People have always performed and danced as an expression of joy and entertainment and this was no different in the lives of ancient Egyptians. The two dancers depicted above would have danced for an elite audience or maybe even as part of a private show for the Pharaohs in their courts. They would have danced wearing either a short men’s skirt or completely naked with only a belt around their waist. There is some evidence that suggest that women from wealthy Egyptian harems were trained in the art of dance and music as depicted in the image. Some of them would have been accomplished musicians playing various instruments, while others would have been dancers ready to please their royal audience. Trying to make heads or tails of the wall relief, I wonder what sort of dance they would have performed for their private onlookers ? It does suggest something exotic in nature. Could we even class these Egyptian private shows as erotic in nature ? Many were in fact religious or ritual in nature, while others were simply celebratory.
Egyptians from every social class were exposed to music and dance. However well brought up Egyptian women would never indulge in dancing activities in public. They would instead have their slaves entertain guests at private banquets. These slaves roles as dancers were to amuse and entertain their owner’s guests by offering them a very pleasant diversion.
The musician and dancers in the header image is from the Yorck project and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.