I am in the land of belly dancing, for a whole month! So, I hope that this time I will be able to go somewhere to watch one of the country’s famous belly dancers live. Until then, I offer you my choice for this month, a cute vintage belly dancer, Zeinat Olwi, who is not so much sexy as like a 1940’s athlete with a gorgeous muscly body which she moves beautifully. I also love the beginning of the clip en silhouette, both her in three different windows then the musicians, with each tableau looking like a woodcut from the 20’s or 30’s. A delightful scene. And for those who don’t speak Arabic, the woman’s voice you hear halfway through is asking her silly companion to build her a swimming pool which he should fill with champagne rather than water. Perhaps I should consider doing this in Sicily although I am not sure who I would do it for! Oh, and the beautiful lady who makes a worried entrance at the end is one of Egypt’s greatest actresses, Faten Hamama, who was once married to Omar Sharif.
Last month I forgot to post a belly dancer. Too much travel and work but here is my choice for this month, a very young Tahiya Carioca who as you you may know is my all time favourite. It is a rare clip from a 1936 film called The Police Station (I think it is the right translation for Khafar al-Darak) where she must have just featured as a dancer as the first film mentioned in her Wikipedia entry dates from 1942. And even if she is already moving beautifully, you can see from her expression if nothing else that she is not yet an experienced dancer. Still, she is totally lovely and definitely worth watching whether you are a Tahiya fan or not!
I am a little late with my belly dancer this month. Must have been my Panama trip. Anyhow, my choice for this month is very sober and somewhat diluted by a singer, Huriyah Hassan, who seems to have the starring role, at least in this clip. I am not sure who the belly dancer is. I think it is Shadia. My mother would have know but sadly she is not by my side. Perhaps one of you will confirm it is her. I chose the clip because of the characters and the storyline. I love Huriyah who sings about her love for her neighbour downstairs, her decadent mother smoking the shisha surrounded by her friends or possibly family, the neighbours on the balconies, some of whom spring into dance when the music heats up, the lovely Shadia (if it is her) dancing beautifully and soberly and the drumming friend in pyjamas who is the cook in this hilarious clip which I posted last year. All in all a delightful scene even if not entirely devoted to belly dance. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and happy new year!
Last month I nearly forgot to post my belly dancer. Not this month when after watching a few I decided on Hermeen. She is a little plump but very enticing. In fact adorable, both her looks and the way she moves. An added bonus is the marvellous setting and lovely camera work. The clip is from the 1956 film Neda el-Hobb (The Call of Love) and the song she is dancing to is called Zahret el Rabi’ (The Rose of Spring). I love the opening sequence with the camera focusing on her beautiful hands before panning to the Qanun, one of my favourite instruments — as an aside Julien Jalal el-Din and the Kindi ensemble are coming to Rich Mix, so, go if you can. He is a marvellous musician and a fascinating man. Anyhow, back to delightful Hermeen, my favourite moment is when the cameraman films the water with the musicians and Hermeen reflected in it rather than focusing on them and because the water is very still, the action is dreamy but real enough and quite beautiful. I also like how she seems to glide on the edge of the pool. All in all a delightful sequence with a gorgeous belly dancer that should brighten up this sad autumn day!