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She once declared that she would continue to dance until her “last breath”, but now Dina — one of the Arab world’s most famous belly dancers — has apparently retired.

In an interview with Ein magazine, the 48-year-old said that she was more interested in focusing on other aspects of her life, mainly her son.

“This is for my son, plus I want to focus on my charity work with the Society of the Egyptian Deserts, which has become an incredibly important part of my life.

“I can still dance, and I am confident I have a few more years in me; however, I don’t want to give people the chance to say that I have grown old and have lost my skills. I have no regrets.”

Asked whether part of the reason behind quitting was due to the shift in religious views in Egypt, Dina responded: “Definitely not. Everyone should be allowed to live the way they want to. And the day I choose to wear the hijab, I will do so publicly, and not shy away from saying that I would like to wear it.”

The art of belly dancing has been incredibly popular in the Egyptian entertainment industry since the 1950s, with some of the world’s most popular performers coming from the country, including Samia Gamal, Nagwa Fouad, Naima Akef and more recently Fifi Abdou (who no longer dances).

However, a shift in the country’s political sphere means that the dance form is under threat. In February, an Egyptian court had ordered the ban of a satellite channel that aired clips of the dance due to it being “sexually explicit”.

Italian-born Dina started her career in the early 1970s, performing with the famous Reda Dance Troupe, before going solo in the mid-1980s. She caught the media’s attention in the 1990s when she decided to switch traditional belly dance costumes (that were considered modest) with skimpy, bikini-style outfits. Not only did she become one of the highest paid dancers, she was also in huge demand to teach dance abroad, including in the US and Brazil.

Additionally, the star has a masters in philosophy, and is planning to start studying for her PhD this year.

NIBs

Another week, another bachelor off the market!

This time it’s Joseph Attieh, who recently posted pictures of his engagement to a mystery lady.

The Lebanese singer and winner of Star Academy posted photos on his official Twitter account featuring the gorgeous brunette, a massive cake and some friends and family.

Apparently, Joseph’s plans to propose were kept under wraps and not even his whole family knew about it until on the day.

Congrats!

It’s no secret that Mena Shalabi has always struggled with her weight, but now the Egyptian actress has been told to lose 5kg by director Khalid Mari for her upcoming role in Niran Sadiqa.

The series, which focuses on the life of six friends who have known each other since childhood, also stars Amr Yousuf, Dhafir Al Abdeen, Kinda Aloush and Rania Youssef. Mena has already shot some scenes for the programme, so it is not known whether she needs to look slimmer on camera, or if the slim-down is part of a storyline.

Arabia online

“I love the number seven, because it has now been seven years where I’ve felt my soul is whole. I love you and will love you for 7,000 years.”

-Syrian singer Asalah Nasri celebrates her seven-year anniversary with hubby Tareq Al Arian.

“My heart beats for no one right now. The day I wear a wedding ring is the day I fall head over heels in love.”

-Lebanese star Myriam Fares is still looking for her Mr Right.