October 17, 2019
In January 1963, Al Hilal magazine published an article on the establishment of a ballet school in Cairo. The school, described as a “factory of new bodies”, was to become an important institution in Nasser’s nation-state building project. Ballet was positioned to become the new dance form that would create a rupture with folkloric dances and “modernize” the body. With the article on the Cairo dance school as a departure point Learning to Dance pursues the journey of ex-ballerina Magda Saleh along the Nile, projecting a unique history of dance through the bodies of the dancers and her ethnographic research.