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Dancing Queer

Winter Residency 2021-22 artist Shrouk El-Attar brings together engineering and drag performance to create a belly-dancing robot.

Shrouk El-Attar by Diego Maeso

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Image of Shrouk El-Attar by Diego Maeso

Shrouk El-Attar

Shrouk El-Attar is an engineer, belly dancer, refugee and LGBT+ rights campaigner from Egypt.

Shrouk is an artist, belly dancer and drag performer, engineer and LGBT refugee from Egypt. Throughout their Winter Residency, Shrouk has been exploring the creation of a belly dancing robot that moves autonomously to Egyptian music, and their ideas for a choreographed duet with the machine as part of a new performance piece.

"As an Egyptian, I grew up with bellydance being simply called “dance”. The term “bellydance” is a Western-coined name that isn’t even descriptive of the authentic practice - we don’t use our bellies to dance, it is performed by everyone, for everyone (not just by women for men’s entertainment), and the original Egyptian costume even covered the stomach and arms. On Google, nearly everybody in image search is white, western, female, and looks nothing like me. It often feels like I have been wiped out of my own culture. Through my Winter Residency, I brought my art and engineering skills together to create a gender non-conforming bellydancing robot as something that brings joy for all and starts important conversations. I’m looking forward to introducing my prototype robot and sharing my ideas!"
Shrouk El Attar

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