The case of the Egyptian child Abdel-Rahman Tariq was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 20 months, and it seemed that his future would be full of difficulties and pain.
Now, nearly ten years later, the recovering 11-year-old has resorted to a tanoura dance to boost his spirits.Tanoura dance is a common Sufi ritual in Egypt in which dancers rotate in wide skirts, usually woven from wool for long hours as they stand on a fixed point.
The garment, although heavy, is useful in maintaining balance and in giving a dynamic effect to movement.
The boy is from Tanta, Gharbia governorate, north of Cairo. He began practicing tanoura dancing at a very young age, but it was only after he finished rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy that he could dance for real only a year ago.
The boy is cured of cancer, but the disease may come back and he still has body and muscle aches, fever and general weakness. But the pain did not stop him from pursuing his dream.
He said, “When I was young, I used to take chemotherapy, and my sisters used to send me videos of theirs while they were learning the skirt that I accompanied, and I told my sisters that I wanted to learn it, they told me if I hide, God willing, we will teach it to you.”
He added, “Before I learned the skirt all the time, I was asleep and did not move. I didn’t have a goal. When I learned the skirt, I still had a goal to walk in and I learned many needs. I stayed myself. I don’t want to stay on the bed. I still want to get up and move and have energy.”
Abdel-Rahman’s mother, Hanan Mahrous, 42, referring to her son’s condition before he started dancing, said, “Before the skirt, Abd al-Rahman did not need to say, take the treatment, he was small, but your mind is very big. His sisters began to teach him the skirt, and he still had a goal in the theater, saying who knew who to act, and so Abd al-Rahman came, they began to teach him. We started like that from below. He started to love acting and a skirt, and all of this began to raise the spirits and be encouraged more and more.
She added, “Abd al-Rahman is one of the children who conquers cancer through his love for art. This love has turned into a cure, and I say that the treatment must be a psychological treatment from an atmosphere, not an organic treatment problem. Psychotherapy is necessary. Psychotherapy is very important in this stage.” .
Lessons in Tanoura dance and acting
Abdel-Rahman is now receiving lessons in Tanoura dance and acting, which were given to him free of charge by director Haitham Hassan who works in a small theater on Imad al-Din Street in Cairo. Abdul Rahman aspires to study and master traditional dance professionally.