Syrian bellydancers Eghraa and Fitna (1964)

This scene is from a Lebanese/Syrian joint production titled, ‘The Pearl Necklace’ (Akd al Lulu عقد اللولو) which had previously been both a tv sketch and a stage play. Released in 1964, the film starred Lebanese singer/actress Sabah, Syrian comedians Duraid Lahham and Nihad Kalai (the two men who enter the restaurant and sit at the table) and Syrian singer Fahad Balan. The dancers in this clip are ‘real life’ sisters and their stage names are Eghraa (with the headband draping over her shoulder) and Fitna. The sisters left their home in Damascus, Syria for the bright lights of Cairo in 1958. Eghraa’s real name is Nihad Alaeddin and she went on to become a well known ‘bikini’ actress while her sister Fitna seems to have only appeared in a couple of Egyptian films in the 1960s. Fitna now veils and identifies as a conservative Muslim. She no longer mentions her bellydancing past though the two sisters still speak to each other.
Trivia: (1) In Arabic the word Eghraa means ‘seduction’. The word Fitna in Arabic has many meanings but can mean ‘temptation’.
(2) Fahad Ballan moved from Syria to Egypt and worked with Farid al Atrash. He was married for several years to actress Mariam Fakhreddine who was also a star of one of Syrian comedian Duraid Lahham’s films.

The Great Unknown (1975)

Three uncredited dancers in a scene from the 1975 Lebanese/Syrian film ‘The Great Review’ (‘Al Esterad al Kabir’ الاستعراض الكبير ).  The film starred Lebanese singers Wadi al Safi and Samira Tawfik along with Syrian actors/comedians Yassin Bakosh and Naji Jaber who were both well known for their collaborations with Duraid Lahham.
Yassin Bakosh was killed by an RPG (rocket propelled grenade) in Damascus in February 2013.

Bellydancers (1944)

From the 1944 Egyptian film ‘Al Bouassa’ ( البؤساء ) which is an Arabic language adaptation of Victor Hugo’s ‘Les Miserables’. The film starred Abbas Feras, Seraj Munir and Amina Rizk and was directed by Kamal Selim. Unfortunately I have no names for any of the dancers though the dancer on the left may be Gina.
In this adaptation of Les Miserables, Jean Valjean is renamed El Sharkawi/Sherif Pasha while Javert becomes Colonel Fahune. The author of ‘History of the Cinema in Egypt’, Prof. Galal al Sharkawy says, “The social injustice suffered by Jean Valjean is identical with that borne by millions of Egyptians who also suffer from poverty, ignorance, and sickness.”
Trivia: Samia Gamal appears in this film as a singer.

Liz and Lyn Gamal (1954) ليز ولين

Egyptian bellydancer sisters Lys (Liz) and Lyn Gamal perform in a scene from the 1954 Egyptian movie ‘Al Anisa Hanafi’ (Miss Hanafi الآنسه حنفى ), In this scene comedian Ismail Yassin and Riyad al Qasabgi are enjoying a night out in a nightclub prior to Hanafi’s wedding.
Ismail Yassin plays the chauvinistic Hanafi who lives with his father (Abdel Fatah Al Kasri ), stepmother (the wonderful Zeinat Sedki) and cousin (Magda). His father forces him into a marriage of convenience with his cousin though she already loves someone else (Omar al Hariri). On the wedding night Hanafi complains of abdominal pain so he’s admitted to hospital and mistakenly undergoes a sex change. In this movie comedian Ismail Yassin uses cross dressing decades before Dustin Hoffman’s efforts in ‘Tootsie’.

Bellydance compilation 12

Three clips of bellydancers in Egyptian movies. The first is a scene of a baladi wedding from the 1995 film ‘Baltiyah Bint Bahri’ which starred Salah Nazmi. This is followed by a black and white clip of Nawal El Saghiera (thanks Simozimo). The final clip is of a dancer in a scene from the film ‘Aman ya Dunya’ starring the late Younes Shelaby who’s the man walking into the nightclub.