Mona El Saaid (Mona Saïd)
Egypt's most famous belly dance stars
Mona Saai'd performances always accompanied by a large orchestra, as do all great Egyptian dancers such as Nagua Fouad, Fifi Abdou, Lucy, Dina, Nelli Fouad, Hanan and Nadia Fouad. Mouna Saiid dances "Raks Sharki" or oriental dance. This style of dance was pioneered by the Egyptian topdancer, Tahia Cariocca, who danced in Cairo in the 1930's.
In Egypt it is common that the dancers are the ones that hire the musicians. It speaks for itself the more famous the dancer the more she will be able to engage top musicians. They inquire about who plays well and then search for that musician and try to convince them to work for them. There has also to be a mutual understanding between dancer and musicians. Mona Said hired the most sophisticated musicians at that time. Reda Darwish - who also played for Nelli Fuoad's group - on percussion, Samir Srour on saxophone, Dr. Saad Mohammed Hassan played violin, Omar Farahat the conductor also on violin, and the keyboard player, Mohsen Adley. Mona was mostly performing in London instead of Caïro. Her distinct style made her one of the bellydance stars of the twentieth century. She gave lots of workshops in the US and UK as well as in other countries and trained dance stars like Tamra-henna (who amongst others trained the Bellydance Superstars) and many others.
Mona Saïd in her early days on the cover of a Mohamed Abdel Wahab CD