Edward Said and Tahia Carioca: Performing From a Place of Exile Or a Place of Home

By Barbara Sellers-Young.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Theory and History

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

Edward Said (1935-2003), intellectual and theoretical citizen of the world and author of Orientalism, at the age of fourteen attended a performance of Tahia Carioca (1915-1999), an enormously popular Egyptian dancer and actress. Said was at the time living with his family in Cairo as an exile from Palestine following the formation of the Israeli state in 1948. The evening outing to Casino Badia was arranged by Samir Yousef, Said’s school friend from a private British-run academy, Victoria College. A consideration of Edward Said’s encounters with and writing about Tahia Carioca reveals the ongoing repositioning of orientalism as a theoretical framework in an increasing global culture that as Said points out in Culture and Imperalism “is a sort of theatre where various political and ideological causes engage one another” (1993, xiii). This presentation argues that Said’s (re) positioning of Tahia Carioca’s performance acts to (re) define and (re) articulate the historical and cultural meaning of Egyptian arts.

Keywords: Edward Said, Tahia Carioca, Dance, Performance

The International Journal of Arts Theory and History, Volume 9, Issue 2, January 2015, pp.9-17. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 664.378KB).

Dr. Barbara Sellers-Young

Professor, Dance Department, Faculty of Fine Arts, York University, Vaughan, Ontario, Canada