Egyptian floor work?

Tarik Sultan

New member
Really! Wow I did not know that. That is so sad to see shackles of sort put on a beautiful dance form.

That's because far too often the dancers did things down there that were not so beautiful. In fact, far too often, it could get pretty raunchy. Just remember, for them, this isn't an exotic mysterious dance. This is what everybody grows up doing. So when they dance, they don't have a conciousness of perpetuating an art form. They're making a living and expressing their personality through the dance. Some personalities are not too wholesome....

There are travelers accounts from the 19th century that describe dancers decending to the floor and doing a kneeling backbend. In the realm of social dance, you can still see this done, as well as dancing in a kneeling position, or with crossed legs. Lucy would always go down to the floor and do some arm and hand flurishes with crossed legs. Somewhere I have a picture of the two of us doing that. I use to have another photo with the dancer of the Hassan Hassan troupe where we did some moves on the knees before she went into a backbend. Whatever the case, It's kind of old school today, like playing cymbals, but as social dance you still see it. Sometimes they lay on their side and do a leg shimmy, but this is considered very low class. Here's a video of some guys in Egypt, one does some floor work.


New member
HA! I can imagine dancing onto stage or into the midst of an audience, waving a carpet around in lieu of a veil...

We're talking studly chorus males of a legal age, right?
Oh absolutely. Can't have your carpet carried on by a couple of boy scouts. From a risk assessment point of view one couldn't risk it, carpets are heavy.

As for banned floor work, from some of the clips I've seen I shudder to think what happens if some dancers catering for the less classy end of the market get on the floor. Not an elegant Samia Gamal movie tableau type of thing, just guessing....


New member
Traditionally, floorwork is simply very scandalous in Egypt unless you have a shamadan on your head... But for American audiences do as much floorwork as you would like ^^


I don't think I agree with that. Floor work isn't nearly as common in AmCab as it once was and even back when, it was considered a tad more risqué than staying on one's feet. I learned to do floorwork but it hurt my knees and I didn't like mopping the floor with my costumes. In some venues, it was simply safer to stay on my feet but we won't discuss those venues, will we? ;):lol:

Hanan Ahlam

New member
So I have a stereotypical view of floorwork being a feature of American or Turkish style. But since it was outlawed in Egypt, obviously someone must have been doing it there! How is Egyptian floorwork similar to/different than other kinds of floorwork, or is it really an imported element, and not really part of Egyptian style at all? Curious minds want to know!

Bonus points for video documentation.:D

Without going into details regarding political and social trends sweeping the region, I can attest that yes, floor work, risqué dance moves, and even dancing costumes, are all subject to regulation.

Recently dancers have been arrested in Egypt for various reasons one of which is ‘debauchery’! If you are interested, you can read more at

I write and speak about this subject extensively. From experience, this inequitable treatment of dancers and women in general, is about power and submission under the guise of ‘morality and tradition’.

As a Middle Eastern woman, I know for a fact that female autonomy and sexuality is a deeply contested issue in the Arab world. Restrictions on dancers are due to the expected submission of females to social norms dictated by the men in our society under the guise of ‘protectors’.

In regards to floor work, generally it is not a big part of a Balady Dancer’s routine. It is thrown in as a point of difference. Additionally, the style of floor work is very individual and spontaneous. Each dancer adds their own signature to these moves based on personal preference and agility.

I remember Fifi Abdo doing risqué moves with splits and bounces on the floor.
Below is a clip from Youtube.

FiFi Abdo :

And an article by Morocco, Getting Down to Floor work
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