Al-Tanoura Egyptian Heritage Dance Troupe
Although the art of Derwish Dances originates from Turkey, it is very much part of the Egyptian folklore and has entertained locals and tourists alike. It is simply beautiful to watch and one sometimes overlooks the skills of the dancers while being swooned by their colored costumes. It is also well known as Sufi dancing. The traditional sense of Sufi dancing is where these dancers were a mystic cult in Islam and by dancing they brought themselves in a state of trance to be closer to God.
The Al-Tanoura Dance Troupe performs in the heart of Islamic Cairo’s Khan El Khalili bazaar, the medieval caravanserai Wikala al-Ghauri, twice a week, being Wednesdays and Saturdays. The show starts at eight o’clock in the evening and seats fill up very quickly. Beautiful oriental music starts to play only moments before these crafted men enter their stage and dance to the melodies that fill the night.
These dances are very popular in Egypt on events and festivals. They perform at weddings, engagements, large parties and on cruise boats. It is clear to see why locals and visitors love watching them whirl and whirl and whirl while singers entertain the ear. The dancers and percussionists have so much energy and charisma that it is simply impossible to not stare in amazement at their art of music and dance. At times, the dancers whirl for fifteen minutes without seize and although it may seem boring to the onlookers, they are so mesmerizing that the level of entertainment never drops.
The show lasts approximately an hour and an entrance fee of about five US Dollars is charged. There is only seating for about two hundred and fifty people so do go early to secure a seat. No food or drinks are allowed into the theatre though. Photographs are allowed and for the keen photographers, one is about to go home with some amazing shots of these master Tanoura Dancers. It makes for a very authentic experience that the majority of tourists visiting Egypt don’t bother seeing.
It should be noted that the Al-Fayoum Oasis is not accessible by taxi or any form of public transportation for touristic purposes. The areas of Wadi Rayan and Wadi Hitan should be entered with 4x4 vehicles and the journey from Cairo may take up to two hours.