The dancer in this clip is Alexandria born Zeinat Olwi (زينات علوي) who performed in 35 (or so) Egyptian films. Born in 1930 Zeinat Olwi started her career in the Cairo nightclub owned by Badia Masabni and also had a long connection with Egyptian comedian Mahmoud Shekuku and his band. Zeinat Olwi only had spoken lines in one or two films before she decided that she wasn’t comfortable being an actress and preferred to be strictly a dancer. She passed away in Cairo in 1988.
The scene shown here is from the 1953 Egyptian film ‘My Sweetheart and I’ (Ana wa Habibi انا و حبيبي literally ‘I and my sweetheart’). To the left of screen is Mounir Murad and to the right is Mohammed al Tabie who regularly played the character of a naïve Saiidi boy often in tandem with Sayed Bedier.
The film starred singer/actress Shadia along with Abdel Salem al Nabulsi, the wonderful comic actress Zeinat Sedki and Mounir Murad who was the brother of Leila Murad.
This is Egyptian dancer Hala al Safy (هالة الصافى) performing with the son of Metkal Kanawi who was also named Metkal Kanawi. To add to the confusion, Metkal (the elder) also performed with Hala al Safy. The audio quality isn’t too good in this clip so you’ll need to turn the volume up.
Hala al Safy had a long and successful career as a bellydancer, also appearing in many movies. Several of her movie performances can be seen here on TheCaroVan. In 1986 she renounced dance and public performances. Hala, whose real name is Suhayr Hasan Abdeen, now considers dance to be haram (forbidden) and describes her career as a dancer as the years she’d “…left my life in the hands of the Devil to play with.” She continues, “Hala al Safy died and buried her past with her.” To know more about Hala al Safy’s transition from bellydancer to ‘repentant artist’ you may like to look at a book titled ‘Music, Culture and Identity in the Muslim World: Performance, Politics and Piety’ edited by Kamal Salhi. There are also many websites in Arabic that deal with the topic of repentant artists both specifically and generally.
Luxor born Metkal Kanawi (the elder), is probably best known as a vocalist and rababa player in the genre of Saiidi music. His group’s music is known and loved by dancers worldwide and I saw Metkal and the Rababa Orchestra perform at the Sydney Opera House in Australia many years ago. Metkal Kanawi died in 2004 and one of his sons, Hijazi Metkal (حجازي متقال), has become a well known baladi singer in Egypt. Another son, Hamdi, has become a rababa player like his father. There’s a recording from many years ago of Hamdi accompanying his unnamed mother (who’s not Hala al Safy) as she sings a mawwal. Metkal’s son Metkal, who’s featured in this video, passed away in the 1980s.
Many, many thanks to Jalilah who’s cleared some of the fog of confusion.
A bellydance duo who are both using Isis wings as part of their entrances. The pair were performing at ‘Al Hadeerah’ the desert restaurant at the Bab al Shams resort in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. This clip was filmed in 2010.
This is legendary bellydancer and actress Taheya Karioka in the 1955 Egyptian film ‘Ahl al Hawa’ (People of Love اهل الهوى). In this film she played dual roles as both a ruthless gold digger and a kind hearted dancer. The film also starred Shukry Sarhan, Mahmoud El Meliji, Stefan Rosti and Shekuku.
Nemat Mokhtar dances in a scene from the 1956 Egyptian film ‘Sahifat al sawabeq’ (Criminal Record صحيفة السوابق). One of the backing dancers is Ellen Diato.
The film starred Sabah, Kamal al Shennawi, Mahmoud al Meliji and Siraj Munir. Kamal al Shennawi’s character Waheed has turned his back on a life of crime. He’s looking forward to a future with his family and a regular job until an old crony reappears to destroy his happiness by revealing his shady past.
Movie trivia: While she’s not in this particular scene, Egyptian screen actress Soheir Ramzy makes her screen debut in this film as a 6 year old. Soheir Ramzy is the daughter of a famous Egyptian actress, Doria Ahmed.