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.

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.

Nagwa Fouad فؤاد نجوى

This clip of Nagwa Fouad is such a ‘golden oldie’ that I’d forgotten I even had it! The clip itself is not great quality but that’s all we had back in the day and as with many of my older clips, its been converted from a VHS tape to mpg format. I’ve cut out the worst of the colour changes and the picture rolling.
The clip starts with the backing dancers performing a fellaheen piece and then Nagwa Fouad performs in a green and purple outfit.

Nabaweya Mustafa (1947) نبوية مصطفى

Nabaweya Mustafa is the dancer in this scene from the 1947 Egyptian film ‘Ana albi dalili’ (My Heart is My Guide قلبي دليلي). The film starred Anwar Wajdi, the man in the overalls and Leila Mourad who’s the girl locked in the basement with the villain of the film, Stefan Rosti. The singer is Mahmoud Abdel Aziz aka Abdel Aziz Mahmoud (عبدالعزيز محمود).
Trivia 1: In the film there’s a scene set at a masked ball where three masked thieves (who are disguised as three masked thieves) mix with the guests. The thieves are played by well known Egyptian screen actors Abdelmonem Ismail and Abdel Hamid Zaki along with a very young Farid Shawki.
Trivia 2: The toothless guy who features in the clip is a member of the gang of kidnappers and is played by Riad al Kosabgy (رياض القصبجي).

Horeya Hassan (1951) حورية حسن

Horeya Hassan is the singer/dancer in this scene from the 1951 Egyptian drama ‘Ibn al Nil/e’ (Son of the Nile aka Nile Boy ابن النيل). The film was directed by Youssef Chahine and produced by early female film maker Mary Queeny. As the scene shifts from the nightclub singer to the village men on the boat the same song is being sung by both groups. Shukry Sarhan plays Hamid, a country boy who dislikes his life as a rural farmer but marries Zubaida who’s a village girl. Hamid decides to leave the village behind and catch the train to Cairo, the big city. There’s an accident, he thinks Zubaida has been killed and he heads to the city alone. There he quickly changes into a ‘city slicker’ and gets involved with a gang based in a nightclub. He’s eventually arrested and after serving his sentence returns to village life a wiser man. On his return to the village he saves his own young son from drowning and he is reunited with Zubaida but that’s another story. This scene is set in the nightclub, Shukry Sarhan is the tearful man and the woman who sits with him at the end is actress/dancer Samiha Tawfik who plays Poussi the club dancer. Also starring were Faten Hamama as Hamid’s village wife Zubaida, Yehia Shaheen as Hamid’s brother and ‘Mr Evil’ Mahmoud al Meliji as Kamal, the gang leader.

Dance from the Silk Road (5)

This is a solo performance by a member of the Bukhorcha Ensemble from Bukhara, Uzbekistan.  The aim of the Bukhorcha Ensemble is to ‘…study and disseminate national classical vocal and instrumental music, dance art, and folkloric melodies and songs…’.
All performances by the ensemble are accompanied by live music using national music instruments including the tanbur, nay, saz, rabab, and oud.

Dances from the Silk Road (4)

This is the Bukhorcha Ensemble performing in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. The aim of the Ensemble which includes dancers, singers and musicians is to study and disseminate national classical vocal and instrumental music, dance art, and folkloric melodies and songs. All performances are accompanied by traditional Uzbeki musical instruments.

Hind Rostom (1958) هند رستم‎

The baladi dancer in this clip is Egyptian actress Hind Rostom (1929-2011) in a scene from the 1958 film ‘Touha’ (توحة). The man on the balcony is Mohsen Sarhan. Also starring were Mohamed Tawfik, Zahrat el Ola in the small role, Mahmoud Ismail and Kadria Kamel.
Nagwa Fouad also dances in this movie and the clip of her performance is also on TheCaroVan@Vimeo.

Lebleba (1973) لبلبة

Actress/singer/dancer Lebleba dances in a scene from the 1973 film ‘Zawaj Bil Ikrah’ (Marriage By Force زواج بالاكراه ). The film also starred Nour el Sherif, Suheir Ramzi and Syrian born actor Rafik Subaie.
Born in Egypt, Lebleba’s real name is Ninochka Manoug Kupelian. Of Armenian heritage, she’s related to child actress Fayrouz Arteen.