Having received the thumbs up from UNESCO’s CID (International Dance Council), the Taqseem Institute is now the only dance school in Egypt recognised and qualified by the international organisation.
Taqseem Institute - the dance centre dedicated to preserving Egyptian heritage founded by famed performing artist Amie Sultan - has just further cemented its presence as a cultural establishment and is now UNESCO certified! Having received the thumbs up from UNESCO’s CID (International Dance Council), the Taqseem Institute is now the only dance school in Egypt recognised and qualified by the international organisation.
Cutting through the haze of the incessant white gaze, the dance institute has been tearing at rigid social constructs and making way for our heritage alongside its umbrella company, Tarab Collective, also founded by Amie Sultan. “I didn't want another man dominated space,” founder Amie Sultan tells CairoScene. “Taqseem is more than just a dance institute, it is a women’s social club.”
When it comes to its empowerment-centric approach, the emphasis is consistently placed on feel-good moments. With a myriad of classes under its belt, including women-led percussion courses, the institute garnered this global acknowledgment by means of ritual and tradition-based prerogatives - while also subverting prejudices held so deeply most don’t even realise it. “The word belly dance is problematic,” Sultan explains. “It doesn’t belong to us, and it’s not part of the culture, it's very objectifying to the women who practice the dance.”
“We focus on musicality, exploration and healing rituals through percussion and authentic Egyptian melodies,” Sultan continues. “There's a very spiritual side to this dance, with a lot of emphasis on body positivity, inclusivity and overall an atmosphere consisting of self-actualization.”
Aside from consistently pushing for diversity and visibility, not only is this certification proof of the institute’s dedication to the arts, it is only the first step towards a grander dance of cultural self-ownership.