Veil Belly

Veil Belly
Veil Belly

Fifi Abdou Queen of Egyptian Belly Dance

To the world, Egypt is viewed as the Mecca of Belly Dancing, and the modern popularity of the Egyptian Belly Dance owes much to the legendary icon Fifi Abdou. Touted as a national treasure, Fifi is considered the Queen of "Raqs Baladi" an ancient native folkloric dance that originated in Egypt.

Though Fifi's expressive technique is admired the world over, her talent was not honed by professional dance. Growing up a in a large poor family in a village outside of Cairo, Fifi watched great dancers like Tahia Carioca on television. By age 12, she had begun Belly Dancing with a local folklore troupe. Tall for her age and well developed the modelesque beauty soon began performing at weddings, nightclubs and five start hotels.

Though Fifi is an accomplished dancer, her technical skills are not the reason for her success. Instead, her charming personality, megawatt smile and her interpretative flowing style has made her the reigning queen of the Egyptian Belly Dance. At the height of her success Fifi was Belly Dancing with live orchestras to large crowds from all over the world. Her originality and use of props is also inventive. Fifi has danced with a shisha pipe (Egyptian water pipe), used finger cymbals, danced with a cane and with a veil.

Fifi's dance style is not about tons of complicated moves, but precision and execution using a high-energy style. She is admired for her smooth transitions and energetic performances. One of her signature Egyptian Belly Dance moves is her alternating shimmies that are able to travel up through her body. Her pelvic circles, hip drops, jumps and spins are also characteristic moves. Fifi's signature move is considered her twirling backbend. Her expressive facial movements, sassy energy and numerous hand gestures are also worked into her routines.

Fifi has been known to dance bare footed and her Belly Dancing costumes are legendary. The star is believed to have over 5,000 costumes and in the earlier part of her career, she would often reinvest her earnings to go toward the purchases of new costumes. Her costumes range from flashy cabaret costumes featuring exquisite detailing, fitted saidi dresses with bell sleeves and evening gowns with high heels. Fifi also made it famous to perform Belly Dancing while wearing a galabeya, a traditional white men's robe featuring wide sleeves and falling to the ankles. Those who attend her live shows can expect to see Fifi make multiple costume changes during her routine.

What truly sets Fifi apart from others in the Egyptian Belly Dance scene is her showmanship. As an all around entertainer, Fifi understands the importance of audience interaction. Often she speaks to her audience with the microphone while performing, comes up to tables to chat and gets the audience to clap her on as she performs. The acute businesswoman has parlayed her love of Belly Dancing into a sound business to become one of the richest women in Egypt.

Now in her 50s, Fifi retired from Belly Dancing in 2004, but continues to remain active. She conducts Egyptian Belly Dance workshops all around the world where eager students learn her signature moves and performs on special occasions. During the 1990s, Fifi also became a well known actress in the Arab world, performing in movies, soap operas and plays. Her Egyptian Belly Dance videos are also quite popular with students of the arts and fans. Fifi has been married five times and has three children. From humble beginnings, Fifi taught herself how to read and write and learned English to help with her career. Considered a national treasure has elevated the art of Belly Dancing and left a legacy that cannot be ignored.

For the first time ever Fifi Abdou will be in Toronto Canada for a weekend belly dance intensive workshop and show Aug 6th,7th and 8th 2010 sponsored by www.BellyUp.ca. For info email: info@bellyup.ca

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Anthea (Kawakib) Double Veil belly dance choreography

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