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Legendary Egyptian Ballerina Magda Saleh is Being Honored in New York

“Paquita” 1970

Magda Saleh, a legendary Egyptian ballerina, will be honored by New York-based dance and theater troupe “From the Horse’s Mouth” next month. The dance/theater production, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, is set to spotlight Saleh’s influence and impact in the world of ballet, particularly in Egypt, as part of an event entitled “A footnote in Ballet History?”, taking place between March 13 to 17 in New York. An entire program is dedicated to the renowned ballerina, where there will be a screening of two documentaries about the history of Egyptian dance, followed by a panel discussion in which Saleh will be participating.

One of these documentaries is “Egypt Dances”, a 1977 film narrated by and starring Saleh, which will be screened to guests on March 17. The film explores the history of Egyptian dance, such as the traditional folk dances of the Arab Gharb Bedouin, the dancing horses of Giza, and the dances of the Fadigga Nubians of Aswan. Right after the screening, the Bolshoi Academy of Ballet graduate will sit for a panel discussion. Additionally, four performances exploring traditional Egyptian dance will take place during the five-day event.

Magda Saleh, who was born to a Scottish mother and an Egyptian father, has made her mark as one of the most influential figures in Egyptian art and culture. After graduating from Moscow’s prestigious Bolshoi Academy of Ballet, she went on to perform on the stage of the Khedival Opera in the 1960s, become the founding director of the New Cairo Opera House-National Cultural Center, and receive a number of distinctions including the Order of Merit from President Gamal Abdel Nasser. She currently resides in New York, though she continues to actively promote Egyptian culture and art across the United States.

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