many gems and spangles was without a doubt the most glamorous and elegant costume I could have imagined, but every time she reappeared, she raised the bar.
During her finale she invited everyone up to dance with her and this time it was me, rather than Bill who danced with the star. What fun we had. Enjoy these pictures of us enjoying the show. Then come back next week as we take off our wedding finery and head out as tourists.