My audience were part Egyptian, part Arab tourists and 3 other tables of 'western' tourists ( Italian, Australian and another table that was perhaps french but I didn't speak to them so am not sure!!!)
Said audience was on fire. They were cheering loudly and clapping before I even got to the stage. I couldn't have done a bad show if I tried! The long table of Egyptians by the stage were mainly female, all wearing higab and were literally screaming at times during my show. Ironically, especially when I did anything a little more sexy within my dance than the usual. They were young and full of fire and fun. Like women the world over. I am glad they were there. When was speaking to the Australian couple after they were commenting how it had opened their eyes to the complexities of the culture that encourages women to cover up yet at the same time hugely enjoys watching Bellydance. I love seeing people's minds open up; When they understand that everything is not black and white as usually reported but has more shades of grey than could never been written about.
The boat had two decks of customers. The top deck however was a wedding who had chosen not to have a Bellydance show. Bellydance being 'haram' (religiously forbidden) in their eyes. Well, the world would be boring if everyone was the same, and I try to take such information on board without taking it personally, but when one of the ladies from the wedding wanted to use my changing room to pray in, while I was getting ready to perform , wellI am sorry, no. I did politely tell her it wasn't possible, that she could go upstairs perhaps. I am 'haram'? yet it's ok for you to pray next to me while I change? I don't think so! Have principles by all means, but stick to them!!!
Anyway, back to the show. I love dancing in front of people who know what the dance is about... At me point during my tabla solo the Egyptian girls started to sing Nancy Agram's song lyrics, 'Bose Bose Bose' so I stopped dancing looked at them as if I was addressing an errant classroom and asked 'morse, morsi, morse.....'? As innocently as possible. The entire place erupted in laughs and applause. Next during the same solo, I overheard someone in the crowd comparing me favorably to fifi abdo which inspired me to do her famous 'opa' chest lift move.... Again- the crowd went nuts. I felt ten feet tall.
After I finished my show the 'western band' performed, although almost 100% Egyptian songs. The last song was 'habibi ya masr' and again the guests and the staff went nuts. The cutest image was a tiny boy, under 2 years ago wandering around the feet of the singer waving his Egyptian flag wildly. I have to admit swelling with pride towards my chosen homeland. The strength and determinations overall good humor of the Egyptian people make life here a dream come true. Not always an easy life and never predictable, but always rewarding (emotionally that is!!)
Thank you Egypt. I feel grateful I have lived here nearly 8 years now and am so included in your celebrations and joy. I wish you well, always.