Tonight was cultural arts night aboard the Viking Ra, and all hands were decked out in their finest Egyptianized evening wear, in celebration of our host country.
It provided the perfect opportunity for women to shimmy in their cotton camel PJ pants, embroidered tunics, and spangled belly dance costumes,
while a few men rocked the casbah in their galabeyas (long shirts) and keffiyehs (square-shaped, cotton scarves).
Personally, my taste borders on Tommy Bahama does Margaritaville at REI, with little to no resemblance of anything Middle Eastern-related, so I reimagined a hand towel as a Nemes (royal headdress), and called it a night. Leah chose to ignore the fashion directive.
It was also a time for traditional Egyptian cuisine–served family style–followed by an hour of Sufi-themed music and dance.
With the riverboat tied up in Esna for the night, Viking passengers benefited from a wealth of local talent who came aboard to showcase their cultural arts–steeped in a medieval tradition of Islamic spiritualism that deals with purification of the inner self through a deep devotion and physical experience of God.
As enchanting as it was hypnotic, a member of the troupe performed the tanoura (Arabic for ‘skirt’), a trance dance not unlike the Turkish Whirling Dervishes, but with an Egyptian “spin.” Its origin dates to 13th century Egypt, when whirling in place became a means to reaching karma. The dancer spins anti-clockwise–which symbolizes Muslim pilgrimage around the Kaaba, while also preventing dizziness.
Our dancer wore a multi-layered tanoura of many colors (collectively weighing over 50 lbs.), as he performed his meditative ritual for over 15 minutes, dancing with trays, and scarves. Unbelievable!
Then the ship lights dimmed, and the tanoura turned psychedelic!
It was an enlightening way to spend the evening!
6 thoughts on “Dancing the Tanoura”
Hahaha, that was a very special evening , especially with the ladies dancing.
Thank you so much for bringing up the beauty of my country & the Nile cruise.
Your wording and pictures are amazing.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Leah and I are happily recalling the trip through pictures and stories. It was an amazing adventure with your help.
Nice!! Colorful! I’ll bet the music was good too!!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Click on the arrow! You will hear the music when you play the video file.
I love this enjoyed reading this Want to make sure I understand this fully
The passengers on the Viking Ra celebrated cultural arts night in their finest Egyptian-themed wear, with some wearing traditional garments and others improvising. Local talent came aboard to perform Sufi-themed music and dance, including the tanoura, a trance dance with Egyptian origins dating back to the 13th century. The tanoura dancer wore a multi-layered skirt and performed for over 15 minutes. The evening was described as “enchanting” and “enlightening.”
LikeLiked by 2 people
All true! And happy you enjoyed this. Why not search the archives for other Egyptian content?