It's a long way from Lisner Auditorium to Cairo, but last night a group of Egyptian entertainers attempted to bridge the gap, culturally, at any rate. The show, "A Night in Cairo," was held to benefit "Faith and Hope," an Egyptian organization sponsored by Jihan Sadat, which is concerned with the rehibilitation of the handicapped. The keynote of the evening was the furtherance of American-Egyptian relations. This was underscored by the opening which featured women dressed in facsimiles of the two nations' flags, standing on stage for the playing of the national anthems.
The festivities began with a fashion show of Egyptian dress styles from Cleopatra to the present. While taped Egyptian traditional music played in the background, models paraded about in stunning, flowing gowns studded with sequins and gold.
Composer Hani Mehannan and the Egyptian Musical Ensemble then presented a series of modern songs which sounded similar to American pop music in the '50s but with the characteristic Middle Eastern trills and flourishes. At one point, a young woman from the audience (Phyllis from Chicago, she called herself), joined the group on stage, dancing to the music.
The evening ended with oriental dancing by Nagwa Fouad and the Reda Folkloric Ensemble. Dressed in a white costume, Fouad featured a style that, to the Western eye, appeared to be a cross between belly dancing and ballet. Kicking and twirling to a furious percussive accompaniment. Fouad had the crowd whistling and clapping along.
"We hope that these entertainers will enhance the good feelings between our peoples," Ess El Din Shawkat, a press attache at the Egyptian embassy, said before the show. From that standpoint, it certainly succeeded.