Samara

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.

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