The Gilded Serpent presents...
A Biography
by Ekaterina

Contributor’s note to GS:
We are extremely busy here organizing Nour's “Master-classes” and her
concerts, because she comes to Russia only once or twice a year. I have translated her biographical information and put it here...

I've talked to Nour about writing for the Gilded Serpent, and she promised to write a short article on the current situation. As soon as I receive and translate it, I will send it. Also, I have some curious pictures of Nour. You may publish them along with the article. (One picture is scanned from a magazine.) In the article there, Nour is compared to Sohair Zaki.

I have many articles from the Arabic press concerning dance, but unfortunately, I have no one totranslate them reliably at present.

If you have any questions or if you need any information about dance from Russia, please let me know. It will be great pleasure for me to help you!
My kindest regards,

Nour was born in Moscow where she began her studies of choreography at the age of 8. She was focused upon folk dances from Uzbeck, Tadjick, and Azerbaijan. As time passed, her achievements in dancing were so good that she was invited to the school of a state folk Uzbeck dance troupe called “Bahor”, headed by Kundus Mirkarimova.

At the age of 10, Nour began performing on professional stage, mostly with eastern folk dances. When she was still only11, Nour was fortunate to meet Rina Dayal, the legendary popular dancer in North India. Nour studied two classical Indian styles: BharatNatyam and Kathak, as well as four folk styles.

For Nour, Rina became a perfect example of a Russian dancer who had managed to achieve fantastic popularity in a foreign country with a different culture, and where nobody treated or perceived of her as a foreigner.

Being a member of a big troupe, Nour traveled around Soviet Union with concerts, and she started to perform solo dance. During that period, Nour began to stage her own compositions.

At the age of 13, she went to a ballet school of Moiseev who was a famous master of ballet in Moscow. This was the apex of her learning period.

By the age of 15, Nour worked on stage on her own, and after 2 years, she organized her own Middle-eastern troupe, which was actually the first eastern ballet in Moscow. During these days, Nour acquired an old videotape showing the dancing of Nagua Fouad, an Egyptian dancing star.

Upon viewing her dance, and hearing her dance music, Nour realized that it seemed very dear and familiar to her heart. Inspired by the new material, and having already mastered the smoothness of the body and hand movements (from Uzbek dances) and the sharpness of the hips (from Indian folk styles) it was quite easy for Nour to switch to a new passion.

In those days, it wasn’t easy to find audio or video information on belly dance in Moscow. That’s why Nour invented many of her dance moves. This helped very much for Nour to find her unique style of the dance. Later, she found out that some dance movements that she had performed from her mind were ones that were classic to the dance.

Belly dance became the only and favorite dance for Nour. This dance, having its own rules, was like the flight of a soul, especially for one who sees dance as art and not just personal exhibitionism.

Administration of a troupe took too much time; that’s why Nour parted with the troupe girls and started a serious belly dance solo career. She began working abroad on contracts. Nour danced in many countries such as Jordan, The Arab Emirates, Turkey, Greece, and even Shrilanka. Nour’s mother followed her in all her trips as her best friend and administrator.

This picture is scanned from a magazine. (GET NAME)
In the article there, Nour is compared to Sohair Zaki.

While she was working in Arabic countries, artists and manager kept telling Nour that it would be better for her to work in Egypt, not only because she had perfect dancing skills and a work serious attitude, but because it’s only in Egypt where a dancer can really grow in her skills. It is the center of Arabic art and culture and a kind of “Hollywood”. So Nour went to Cairo.

“When I came to Egypt, joy and expectations vanished because I faced many problems of local show business. It wasn’t easy at all, but coming out on stage, I felt happy and I felt a real contact with audience.

That's why I forgot all about my difficulties. My parents were also with me, helping and advising. But fortunately, in a time of trouble, God sent me my future husband, a Syrian singer, Yasser, who is a fanatic of the art like myself. He helped me to overcome all the difficulties and defended me against dishonest and unfair people. He sacrificed his career of a singer for some time because the career of a dancer is very limited in time,” remembers Nour.

At present, Nour lives and works in Cairo. She has performed (in different years) almost in all of the 5-star hotels in Cairo, but her true concert activity in Egypt takes place at weddings. The wedding is a special ritual for Egyptians. One or several famous singers and artists are invited to perform at weddings, depending on the income of the families involved.

For a belly dancer, the work at the wedding is more honorable in Egypt than work in restaurants and nightclubs. A dancer’s name recognition and reputation is created by her performances at weddings.

In Cairo, Nour became acquainted with a dancer and choreographer named Raqia Hassan. Due to that acquaintance, she has performed three years in a row at Raqia’s Cairo Dance Festival.

Presently, Nour is very famous in Egypt; she is often invited to appear on television programs, gives interviews for local papers and magazines, takes parts in films and video clips, and gives charity concerts.

“I’m very happy with my life in Egypt now, and I don’t feel any pressure from Egyptians. On the contrary they are very surprised to learn that I’m Russian!”

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