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Etienne Dinet and the Ouled Naïl

Ouled Nayl in Bou Saada
The women wait the performance all lined up, shoes before them for the performance to begin. When one of the dancers was tired of dancing, she was immediately replaced by another so that always two girls danced together. For more pictures check here.

Although their origins remain hidden in the mist of time, the Ouled Naïl inspired many artists. Painters, writers and musicians found them a "source inepuisable d'inspiration", a never ending source of inspiration. The most known painter was no doubt Etienne Dinet (1861-1829) who stayed in the village of Bou Saada and made the tribe world famous through his work. Etienne Dinet first traveled to Algeria in 1884 with a fellow artist and spent the next 45 years traveling between France and Algeria. He found peace of mind in the village of Bou Saâda after the death of his wife. He mastered the local language and wrote together with his friend Hadj Ben Slimane the intriguing book "Khadra, danseuse de Ouled Naïl", a real fascinating story about a young Naylate dancer.

Ouled Nayl

During his stay he converted to islam which heavily reflected on his later works. He then took the name Hadj Nasr Ed-Dine. The French artist loved the grace of the Algerians, their culture and religion. After his death in Paris in 1829 Dinet's body was buried in Bou-Saada. Also Lehnert and Landrock, two passionate photographers who's works form a large part of the "museum of Middle Eastern dance", couldn't resist the temptation of the Ouled Nail.

  1. more on the Ouled Nail
  2. more pictures of Ouled Nail
  3. Naylates defend themselves
The artwork of the CD "Wadi hafla" is based on a work of Etienne Dinet.
Young girls dancing in the oasis.
CD available on CD baby (see under)
Abdel Hazim, Wadi hafla on AmazonAbdel Hazim, Wadi hafla on

ABDEL HAZIM: Bellydance revolutionsABDEL HAZIM: Bellydance revolutionsABDEL HAZIM: Tribal BellydanceABDEL HAZIM: Tribal beats including HatshepsutABDEL HAZIM: Wadi haflaABDEL HAZIM: transcendent bellydanceABDEL HAZIM ensemble: Dancing in the oasis