Karima Mansour (Photo: Hamdy Reda)
Karima Mansour is an internationally renowned performer, choreographer, dancer, actress, singer and educator based in Cairo.
She is the founder and artistic director of the Cairo Contemporary Dance Center (CCDC), and the founder of MAAT Dance Company, both of which operate under the umbrella of MAAT for Contemporary Art that was also established by Karima in 1999.
Karima is a graduate of the London Contemporary Dance School, where she obtained degrees in contemporary dance at both a bachelors and a masters level. Prior to this she also received a BA in film from the High Institute of Cinema at the Academy of Arts in Cairo. She has taught at the Cairo Opera Dance Theatre Company (1998), was an assistant professor at the Ballet Institute of the Academy of Arts (1999–2001) and has lectured as an adjunct professor of dance in the Performance and Visual Arts Department at The American University In Cairo (2010).
Shortly after returning to Egypt from the UK, Karima founded MAAT, the first Egyptian independent dance company of its kind. It introduced its new format and re-launched in May 2018.
Over the past two decades, Mansour through MAAT presented over 30 artistic creations, along with over 20 various collaborations in theatre and film.
Mansour continues to work as a freelance choreographer, performer and teacher both nationally and internationally while creating, performing and developing her own choreographic work and language as an artist.
Originally known as Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (“Order of Arts and Letters”), the prestigious distinction was established by the French minister of culture in 1957. Its purpose is to recognise outstanding francophone personalities for their contributions to the arts and literature or for promoting these fields.
Previous international recipients of the order include American actor George Clooney, Australian singer Kylie Minogue, American film director Tim Burton, American fiction writer Philipp Meyer, Russian novelist Lyudmila Ulitskaya, Dutch violinist and conductor André Rieu and Turkish writer Elif Şafak, among numerous others.
A number of Egyptian figures have been awarded the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by France.
They include Egyptian novelist and Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz, novelist and journalist Gamal El-Ghitani, visual artist and women's activist Inji Aflatoun, novelist Alaa Al-Aswany, conductor and composer Hisham Gabr, theatre director and arts manager Ahmed El-Attar and producer and scriptwriter Mohamed Hefzy.