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Thursday, 15 March 2018

Ballerina Magda Saleh’s career and the history of Egypt’s politics

Egyptian ballerina Magda Saleh’s life and career, which reached its zenith as a guest star in Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet, can be traced alongside Egypt’s political history, Brian Seibert writes in a profile for the New York Times. Saleh danced her dream role, Giselle, in Moscow in “an East-meets-West tale of Cold War cultural politics, [which] happened long ago, in the 1960s and early ‘70s.” Saleh’s career began during the height of Egypt-Soviet relations, which saw her receive training in Moscow. The shift of political alliances under Anwar Al Sadat led to a sea-change in ballet’s status in Egypt. After trying in vain to fight for restoring the art’s cultural significance, she retired in New York, “regretful that she hasn’t had the opportunity to serve her country as she would have wished.”

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