On 10 and 13 January at the Alexandria Opera House, followed by four consecutive evenings between 15 and 18 January at the Main Hall of the Cairo Opera House, The Knights of the Orient for Heritage (Foursan Al Sharq Lil Turath), a dance theatre company, performed Her name is Naasa.
Directed by Karima Bedeir, the show revives the folkloric story of Ayoub and his loving wife Naasa. When Ayoub's illness leads to a loss of wealth, Naasa stands by him until they find a cure, giving up all luxury. The story shows that Ayoub was cured by his wife's love. Her name is Naasa aims to underscore the strength, capacity for sacrifice and patience of Egyptian women.
The Knights of the Orient for Heritage dance troupe was established in 2009, on the initiative of Farouk Hosni, then Minister of Culture, with Esmat Yehia as its first artistic director, then Walid Aouni. The aim was to introduce Egyptian dance theatre performances that would revive gems of the popular heritage competing with troupes such as Lebanese Caracalla Dance Theatre. With limited financial and artistic resources and limited logistical support, however, it has not been easy for the Knights to realise those dreams.
Today the Knights operate under the joint supervision of the Cultural Development Fund and the Cairo Opera House. In early 2012, Karima Bedeir became the troupe's director and choreographer. Last April, Bedeir staged the premiere of her first independent work with the Knights of the Orient for Heritage, Bahiya.
text: Ati Metwaly
photos: Sherif Sonbol