On our last night in Cairo, we were able to watch a most fascinating yet quite dizzying Tanoura Dance. This was during our Nile River Dinner Cruise. It was a surprise number which came after the Belly Dancing show. We were also able to see another version during our Arabian Night Barbecue Dinner in Dubai, our last stop before flying home to Manila.
Tanoura is an Egyptian folk dance usually performed in Egyptian Sufi festivals. The word “tannoura” may refer to the dance, the dancer, or the large skirt used in the performance.
It is said that it reflects the relationship of the earth, sky, God and man, connecting them all through that deep and oriental dance. Specially when a dancer opens his arms wide open receiving God’s acceptance and beneficence.When the tanoura dancer moves himself, he is like the sun and the dancers around him like the planets. The dancer unties and removes four different skirts during the finale. Their various roundabouts symbolize the succession of the four seasons and their anti-clockwise movement is exactly like the movement around the “Kaaba” (the holy Shrine in Mecca). They also use glowing neon lights to add more drama and spectacle.
When the dancer raises his right arm up and points his left arm down, this represents the joining of earth and heaven together. When he turns himself around, it is said that he enters a trance-like state, trying to become light and go up to heaven.
The Tannoura dancer went around the various tables, swirling the other kaleidoscope colored skirt on top of eager tourists for that special camera shot.
As the finale, the Tanoura dancer chose someone from the audience to don the costume and do a mild swirl. Fortunately he chose someone from the group, Cynthia.
Below is a photo of another Tanoura Dance performance this time in Dubai. Unlike the Nile River Dinner Cruise, this was done in the middle of the desert during the Arabian Barbecue dinner.