CAIRO: Samieha al-Asmar, ago 9, is preparing to travel to France with the Banha Children’s Band for Tanoura and Folk Arts, her father Mohamed Al-Asmar told Youm7 Tuesday, adding that “she is performing a spiritual dance.”
She dances with a 9 kg tanoura costume that she spins in her performances. “It demanded a fixed diet, months of training, and exercise,” Mohamed told Youm7 after a performance at the Cairo International Book Fair, which runs until Feb. 12.
He explained that her oldest brother was a tanoura dancer, but the family found that the youngest family member was a bigger fan of the dance; “she was trying to perform it away from us; we started to train her as she proved every day that she was a very talented girl.”
According to Youm7, Samieha usually starts her show hiding her hair until she proves her real talent; then with confidence reveals her real identity along with the other girl performers. “The dance originally is performed by men, and if the audience noticed that the performer is actually a girl before the show, they would be astonished,” her father said.
“After revealing that she is a girl, the other band members follow, and usually the audience response positively, clapping and chanting,” Mohamed added.
The little girl, along with her band, is preparing to travel soon to France to perform their first show abroad; the father said expects his daughter to be performing until she reaches adolescence, but that “if she likes to dance, it’s a spiritual and respectful dance after all.”
The tanoura is a Sufi dance, originally performed in Turkey by men wearing long colorful skirts, spinning, and listening to religious songs. The dance is performed and known widely in Egypt, especially in historic places, and is considered part of folklore.