This is Brazilian born bellydancer Gisele Bomentre performing during a game show on Lebanese tv. She became a well known performer in the hotels and nightclubs of the Middle East, firstly in Lebanon and later throughout the region. Her career in the Middle East really started when she came to the attention of tv director Simon Asmar. To place Gisele in the Lebanese bellydance timeline, she’s of the same era as Amani, Bushra, Samara and Australia’s Amera Eid. Gisele has since returned to her home country of Brazil where she teaches and performs and has developed a career as a singer.
Trivia: Simon Asmar, who’s credited with starting the careers of bellydancer Samara and singer Fares Karam amongst many others, was released last year after spending 12 months in jail while local police investigated his links to a Syrian murder victim.
This is such a golden oldie that I’d completely forgotten I even had it, but what a gem it is! The dancer is Egyptian born Mona al Said and this is her taksim performance from one of the old ‘Shwaya Baladi’ VHS tapes. Despite Mona wearing the same black net costume, this clip is different from the long performance we all know where she starts with a veil trimmed with long gold fringe. LOL, if you don’t believe me: (1) The music is different. (2) Mona’s position in relation to the white staircase, on the right of screen, is different. In this clip the entire performance is on the same level as the staircase not on the level below as she is in the longer clip.
This is Taheya Karioka performing in another scene from the 1944 Egyptian comedy film ‘Naduga’ (نادوجا). The film also starred Egyptian comedian Ismail Yassin who’s the man who starts the dancing and then brings her into the middle of the circle. Also starring were Mohammed al Bakkar and Fardos Mohamed. Taheya Karioka plays Nadia, a local politician’s daughter who was lost in the forest many years previously. Nadia’s origins have been forgotten and she’s now known to everyone as Naduga (also spelt ‘Nadoga’). She’s protected by an 8 feet tall monkey and if there’s an Oscar for ‘Worst Monkey Suit Ever’ this one would win it.
This is part one of a performance by Lebanese bellydancer Nariman Aboud. In this clip she wears a black and red catsuit costume that was all the rage in the 80s, even Nagwa Fouad had one that’s very similar.
This is the drum solo section of a stage performance by Lebanese bellydancer, Neriman Aboud. Neriman is now retired. Her costume is a catsuit, half red and half black (which is great if you barrack for Essendon LOL).
Trivia: Maybe the catsuit was all the rage back then as Nagwa Fouad wore a very similar outfit, in the same colour combination, in one of her videos.
This is Iraqi born bellydancer Samara performing on a Lebanese tv game show. In this clip, she wears a faux snake skin bedlah and starts her performance with slow music and some serious backbends all while wearing high heels.
Samara moved from Baghdad to Beirut in Lebanon in the early 1980s as a university student. She also began taking dance lessons from Nadia Gamal who encouraged her to find herself and develop her own 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 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.” Well, you could shoot pumpkins through the holes in that quote, but we’ll move on……. 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 similar to the tv programme, ‘So You Think You Can Dance’, but with bellydancers only.