Lula Abdu (1955) لولا عبده

This is very short clip of Egyptian dancer and singer Lula Abdu (also spelt Lola Abdou) performing in a wedding scene from the 1955 Egyptian film ‘Ard al Hawa’ (Age of Love عهد الهوى ). The film starred Farid al Atrache (post Samia), Mariam Fakreddine, Abdelsalem al Nabulsi and Yousef Wehbi.

Fekriya Mohamed (1952) فكرية محمد

The dancer in this scene from the 1952 Egyptian film ‘El Osta Hassan’ (Foreman Hassan الاسطى حسن) is Fekriya Mohamed (فكرية محمد). It seems that Fekriya Mohamed only appeared in four movies in the 1950s and then retired. The singer with her is Egyptian comedian and singer, Mahmoud Shekuku who shows a definite talent for candle balancing. The movie starred Huda Sultan and Farid Shawki (they were married for many years in real life) along with Zuzu Madi, Mary Munib and Riad Hussein. Also starring is a young Rushdi Abaza at the beginning of his acting career.
Rushdi Abaza was an Egyptian actor who later married Samia Gamal. The marriage lasted about 10 years until Samia Gamal learned that Rusdhi Abaza had not-so-secretly married Lebanese singer/actress Sabah. The Abaza-Sabah marriage only lasted 6 days at which point Sabah learned that Abaza had failed to divorce Samia Gamal.

Fifi Salama (1954) فيفي سلامة

The dancer in this clip is Fifi Salama who danced in a dozen or so movies between 1954 and 1960. This performance is from the 1954 Egyptian film ‘Ismail Yassin’s Ghost’ (عفريتة إسماعيل يس) and seems to have been her first foray into movies. The film starred Ismail Yassin, Katy (as the Kitty the dancer and later as the ghost of the title), Farid Shawki, Mary Munib and Seraj Mounir.
The groom is played here by Abdelmonem Ismail (1907-1970) and the bride is played by Zeinat Sedki (1913-1978). Mary Munib and Mohamed Kamal el Masri are the couple on the bride’s right and who are sitting at the front in the second part of the clip.
Trivia: The bride’s name is Zalabia which is the Arabic word for a type of fried circular pastry much liked for breakfast. Zalabia is sometimes made like dumplings, sometimes they’re piped into different shapes. Mouth watering!

The Great Unknown (1964)

This unknown dancer is performing in a scene from the 1964 Egyptian film ‘Al Marid’ (The Giant المارد ). The singer is Mohamed Rushdi. The film also starred Egyptian actress Shweiker and Tawfik al Dekn along with Farid Shawki who’s wearing an eye patch throughout most of the film.

Berlanti Abdelhamid (1961) برلنتي عبدالحميد

This is a clip from a 1961 Egyptian film titled ‘Sira fil jabal’ (Conflict on the Mountain صراع في الجبل). The dancer is Berlanti Abdelhamid (1935-2010), a well known Egyptian actress who danced if the role required it.
In 1963 Berlanti Abdelhamid met and later married Abdel Hakim Amer who went on to become the Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Army. For several years Abdel Hakim Amer was the first Vice President to Egypt’s President, Gamal Nasser and while he held the post of Vice President, Abdel Hakim Amer had the power to rule Egypt should the President be unable to do so. Field Marshal Amer’s career ended abruptly after the 6 Day War in 1967 and he died the same year after being arrested for allegedly plotting a coup to overthrow Nasser. Some say he committed suicide while others, including Berlanti Abdelhamid, say he was poisoned by government agents. In the early 2000’s she was involved in a public slanging match with the team who proposed making a movie, ‘Al Rais wa al Muhir’ (The President and the Marshal) based on her late husband’s life.

Melaya Leff (Egypt)

This is a three part clip featuring dancers performing with a wrap known in Egypt as a melaya leff. The melaya itself is made of black fabric, usually reaching from the head down to the floor. Egyptian ladies once used the melaya leff to cover themselves modestly when they went outside the home. They wore their regular clothes underneath the melaya leff. The melaya leff used for performances has sequins or pailettes sewn on to it while the regular daywear version does not. The melaya leff was most popular up to the 1950s and is often worn in old time Egyptian movies. It can still be seen occasionally today being worn by older women in some more rural or conservative parts of Egypt. Dancers use the melaya leff as part of a ‘character piece’. Its become a prop usually combined with a floral ruffled dress, headscarf with pom poms, burqa and ship-ship.
In this clip we have:
(1) Naima Akef and singer Mohammad Abdel Mottaleb. This is part of a longer scene and in this melaya section Naima Akef is wearing ship-ship on her feet, these are backless mules or slip ons with a high heel. The word for the footwear is also written as shep-shep, it all depends on your Arabic accent 🙂
(2) A chorus line of melaya clad dancers.
(3) Fouad el Mohandes and Shweikar in the 1968 Egyptian film ‘Mutarada Gharamia’ (‘Chasing Passion’ مطاردة غرامية) which was based on the successful stage play ‘Boeing, Boeing’. Fouad el Mohandes and Shweikar were married in real life at the time this film was made.

Nabaweya Fahmy (1950) نبوية فهمي

This scene is from the 1950 Egyptian comedy film, ‘Leilat al Dokhla’ (The Wedding Night ليلة الدخلة) and features Alexandria born bellydancer Nabaweya Fahmy, who seems to have appeared in only 3 movies between 1950 and 1953 and nothing more. This film starred Ismail Yassin, Hassan Fayek, Samiha Tawfik, Magda and Abdel Fattaḥ al Qaṣri. The two ladies sitting on the chairs are actresses Aziza Badr and Zakeya Ibrahim. The film tells the story of two bachelor barbers who arrange with a matchmaker to have a double wedding to marry their sweethearts who are sisters. On the wedding night the grooms find that their matchmaker has married them to two other, shall we say ‘less attractive’, women.
Trivia: The singer in this clip is Horeya Hassan who was well known as a bellydancer and had a terrific singing voice as some of her other clips will attest. You’ll find other clips of Houreya Hassan here on TheCaroVan.

Gisele Bomentre (Brazil)

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.

The Great Unknown (1953)

This is a wedding scene from the 1953 Egyptian film ‘Aabid al Mal’ (‘Slaves of Money’ عبيد المال) featuring an uncredited dancer. If anyone can help me with a name for her, it’d be appreciated. The male singer is Mohamed Kandil. Other dancers in the film were Katy and Zeinat Olwi and you can see both their performances on this site. The film starred a young Farid Shawki along with Mahmoud al Meliji, Faten Hamama and Emad Hamdi.