Ancient Egypt culture, dancing in ancient Egypt

Facts about dancing in Egyptian culture

Now we are going to talk about some facts about ancient Egypt culture. Egypt culture includes a lot of customs and habits, among them dancing, which we will talk about it.


The matter of fact about dancing is that it is an instinct in a human being. It is perhaps the most straight-forward expression of joy translated into harmonious bodily movements.

It was equally known for both the ancient and modern peoples. It is true that dancing is a sensitive aspect for expressing happiness stemmed from a nervous movement or shaking as a result of a feeling of ecstasy and pleasure.

Egypt culture: dancing in ancient Egypt

Facts about dancing in Egypt culture
Egyptian culture, a dancing scene

On the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs of the 5th dynasty (2500B.C.) depicted women performing group dancing in such athlete mood similar to that of the ballet.

Meanwhile, the M.K. scenes in Bani Hassan depicted women with dancers almost in the nude, performing so-called “nuder-the-feet” type of a dance, showing a female acting as victorious king.

While another dancer is kneeling down in front of her as if she is the humiliated and defeated enemy clamoring for mercy. That victorious king is holding his humiliated enemy by the hair.

Another type of dancing is known as “grass dance” performed by a dancer who bends her back to reach the floor by her stretched arms, while her body is shaped as a semi-circle, and in the meantime another dancer bends her body against the first, and a third extends her arms over the other two.

This grass dance was so called since it represented the dancers through their movements show the effects of the wind on the grass and other plants.

Dancing in Islamic era

This type of mimic and expressionistic dancing survived through the Islamic ages especially in the ceremonies held to celebrate circumcision of the sons of the sultans and was performed by a group of craftsmen.

For example, the water carriers, during the celebrations for circumcision of the sons of sultan Ahmed III performed some “light movements” with their feet while others did the same with their hands which held the water bags.

Egypt culture facts: The dance of the shield

Facts about dancing in Egypt culture
Ancient Egypt culture, dancing with shield in Egypt

The fact of this dance was represented in all the statues of the god Bes of dancing in ancient Egypt. The deity was depicted while holding the shield in his left hand and the sword in his right hand.

The deity was supposed to bend the arm with the shield forward and in the meantime lifting the bent right arm above his head to receive the mimic strikes from the opponent and defend his head against possible injuries.

It is hard to find a Coptic garment without these scenes of the dance of shield, where a young man is depicted holding a shield in his left hand standing on his toes, while his head is bent backward, while his hair was styled after the pharaonic hair do to reach his shoulders.

The archaeologists tend to call this dance the clowns dance. In the Graeco-Roman museum in Alexandria pottery models demonstrating this dance are on display.

In the meantime, this form of dancing was widely spread in Egypt preceding the wedding processions till the turn of last century.

This dance was well demonstrated in the celebrations of sultan Murad III of the circumcision of his son, represented in the surname carrying his name (990A.H./1582 A.D.) now on display in Topkapi Saray museum in Istanbul.

The two contestants were facing each other, each with a shield in one hand, and a long staff in the other.

Facts about dancing in Egyptian culture
Dancing in ancient Egypt culture