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.

Shweiker (1970) شويكار

This is Egyptian singer/dancer/actress Shweiker dancing in a ‘film within a film’ scene from the 1970 Egyptian film ‘Saffah al Nisa’. In Arabic the film title is سفاح النساء which means ‘a serial killer of women’. A local friend tells me that the word ‘saffah’ has changed its meaning in Arabic over the centuries and now holds negative connotations. The film title in English could be something like ‘The Ladykiller’?
The film stars Shweiker as Sawsan and her then husband Fuad al Mohandes as Mohsen.  Also starring are Mohamed Reda, Tawfik al Deqn and Hassan Zayed . In this scene FaM is the drummer on the end of the row wearing dark glasses and a knitted beanie.
How to pronounce her name? Many here say it as ‘shoe – week- r’.

Shwiker شويكار (1970) and Ruaeda Allam رويدا علام

Bellydance from the 1970 film ‘Inta illi qatalt babaya’ (You’re the one who killed my father انت اللى قتلت بابايا ). This scene starts with Wedad Hamdy in a dark dress, then Showaiker in a blonde wig who’s the bellydancer in some of these scenes. The dancer in the dark galabeya with a light hipscarf is Rueda Allam.
Shwiker starred in the film along with her then husband Fouad al Mohandes who’s the photographer in the early scene wearing a dark wig. The dancing horses are in the scene beginning at 6:35.

Shweiker (1967) شويكار

Shweiker dances in a scene from the 1967 Egyptian comedy ‘Agazet Gharem’ (أجازة غرام). It turns out to be only in the imagination of her husband who dances with her played by Egyptian comedy actor Fuad al Mohandes. al Mohandes was Shweiker’s husband in real life at the time.
The film tells the story of Magdi and Leila played by al Mohandes and Shweiker. Leila is a doctor with a demanding obstetric practice, she’s working long hours and Magdi feels neglected. Living next door are Elham and Sabri played by Nagwa Fouad and Salaah Nazmy. Sabri is often travelling, including on Elham’s birthday, and as a result she feels neglected. Long story short, there are unexpected returns, chases, disguises, cross dressing, disclosures and finally a happen ending. Also starring were Hussein Ismail, Ragaa Sadek, Samia Mohsen and Naima Wasfi.