The many faces of Farida Fahmi
Farida Fahmi is not what we could call a typical "belly dancer". Consider her rather the queen of the baladi style. Or let's put it otherwise, the folkloric egyptian dance. And that's exactly where the roots of contemporary orientals dance are located isn't it?
Farida danced at the age of 17 in the musical "Ya Leil Ya Ein", sponsored by the Egyptian state. Zakaria Abdul Rahaman Al-Heggawi was the author of this operetta, first brought on the Opera House stage. "Ya Leil Ya Ein" is considered the first folkloric play that brought the "Reda Troupe" into the attention of the general public. Her older sister was married to Mahmoud Reda.
Farida Fahmi became an important member of the Reda Troupe better known as the "Rida Folklore Dancing Troupe of Egypt". In some sources she is acknowledged as co-founder of the Reda troupe nevertheless Farida played a mayor role in the development of the style of the Reda troupe. Farida married Ali Reda the brother of Mahmoud Reda who was married to her older sister Nadida. She was for 25 years the star dancer of the Reda dancegroup. The troupe included 13 female and 16 male dancers accompanied by 13 musicians. The Reda troupe did their first performance in August 1959 and from then on harvested one succes after another. They toured extensively throughout the entire world. Nowadays Atef Farag is the principal dancer, trainer, and choreographer of the Reda Company.