Hatshepsut and other dances,→ Hatshepsut on APPLE I-TUNES
|More on dance in ancient egypt: pharaonic music and dances|
A CD by produced by Abdel Hazim tightly fit for bellydance classes and special shows, especially for Tribal Bellydance Style, an overview of Arabic rhythms used in belly dance music.
I bought this CD on a whim, and it ended up being my favorite of all the ones I purchased. "Hatshepsut" (both versions, one is Ayoub and one is beledi), Maqsoum, and the Derboukka solo are the best, but all are great! Very danceable music that is different from everything else!
Hatshepsut: the Queen that was a King!
The story of Hatshepsut
The pharaonic style music compositions are dedicated to queen Hatshepsut or Maat-ka-Ra: a 18 th dynasty pharaoh who was the first one of the few female rulers in Ancient Egypt. Her reign 1479 - from B.C. to 1458 B.C - was the longest of all the female pharaohs. When her two brothers died, she was in the unique position to gain the throne when her father died. A female pharaoh was unprecedented.Of course there were Egyptian pharao's before Hatshepsut, like Nitokerty and Sobeknefru who only ruled five years. After Maat Karé there was queen Tawosret who rule around 1198 until 1190 BC and still later Cleopatra VII.
Traditionally, the rulers of Egypt were male. Consequently, when Hatshepsut assumed the titles and functions of king she was portrayed in royal male costumes. Such representations were mere political statements. She actually looked more feminine - breast and a female torso - than the statues and wall paintings reflected. Queen Hatshepsut organized an oversea trade mission to the land of Punt, Abyssinia, at the horn of Africa which took 3 years. From there they imported the resins gained from the incense-tree they needed for religious occasions.
On those religious festivals, group dances were performed. The dancers were sometimes almost completely naked, except for the hip belts (as a protection against evil spirits) often containing amulets and some necklaces. Nudity was very much a part of Egyptian society (only the lower castes of course). In the Old Kingdom and Middle Kingdom, women danced bare breasted as was done in other parts of Africa as well.
Harem girls were known as the "adorned ones" and had to entertain their master. Harem women and society ladies were instructed by choir masters and mistresses of dance as part of their education as was later also done at the Ottoman court. They also learned to play the lute, the lyre, the harp and, most importantly the sistrum and menits which were religious instruments. Banquet and harem dances were certainly more refined and sophisticated than the street dances. They featured solos as well as group dances. Group dances were choreographed and solo dances were merely improvisation. They used a system for choreographic notation. These steps and gestures had names such as "the calf, the successful-capture-in-the-boat, the leading-along-of-an-animal, the fair-capture-of-the-beauty, the taking-of-the-gold and the colonnade."
Some of the movements used in ancient egyptian dances could still be seen in the dances of indian communities on the islands of western Africa.
The death of Hatshepsut is still covered with mysteries. Maat-ka-Ra reigned for fifteen years and when she disappeared Tuthmose III took the throne. Driven by hatred Tuthmose erased everywhere her name and destroyed the monuments erected by Hatshepsut. That was about the only thing he did as he was completely incompetent to rule Egypt, the most powerfull nation on earth at that time. Although the temple at Deir Al Bahari still stands, neither her tomb nor her mummy has ever been found. Hatshepsut was the only female pharaoh to erect the most monuments. Senenmut or Senmut - of black African descent - was the chief architect of Hatshepsut's works at Deir el-Bahri.
The wood for the temples and boots were cut in the woods of neighbouring Saudi Arabia.