This is Egyptian bellydancer Lucy performing ‘Lessr Fakir’ (لسه فاكر ‘Do you still remember?’). The music was composed by Riad Sonbati with words by Abdel Fattah Mustafa and was sung, like so many of their compositions, by the legendary Egyptian vocalist Umm Kalsoum (aka Om Kulthum and 101 other spellings of her name ام كلتوم).
Born in Baghdad the capital of Iraq, Samara moved to Beirut, Lebanon in the early 1980s as a student. There, she took dance lessons from famous bellydancer Nadia Gamal. The story is that Nadia Gamal asked Samara, ‘Do you want to be a dancer or do you just want the money?’ When Samara replied that she wanted to learn to dance properly, Nadia Gamal encouraged her to practice hard and develop her own personal style.
Samara made her name in Lebanon being most popular during the mid-1980s. However, the ‘Fanoos’ website is unabashed in describing Samara as ‘…an average dancer with boring tableaux’. The site continues with a bit of background, “In 1986, she (Samara) became a mother and had to shortly stop dancing or making appearances. Because of problems with her spouse Tarek Osman, which ended up in a divorce, her career was also put on hold and she disappeared for a long while before making a weak comeback in 2008. Samara was however busy giving private dance classes and opening belly dance institutes in all countries of the Gulf, and in 1997 she opened her first Academy in Brazil.” There are holes in this backstory that we could shoot pumpkins through but there you go…..
Samara’s rise to fame seems to have been thanks to her connection with Simon Asmar, I guess you could say he was the Lebanese Simon Cowell of the time. Asmar developed talented artists, not only bellydancers but singers too, and showcased them via his tv talent show ‘Studio el Fann’. He also either directed or produced many of the Lebanese tv game shows where bellydancers or singers performed. The tradition continues as Asmar’s son Bashir has worked as a producer’s assistant on the Lebanese tv bellydance competition called ‘Hezzi Ya Nawaem’. For those who’ve never seen the show, its like ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ but with bellydancers only.
This is bellydancer ShuShu Amin performing in a scene from the 1979 Egyptian film ‘Sa’aktob ismak ala al ramal’ (I’ll Write Your Name in the Sand’ سأكتب اسمك على الرمال ). ShuShu Amin only danced in three movies and if you’re a dancer, you’ll wish they’d spent more time filming ShuShu and less time focusing on the actor Ezzat El Alaili looking shifty and/or murderous. The film also starred Nahed Sherif and Samira Said.
This is the performance by Egyptian bellydance legend Soheir Zaki during one of a series of concerts filmed, probably in Abu Dhabi the capital of the United Arab Emirates, during the 70s. Possibly the concerts were part of the celebrations related to the formation of the UAE in 1971 but nobody really seems to know exactly. Any confirmation would be greatly appreciated. In this clip Soheir Zaki is wearing a red bedlah.
This is a performance by Egyptian bellydance legend Fifi Abdu during one of a series of concerts filmed, probably in Abu Dhabi the capital of the United Arab Emirates, during the 70s. Possibly the concerts were part of the celebrations related to the formation of the UAE in 1971 but nobody really seems to know exactly. Any confirmation would be greatly appreciated. In this clip Fifi Abdu’s wearing a blue bedlah.
This is Soheir Zaki performing in a scene from the 1971 Egyptian film ‘Modaresti al Hasnaa’ (My Fair Teacher مدرستى الحسناء). The film starred Hind Rostom as Nadia, a chemistry teacher who moves with her sister to Cairo. There she takes up a job as the teacher of a group of high school troublemakers. Viewers will need to suspend reality as leading the ‘students’ are actors Hussein Fahmy, Helmy Abdel Wahab and Saeed Saleh who were all decidedly 25+. Also starring were Abdul Moneim Ibrahim and Sanaa Mazhar.
This scene is from the 1964 Lebanese film titled ‘Hasna al Badia ‘ (حسناء البادية The Desert Beauty). The dancer wearing the red and black dress is Lebanese dancer/actress Kawakeb (كواكب) and the ‘baddie’ in black at the end of the scene is played by Nadia Gamal who did not dance in this film.
The film starred Samira Tawfik as Hala (the girl on the swing) who’s thought to be unable to walk. In this scene she discovers that she can walk when she sees that the evil flute player is about to blow a poison dart her way. He also has a ‘moustache incident’ but never mind that, LOL.
Trivia: The phrase ‘al badia’ comes from the same root as bedouin.