After Midnight in Cairo
For quite a few years I keep visiting the “baladi” – very local – bars, cabarets and nightclubs in Downtown Cairo with my camera. I am intrigued by this hidden world that even most Egyptians don't know about it or at least many of the city’s middle and upper class residents would never want to imagine and would rather dismiss this world and hide behind their bourgeois morality and standards of sexuality. Baladi bars are the staple of nightlife though in Downtown Cairo, and there’s no shortage of options. Some are easy to spot, while others are hidden in deep and dark dead-end alleys with only one way out. Many of them have live music and rather average belly dancers. These girls do not only dance in these bars but also at weddings in poorer parts of the city. Many of the dancers hope to be discovered and become famous and respected one day. But the reality is somewhat far away from these dreams. Most of them live in rather poorer popular neighbourhoods and have families to take care off. The money they can make dancing is normally much more than most of them could earn with any other job as they often didn't have the opportunity of higher education. But the downside is that they have to work at night, leave their children alone at home with other family members, and are often subjected to rude comments because working as a dancer in Egypt is not seen as respected work. Even though at the same time nobody, poor or rich, would celebrate their wedding without belly dancers.