My father decisively didn’t allow my mother to respond to my desire to sew a dancing costume. He feared that one day I might decide to become a dancer myself. Oriental dance, popularized in the West as “belly dancing”, has little respect in the Arab world, and is often associated with prostitution. I was fond of an Egyptian child actress known as little Fayrouz. I’d tirelessly watch her black and white movies over and over again, in particular a scene where she copies three famous dancers. I naturally wanted to imitate her and asked my mother for the dancing costume.

When I moved to Paris a few years ago, I signed up for one of Tunisian dancer Leila Haddad’s classes. I was captivated by the way Leila would elegantly and gracefully move her body to the sensual music. But above all, I was fascinated and inspired by the fact that…

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