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.

Samiha Tawfik (1954) توفيق سميحة

This is a scene from the Egyptian film ‘Tahia al Rijjala’ (Long Live Men تحيا الرجالة) and the dancer is Samiha Tawfik. The film was released in 1954 and starred Karem Mahmoud, Sherifa Maher, Abdul Salem al Nabulsi and Zeinat Sedki.
Born in 1928, Samiha Tawfik had a long career as both an actress and an on-screen dancer.  Her brother, El Toukhy Tawfiq, was also a well known film actor and fight scene arranger. They both started their careers working in a circus with their father. Samiha Tawfik retired from show business in 1987 and passed away in 2010.
Trivia: Lebanese dancer Gawaher also performs in the same film.

Nagwa Fouad نجوى فؤاد‎ Melaya Leff

So ‘over the top’ its down the other side 🙂 This scene features Egyptian bellydance legend Nagwa Fouad and is from the film ‘Al Mesbah al Sahar’ (The Magic Lamp, also called Mirrors) which starred Younes Shalaby.

Samar Anwar (1990)

A melaya/assaya scene from the 1990 Egyptian film ‘Aqtol Meraty Wa Laka Tahiaty’  (Kill my wife and I will salute you أقتل زوجتي مع تحيات) featuring Samar Anwar and Samir Sabri.  The film tells the story of Magdi and Mona played by Sabri and Anwar who kidnap a rich woman and demand a ransom from her husband or they’ll kill her. They plan to use the ransom to start a show band (hence the musical numbers) but they don’t realise that her husband wants his wife dead so he can inherit her fortune. The film also starred Sanaa Younis as the kidnapped wife, Samir Ghanem as her husband and Ashraf Abdul Baqi.