Mahmoud Reda, the founder of Egypt’s Reda folkloric dance troupe, passed away on Friday at the age of 89.
Born in 1931, he began his career as a professional gymnast, and represented Egypt at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki.
His gymnastic skills and deep interest in the arts and dance saw him take up choreography instead, and in 1959 he co-founded the troupe.
In his choreography, Reda drew from Egyptian dance traditions and combined them with Western styles such as ballet and modern dance.
In 1961, Reda and the troupe were featured in Agazet Nos Al-Sanah, a film directed by his brother Ali Reda, and which helped popularise the troupe.
Other films incorporating the dance group include Gharam fi Al-Karnak in 1967 and Harami El-Waraqa in 1970.
In 1961, the troupe was officially adopted by the Egyptian ministry of culture, receiving governmental support.
As the troupe began growing to include dozens of dancers, and cooperated with numerous musicians and other choreographers, it started becoming well-known internationally, representing Egypt at many major events and festivals.
The troupe has performed all over Egypt and in many well-known venues abroad such as Carnegie Hall in New York.
Reda worked with the troupe until he retired in 1990, although he continued to supervise it artistically.
The family have yet to release details about the funeral plans.
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