Aziza Bayoumi - a dancer with teeth of steel
Dancing while having a table in your teeth? Yes, it is not only possible but acrobatic feats including balancing various objects on the head or in teeth used to be a part of Egyptian dance (1). In this piece, we bring you a translation of an article that features a dancer named Aziza Bayoumi, who astonished audiences with her skills of dancing with 70 kg in her teeth. The article was published in El Etnain Wal Dunya Magazine on November 25th, 1940 and translated by Karim.
This Egyptian dancer is bizarre: Dancing, while she carries 70 kilograms in her teeth!
In the past generation, Baladi dance had its own traditions that made it closer to the acts of "Fetewat"* and acrobats. Here is a dancer practising her art while carrying a large "Shemadan" on her head without one of its many candles being blown out. Here is a dancer performing acrobatic moves with one "Qula"** on her head and two in her hand. On this page and the following one, the lens of "El-Etnain" presents bizarre scenes covered for this old dance, which the dancer, Aziza Bayoumi, is still performing until now.
Softening/Flexing her muscles by dancing:
Like any other dancer, Aziza Bayoumi started her dance with flexing movements and light steps despite her heavyweight. But even if she excelled in this, she considered it preparation to soften her muscles for what she was doing from the old “Fatwana” dance.
With her teeth, she lifts a chair and dances!
Here you see the dancer, Aziza Bayoumi, with her steel teeth clasped on the edge of a heavy chair that an average person cannot lift easily with their hand. She lifted it upside down in the air, then began to practice her violent dance moves while holding it that way!
Teeth of steel!
These are the teeth of the dancer, Aziza Bayoumi, who seems to have lifted a heavy table with her teeth. On top of it, there are four chairs - that is, about 70 kilograms - and, amazingly, she can do this with her dance moves. First, she sits and then gets up without the help of her hands, then spins swaying on the music’s tones with such a heavy load.
She carries a table, a chair and a boy!
With her strong teeth, Aziza Bayoumi grabbed the edge of this heavy table to raise it, carrying a chair on top of it. On that chair, one of the boys sat! And what is amazing is that she can not only do that, but she can also practice her dance, keeping her balance without the help of her hands!
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* Fetewat, plural of Fetewa: The fetewa in Arabic dictionaries is boys between adolescence and manhood. As stated in the intermediate dictionary, it is also defined as a help or a system that develops the character of courage and help in the young man. Therefore, it has been historically associated with traits such as the strength that young people usually possess between the stages of adolescence and manhood; chivalry and courage, whose owners rush to the rescue of others; nobility and the pursuit of justice and truth, which establishes a system that supports these traits and creates courage and help by the young man.
** Qula: The qula is a container that resembles a bottle, but it is made of pottery. Its manufacture dates back to the Pharaonic era in Egypt, and a wide class of farmers and the people of Upper Egypt are still working on the manufacture of pots/Qilal. Al-Qilal is one of the oldest Egyptian customs and natures, as the Egyptians used to drink water from it, especially in the summer when it was very hot, especially in villages and small towns.
(1) https://www.bellydancewithnisaa.com/onlinelectures.html (Lecture: It's Time for the Feats of Strength! A History of Floorwork and Prop Balancing in Egyptian Belly Dance)
If you would like to support the Raqs Sharqi Museum, in searching for antique & vintage items, buying them, archiving them, preparing scans & translations, and publishing them online so everybody can see them for free, you can become museum's PATRON. Thank you for your help!