An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians Written in Egypt during the Years 1833-1835

By Edwsard William Lane | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX.
PUBLIC DANCERS.

EGYPT has long been celebrated for its public dancing-girls, the most famous of whom are of a distinct tribe called "Ghawázee."28 A female of this tribe is called "Gházeeyeh," and a man "Gházee;" but the plural Ghawázee is generally understood as applying to the females. The error into which most travellers in Egypt have fallen, of confounding the common dancing-girls of this country with the 'A"l'mehs, who are female singers, has already been exposed. The Ghawázee perform unveiled in the public streets, even to amuse the rabble. Their dancing has little of elegance. They commence with a degree of decorum; but soon, by more animated looks, by a more rapid collision of their castanets of brass, and by increased energy in every motion, they exhibit a spectacle exactly agreeing with the descriptions which Martial and Juvenal have given of the performances of the female dancers of Gades. The dress in which they generally thus

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