What I remember most about her (Egyptian Dance Legend: Fifi Abdou) is the “I don´t give a shit about what you think of me” attitude. That was only once: one live performance caught in an unexpected theatre play in Cairo, Egypt.
None of the dancers I dreamt of watching were performing anymore (except for Lucy at her husband´s nightclub, “Le Parisienne”, on Pyramids street). I was lucky enough to study with some of them (Souhair Zaki at the top, of course). For some reason I really don´t care about (but feel grateful for), someone guided me towards a dirty, decadent, dusty theatre where Fifi Abdou was performing as an Actress. No hope to watch her dance – that ship had sailed. Why did I even bother to sit in the midst of an exclusively popular egyptian audience watching actors (OVER-actors, in fact) talking in a language I didn´t understand at the time? Why did I remain sitting like a sad blond duck for 2 hours in a row, laughing at jokes I couldn´t understand, trying so hard to fit in when it was way too obvious I was an alien in an alien land?
The answer arrived – unexpected and brilliant as the answers we eagerly seach for:
Fifi Abdou came out with a full orchestra to do her own dance show in the middle of the theatre play and, among many other fabulous things, she OWNED her body and her presence/space like no one else I´ve ever seen. Everything in her yelled: I don´t give a damn if you like me or not: I LIKE MYSELF: I LIKE MYSELF A L-O-T!).
Forget the lively pink lycra (aerobics – 80´s style) mini-skirt or the anti-cool top that barely covered her wobbly bits (as generous as her presence): all you saw was HOW MUCH SHE LOVED HERSELF and you couldn´t help but wonder:
if she´s so sure about her INCREDIBLE self, who I am to doubt it?
Yeah: who are you to doubt yourself?
P.S. She didn´t dance much but – by God – did she makes us all fall in love with her.