Meet Brenda: a Latin American belly dancer acting in Egypt

The Argentinean dancer moved to Egypt after ending fifth in the belly dance competition "Al Raqisa " organized by Egyptian star Dina.

On November 26 the Egyptian newspaper El Fagr published an article saying that Sobky Productions had replaced Sofinar Gurian with Brenda to star in its movies. (Photo: Courtesy of Brenda)
English 07/12/2015 11:13 Actualizada 09:31
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By Giselle Rodríguez

Brenda is an Argentinean belly dancer who in 2014 ended fifth in the dance competition "Al Raqisa " organized by Egyptian star Dina, in which she was the only Latin American among the 26 participants. After the contest she moved to Egypt, where she works now as a professional belly dancer in night clubs, discotheques and weddings at five-star hotels such as Four Seasons, Semiramis, Fairmont Intercontinental and Sheraton. 

Recently she was invited to participate in the Egyptian movie "Hamsa Hamas Hamset" of Sobky Productions, in which she plays the role of a foreign dancer. In an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, she explained that she participates in the videoclip of the movie and in a scene of a funeral/wedding.

"It is a comedy set in Pharaonic times starring Egyptian actor Ahmed el Saadani, who plays the role of my manager in the movie. He is in two minds whether to marry me or his other girlfriend. However I cannot tell you how the film ends, because I don't want to be a spoiler," Brenda joked.

On November 26 the Egyptian newspaper El Fagr published an article saying that Sobky Productions had replaced Sofinar Gurian, a Russian belly dancer of Armenian ancestry better known as "Safinaz", with Brenda to star in its movies.

"I feel honored that Sobky chose me for this role after watching me dance, but I don't know why they made this decision. It would be a good question for Sobky and his team," she said.

Few Latin American belly dancers have participated in Egyptian movies or TV programs. In 2014 Magdalena Monti, also Argentinean, acted in the movie "El Mahraghan" and the soap opera "Asia".

Brenda started learning belly dance with Sahar Abdala and Amir Thaleb in Argentina, but in 2012 and 2013 she traveled to Egypt to study belly dance and participate in festivals. Now she works in Cairo, Alexandria, Sahel, Sharm el Sheikh, Gouna and Port Said, and teaches abroad in countries such as Argentina, Mexico, Russia and Colombia during Ramadan, when belly dance venues close for holidays.

"Living in Egypt and speaking Arabic for almost a year has changed the way I interpret music. When you understand the lyrics your dance becomes less technical and more 'heartfelt'," Brenda explained.

 

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About the paperwork required to work as a dancer in Egypt, Brenda said: "Most dancers decide to marry an Egyptian because that way you get the nationality in two years, and as an Egyptian you don't need a permit. Otherwise you must have a long-term contract to work as a full-time dancer. Once you obtain the government's approval and pay the corresponding fees and taxes, you get a belly dancer ID."

In the interview she also explained that even though Egyptian law forbids dancers to show their belly button, the regulation is rarely enforced, especially in weddings, in which dancers have more freedom to use any costume they want provided they wear shorts under the skirt. Brenda added that when dancers know inspectors are coming, they wear a transparent skin colored body to cover their torso.

Even though she has been invited to dance in Morocco, Emirates and Tunisia, Brenda said she doesn't "plan to change her beloved Egypt for anything." For the time being, her only plans are to let life keep on surprising her.

 

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