Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Nonfiction filmmaker Natasha Senkovich's Bellydancers of Cairo represents one of the first no-holds-barred documentary explorations of bellydancing as an art form. In this film, Senkovich travels to Egypt (the crucible of the art form) and interviews the crème-de-la-crème of bellydancers, from Nagwa Fuad to Dina. These one-on-one discussions with the women illustrate the inevitable conflict between the middle eastern sociocultural landscape - which imposes great conservatism on the women by requiring them to act submissively and cover their faces - and the bellydancers, who challenge all cultural and moral barriers by boldly and brashly exhibiting their bodies in full glory. Senkovich then segues into an investigation of prostitution, and reveals how - in the eyes of many middle easterners - whoring and bellydancing are one and the same. The filmmaker also looks beyond the boundaries of bellydancing to chart the history of eastern dance per se.