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Legendary Egyptian Ballerina Magda Saleh To Be Honored In New York

Influential but underappreciated, Egypt's prima ballerina gets her due in a spectacular five-day fete of dance.

Staff Writer

Legendary Egyptian Ballerina Magda Saleh To Be Honored In New York

In celebrating its 20th anniversary next month New York-based dance and theatre troupe, From the Horse’s Mouth, will be holding a string of celebrations between March 13th and 17th, leading up to a special event named A Footnote in Ballet History?, honoring renowned Egyptian ballerina, Magda Saleh. The event will also screen two documentaries centred around the history of Egyptian dance, followed by a discussion panel, with Saleh taking centre stage.

In addition, a documentary titled Egypt Dances will premiere on the March 17th in which Saleh is the pivotal character as well as the narrator. “Egypt Dances travels the length and breadth of Egypt to create a visual record of the numerous indigenous dance forms throughout the country,” according to a press release.

As one of the most influential figures in the arts in Egypt for decades, Magda Saleh’s career is nothing short of exemplary. Having debuted her talent on the stage of the Khedivial Opera back in the 1960’s, her path began at at the Higher Institute of Ballet as a humble student. Saleh was also one of the premiere Egyptian ballerinas to graduate from the Bolshoi Academic Choreographic School based in Moscow and briefly acted as the founding director of the new Cairo Opera House. Having been Egypt’s prima ballerina back in the day, she’s received several commendations and awards, most memorableof which was the Order of Merit from then-president Gamal Abdel-Nasser. She’s been residing in New York as of 1992, and she hasn’t relented in promoting Egyptian culture in the United States as well as the Middle-East.

Her participation in from the Horse's Mouth's anniversary celebration, which will take place between the 13th and 17th of March, is part of a strong Arab presence, with performances also including Hagala dance group, Arab Gharb Bedouin, the Zaggaleen of Siwa Oasis and the Fadigga Nubians of Aswan, among many other acts.