Al Rakesa. Egypt’s controversial belly dance show – Is it worth watching online?

Al Rakesa

The belly dance show we were all waiting for that got cancelled!

While it was cut from TV in Egypt, it is still able to be watched online via youtube and lets face it, most of my readers would have been watching it online anyway.

The show is still worth watching for the following reasons:-

  • Dancing (no brainer!)

These are a must watch. Some great dances, some not so great. Ala Kushnir is on board and regular readers will know I am a big fan of hers. Some other quite accomplished dancers drop the ball so to speak and let nerves get the better of them. No one dances terribly though, I really felt for the dancers and think it is great they gave it a go.

There were a few obviously bad music choices. The Americans seem to be favouring fusion choices eg. one hip hop and one to the old classic ‘sway’. These would be better choices for a an audience that was mostly English speaking but this was filmed in Cairo. Personally, I have found that Middle Eastern audiences love the Arabic music but Western ones need a bit of fusion and props to help them relate to the dance. Instrumentals are good if you don’t feel comfortable about correctly interpreting the lyrics.

Do you agree with my ideas on music choices for different audiences? Please share your thoughts below.

  • Language 

If you are learning Egyptian Arabic it is kind of fun trying to work out what they are all saying. Lots of repetitive phrases makes it actually quite a good for practicing your listening skills. The disadvantage of course is that if you don’t understand enough, it quickly gets boring. Personally, I hate reality television in any language … so repetitive and so little content. The great thing about it being online is you just skip ahead to the action. By persevering with the full show you learn a bit more about the dancers but if you can’t handle it Al Rakesa has also uploaded clips of the individual dancers.

Uploading is sporadic so I have been keeping an eye on things for you.

I have made a playlist on youtube with the individual dances that have been uploaded so far. The earlier episodes have yet to have the solos added separately. Really inconsistent format by the producers. I will add solos to the list a they are uploaded.

  • Background dancers!!!! OMG!

Like a car wreck that you can’t look away from – some of the worst and most distracting background dancers in television history. Incongruous, poorly choreographed and concept poor. The drunk greek statue in the 12/10 episode are particularly awful but the bizarre cheerleaders in knee length skirt 1950’s style with neon futuristic bobbed wigs leave me wondering what drugs the costumiers were taking. Imagine a bad eisteddfod going on in the background, with moves that only occasionally matching the beat or feel of the dance. The only ones that make sense are the folkloric ones.

UPDATE! the latest lot of finalist solos have background dancing that makes sense!!! What a relief!


Al Rakesa on youtube can be found here

You can find my playlist of the solos only here


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jeanine
    Jan 17, 2015 @ 05:38:44

    thank you for this article ! i was one of the bellydancers and somebody sent me this article



  2. Elena
    Feb 08, 2016 @ 03:07:07

    Who are the other two “members fo the jury” apart from Dina?



  3. Lauren Seyyal Farrow
    Mar 31, 2016 @ 07:31:07

    My teacher was on that show. The music was assigned and the costumes were designed for them with very little input. If you recall, on one of the early episodes there was a dancer who had like this scarf thing around her neck and it fastened around her forearm. She looked like she was strangling herself. The judges “dinged” her on it and she admitted in the post-performance interview that she had a bit of trouble with that piece of the costume. But it’s not like it was her idea. And I, too, was a bit puzzled by the Michael Buble decision. Sometimes it almost felt like a dancer was being set up for failure.



    • jadebellydance
      Apr 05, 2016 @ 12:33:58

      Ahh! That makes more sense. Thanks for the info and for taking the time to comment. I really feel for the dancers that got the bad music selections. There was enough pressure on the dancers as it was. As I said I thought most of the dancing by contestants was great. After writing this article I was in a small part of a reality show (not dance related) and I got to see just how staged the whole things is. It was even more contrived than I thought. Quite eye opening really. Not much reality reaches the screen.


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