Well, it is that time of the month again and very timely too given all that is going on in Egypt. I should really be featuring Tahiya who was very engaged politically but I had a picture of her and Farid in my previous post, so, am going with the other great dancer of that time, Samia Gamal, in a very early film where you also get some of the film action (sorry if you are not an Arabic speaker) and a divine dance with the camera focusing on her beautiful midriff to start then panning to her shadow then finally on her and the motley drooling men watching her. One of my favourite clips of hers. I need to find the film (Agaza fi Gahanam, 1949) and show it at Koshari Street. Very soon we will have screens in there to show classic black & white Egyptian films and street food scenes from around the world!


I have to finish the year with my favourite belly dancer, Tahiya Carioca. She is beautiful. Her movement is perfect and she is never vulgar which is quite an achievement for a belly dancer. I read somewhere that she never looked at her audience which could be why she is not given how suggestive the movements are. Another reason why I love Tahiya is that she was clever, witty and very engaged politically; and she let herself grow old gracefully without pretending that she wasn’t and resorting to plastic surgery. Or perhaps there wasn’t much plastic surgery in her time. In any case, she was a remarkable woman who also married 14 times!



It’s this time of the month again when I bring you my belly dancer of the moment. Last month, I strayed from the golden era dancers to feature a contemporary belly dancer who happens to be my ‘cousin‘. But I am going back in time again to introduce you to Houriya Mohamed who taught Tahiya Carioca, my favourite belly dancer, how to dance before starting to resent her for stealing the limelight from her. Houriya is nowhere near as pretty nor as sexy as Tahiya but she dances beautifully and I love the mise en scene from the opening scene of the lady en silhouette reading the dancer’s coffee cup to the supporting belly dancers emerging from oversized coffee cups. I also like the lyrics which only those of you who speak Arabic will understand. The clip is from a 1949 film, Fatima wa Marika wa Rachel, about a man who falls in love with three women, each of a different religion!


This month’s belly dancer is almost as vulgar as last month’s, especially when she sticks her tongue out and Rushdi Abbaza (who married 5 times including the two greatest Egyptian dancers, Tahiya Carioca & Samia Gamal, also Sabah before she became scary!) tries to take it to put in his mouth. Yuk. Anyhow, the clip is of a very young Nagwa Fouad (before she started to look like a transvestite) dancing rather well I have to say, and being quite progressive in her movements. I particularly like how the cardboard figures of musicians and supporting dancers become animated every now and then. Perfect entertainment for a cold, wintery Sunday!