DINA

Dina was born in Rome, Italy. Her father was working there at the time as a correspondent for the Middle East News Agency and her mother was a secretary to the Indian Ambassador. Not much is written about Dina's childhood, she did however, have a couple rough years in her late teens. When she was just 16 her fiancé committed suicide. She became very depressed and unsuccessfully tried to do the same. She attempted it again when she was 18. She ended up attending Ain Shams University where she earned her masters in philosophy. She married but divorced in 1998, she married again, to director Sameh El Bagoury and they had a son Ali. Sadly, El Bagoury passed away from a brain tumor in 2001. Dina  secretly married Hossam Abol Fotouh  but got divorced after a sex tape scandal. Now she is married to Egyptian business man Wael Abo Hussein. 

 

Dina's career started in the 1970's dancing with Reda Dance Troupe. In the 1980's she went out on her own , starting in Dubai, and by the 90's she was dancing in hotels like the Cairo Sheraton. She is also known for her very unique costumes, sometimes she wold wear mini skirts  or cycling shorts with bikini tops. Dina has also done some acting.

 

In April of 2013 Dina said she was done dancing because she wanted to go out on top. She said she plans on getting her PHD in philosophy and wants to work with a charity she has become very invoked with - Society of the Egyptian Deserts. 

 

We found an article about her on Bhuz. It's pretty long - but DEFINITELY worth reading. Some commented that they felt the author was biased against belly dance, and I'm pretty sure some things were lost in translation, but just focus on what Dina says :)

 

Belly dancer fears her art is dying

Nadia abou el Magd, Foreign Correspondent 

Last Updated: June 30. 2008 10:16PM UAE / GMT 

 

Dina, Egypt’s most famous belly dancer, performs at the Haroun el Rashid Club in the Semiramis InterContinental Hotel in Cairo. Victoria Hazou for The National

CAIRO // At about 2.30am on a Saturday, Dina, Egypt’s most famous belly dancer, slinks on to the stage of Haroun el Rashid Night Club wearing a revealing pink outfit, accompanied by the sound of her trademark music. 

 

Without an introduction she eases into her routine, gyrating her hips and rolling her stomach in slow, sensual motions, gradually raising the tempo with ever more daring and titillating movements of her thighs and torso.

The audience, made up of upper class Egyptians, Gulf businessmen and tourists as well as a smattering of westerners, is enthralled. 

 

Dina is practicing an art that dates back to the Pharaohs, but belly dancing, or raqs sharqi, is these days more often condemned as immoral than celebrated as a national pastime, as religious conservatism grows in Egypt. 

 

In May, Dina caused an uproar after giving a brief performance at a high school party. Apart from the storm that ensued in the media, 17 Islamist and independent lawmakers filed an urgent inquiry with the education minister, and Nabih al Wahsh, a well-known lawyer, filed a lawsuit against her for “seducing students”.

Ali Laban, a legislator and member of the Muslim Brotherhood, called for talks with the culture, education and interior ministers, while Sherif Omar, who heads the education committee in parliament and is a member of the ruling National Democratic Party, referred to the incident as a “catastrophe”.

 

Dina, in her forties and who goes only by her first name, was taken aback by the reaction, though it is far from the first time her dancing has raised the ire of conservatives.

“When I heard that my dancing for five minutes while wearing a jeans and T-shirt in the prom party [caused such offense], I was shocked,” she said, sipping a cappuccino and smoking a cigarette in the cafe of the Semiramis InterContinental Hotel in Cairo, where she performs three times a week. 

 

“Sometimes I feel I get used to these things, but I don’t, because they never cease to amaze me,” she said.

In Oct 2006, Dina was widely blamed – by officials, the media and the public – after scores of young men chased women through downtown Cairo groping them and pulling off their clothes – even those wearing Islamic headscarves and face veils. 

She had been dancing with a popular singer in front of a downtown cinema to advertise a movie that was playing during Eid, and allegedly aroused the men, causing them to run riot.

“This accusation made me laugh,” Dina said. “I couldn’t believe I could be responsible for unleashing a sexual uprising by hundreds of men. It’s just unbelievable.”

 

Famed for her green eyes, long black hair, and voluptuous figure, sculpted by more than 20 years of dancing, Dina is now one of the only well-known belly dancers in Egypt.

 

“I see no hope or future for belly dancing in Egypt,” she said. “Ten years ago we were so many. Each one had her own style and audience, whether first-class belly dancers, or second and third class. Now I look around and see nobody.”

According to the Egyptian Arts Authority, 5,000 professional belly dancers were registered in the 1950s, compared with less than 100 today.

 

While belly dancing is legal, dancers cannot perform on state-owned television in Egypt. And in an attempt to reduce the number of dancers, authorities are giving fewer licenses to foreigners and making it difficult for them to renew existing ones.. 

 

Police also monitor nightclubs to ensure that dancers’ costumes are sufficiently modest, with slitted skirts that must start below the knee. The navel is always supposed to be covered, if only by transparent material.

According to Dina, who holds an master of arts in philosophy from Cairo University, the belly dancing outfits are the main cause of controversy in Egypt, rather than the dance itself.

 

“I think the problem some have with belly dancing here is the dancing costume; but it has always been seductive like this, we [our generation] didn’t invent it. Like ballet – can the ballerina dance with a different outfit? We too can’t dance with our bodies covered,” she said.

Wearing a beige tank top and tight fitting pants, and a golden necklace studded with blue charms, Dina said it was becoming increasingly difficult to be accepted as a belly dancer in Egypt, where 90 per cent of Muslim women wear the veil and the trend towards conservative Islam is growing. 

 

“If I had a daughter, I would advise her not to become a belly dancer,” said Dina, who is a widow and the mother of an eight-year-old boy named Ali.

“It’s very tough being a belly dancer in Egypt.

 

“I surround myself with people who love dancing, and who are very understanding, so I don’t get the feeling that I’m doing something wrong at all,” she said. “But when these problems happen from time to time, it’s a reminder that many people look down on dancing, and that it’s [seen as] shameful.”

Yet demand for belly dancing in Egypt is still high among those who approve of it, especially among the rich who can afford to pay the LE12,000 per hour (Dh8,250) rate that Dina and her band charge to perform at private functions.

“I still dance at many weddings,” Dina said. “Most of the brides are veiled but they don’t stop dancing with me and their groom all night long. For Egyptians who can afford it, a wedding means a belly dancer.” 

 

Suha Abdel Wahab, 30, is one such Egyptian. “Of course I would never imagine myself being a belly dancer,” Mrs Wahab said. “But I had Dina at my wedding, that was a dream come true.”

 

Still, people like Mrs Wahab seem to be the exception.

“At my wedding, I slaughtered sheep and distributed to the poor, by the same amount of money that I would have paid to a belly dancer,” said Rasha Moustafa, 29, who wears the veil. 

 

“I think God would bless a marriage that begins by feeding the poor not wasting money on belly dancers.”

 

Nonetheless, in the face of growing disdain for her profession, Dina sees herself as “the guardian of belly dancing”, and vows to continue doing what she loves.

“Belly dancing is in our blood, it’s deeply rooted in our soil,” she said. “I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.

 

“When I get old, and can’t dance anymore, I will train belly dancers. I just hope there will be ones to train.”

 

WHY WE <3 HER:

 

Dina is a BOSS, she's an envelope pusher, and although she has been through many negative things she hasn't let her power or her sexuality be taken from her. She is not afraid to be herself and dance how she wants to dance and wear what she wants to wear.  It seems like the Egyptian press was hopeful that bad publicity would take something away from her, but instead it just made her better - so the joke is on them! 

 

Dina sparks heated political debates and conversations about what it means to be a dancer, and the future of dance. For us that's what it means to be a true artist - her work ignites passion and it's controversial, and that's why we love her! 

 

oh and p.s. she's an AMAZING dancer … there's that too… lol

 

check out the videos below 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBHG7JIAxBQ

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRZJXceYArA

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJFHSSU7LHs

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBuNLa9SBvw