Here we go again, belly dance time. This month I hesitated between a seriously vintage one and Kitty, one of my favourites. Then I settled on Kitty. I just love how she is shamelessly seductive with the singer without being vulgar. No mean feat for a belly dancer. I am definitely hiring one for my next party, hoping I find a dancer who is as cute and as well shaped as Kitty! Anyone who knows of such a belly dance treasure in London please give me a shout.
I have finally found a contemporary belly dancer I like. And guess what? She may be a cousin. Her name is Saida Helou and she is originally Syrian. I don’t think there are many Syrian Helous who are not from Mashta el-Helou. If her father is from there, then she is definitely a cousin albeit with better dancing genes. I have no sense of rythm and she has plenty. I love her sinuous movements, and her body although I can’t quite decide if the upper part is enhanced or beautifully natural. Anyhow, she lives in Buenos Aires where she performs and teaches belly dancing. I wish I’d known about her before going to Mendoza. I would have stopped over to meet her and perhaps even take a class or two with her. Not that it would have done me any good!
This month’s belly dancer is very elegant for a change, and as a result perhaps a little boring. She is beautiful though, and her movement very graceful even if it lacks a little fire. And I also love the set which is actually one of King Farouk‘s palaces — the film from which the clip is taken is about the events that led to the king’s deposition. As for the dancer, she is Amira Amer, the daughter of Aziza Amer who was one of the stars of early Egyptian cinema, appearing in the first silent Egyptian film, Leyla. Amira on the other hand didn’t have a long or successful career. She appeared in only 9 films and doesn’t even have a wikipedia entry. Perhaps I should remedy this. She is very lovely!
I thought I had been doing my belly dancer of the month for almost a year and I was going to pick my anniversary one. But going through past posts, I realise it has been well over a year now. Too bad. It will have to wait until the two-year mark. Anyhow, here is my choice to brighten up your October: the lovely Na’ima ‘Akef, who looks like Barbara Stanwyck. No bad thing for Hollywood on the Nile which is what Egyptian cinema was at the time. The films were often an Arab version of Hollywood ones, complete with musical numbers, high melodrama or whatever. Occasionally, it was a two-way thing as you can see from this silly trailer for Beau Geste where belly dancers are wriggling their hips on Sunset Boulevard — love the cars! But the Hollywood dancers don’t hold a candle to the gorgeous Na’ima who moves so much better and who avoids being vulgar despite her provocative closeness to the musicians. She also avoids the silly expression of so many other dancers and her smile seems genuine. My only reservation is her belly which sticks out a little too much. I have been accused on twitter recently of being fat phobic. Perhaps I am. I would have preferred her to be a few kilos lighter. Not too many though. She needs some flesh on her to enhance those mesmerizing hip shakes!