Nabaweya Mustafa (shamadan)

In this scene from the 1944 Egyptian film ‘Ibnati’ (My Daughter ابنتى ) the dancer is Nabaweya Mustafa and for the first part of her performance she balances a shamadan (candelabra) on her head.
The film starred Aziza Amir, Amira Amir and Mahmoud Zulfikar and was a drama about two babies that were swapped at birth.


A shamadan (candelabra) performance. This clip is from an old VHS tape that’s been copied so many times that by the time I bought a copy the colour was completely gone leaving only black and white but I believe the dancer was wearing blue. Still, for us dancers, its invaluable as a archive piece. If anyone can ID the dancer I’d be very grateful too.

Shamadan (1978)

A shamadan dancer from the 1978 film ‘Sultana al Tarab’ (سلطانة الطرب ). The film tells the story of the rise to fame of Egyptian singer Munira el Mahdeya. Sharifa Fadl plays el Mahdeya and also starring are Farid Shawki, Nahed Jaber, Samir Sabri, Badria Abdel Gawad and Leila Fawzi. Despite starting her career singing and dancing in local coffee houses, Munira El Mahdeya went on to be considered the greatest female Egyptian singer prior to Umm Kolthum. Her style of singing was referred to as ‘Ottoman’, the Turks having been in control of Egypt for 300 years up to the 1880s. She initially appeared on stage only in male roles as at that time in Egypt female acting roles were taken by Christian or Jewish actresses or as a last resort by male actors.