Living Off the Nile

Tannura Egyptian Folk Dance

December 15th, 2010 by asmetana · 2 Comments

A few Saturdays ago, I got to see a free Tannura show in Hussein, an old area of Cairo. Tannura dancing is a traditional Egyptian dance derived from whirling Sufi religious practices.

In this dance, men in giant skirts that twirl. The skirt can either be plain white or very colorful. Either way, it is absolutely mesmerizing.

During the show that I saw, one of the dancer whirled for at least twenty minutes non-stop. I was surprised that he did not wobble or anything after he had stopped.

During their spinning, the dancers may do a variety of things. Sometimes they will hold some large drum-like disc and hold them in various formations, or they will release their outer skirt and twirl it above their head, or they will twirl while moving in a huge circle around the stage, along with various other feats.

One dancer had a look of pure joy and contentment on his face and it was hard to help but smile while watching him.

Here is just one clip that I found on YouTube as an example.

El Día E, 2009 Tannura on YouTube

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