With official results of the first round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections showing Islamist parties with 65% of votes, it is unlikely that Egyptian society will ever go back to its pre Gamal Abdel Nasser glamour as depicted in Egyptian black & white films where you inevitably have at least one belly dance scene in each. My belly dancer for December is a very young Nadia Gamal (no relation to Samia Gamal) performing at the wedding of the Egyptian Grace Kelly, Mariam Fakhr Eddine, in Resalat Gharam (Love Letter – released in 1954). A year before she had met Shammii Kapoor while dancing in Sri Lanka and he describes how he fell in love with her in the charming clip below. I am not surprised he was so taken by her. Her body is gorgeous and she moves it very seductively, and elegantly. Shame the clip is so short!

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There is an Arabic word that my sisters and I loved using when I lived in Beirut, mulazlazeh meaning plump but with a faintly vulgar connotation. And when I found this Turkish dancer on youtube, I immediately thought “wow, she really is mulazlazeh!”. Perhaps even more than a little more than plump, I would say verging on being fat , at least by today’s standards. I don’t thinks she is such a great dancer but I like her all the same and just the opening sequence of her being unrolled onto the stage made me want to adopt her as my belly dancer of the month. I love how her plump hips shake and how her fixed smile changes into a rather sexy expression as she languidly lifts her hair, almost as if she was daring her male audience to come up and touch her. I know that I would have wanted to grab those hips if I had been there just to feel the wobbly flesh! Her name is Negiz Mogol and the clip is from 1954.



Time for a little lighthearted entertainment and this month I am bringing you Marilyn Monroe as a belly dancer. Well, she is not quite Marilyn Monroe but a Turkish dancer who is trying very hard to look like her. Somehow, I don’t think of Turkey in my search for belly dancers but from what I have seen on youtube, they have pretty good ones. This clip is from 1959 and Sema, the dancer, is great and very pretty but I am rather disturbed by the strip of black tulle (or whatever the fabric is) positioned in the middle of her lower belly. Every now and then, it makes her lovely movements look quite indecent and I think the older man wiping his brow is probably thinking the same! Still, she is a great discovery and I hope you will enjoy her as much as I did.



Here we go again, another month and another belly dancer. This time I am taking you to Iran, before the Islamic revolution when Iranians were able to enjoy life without restrictions and when they made fun films and not films where nothing happens for two hours. Of course, I am exaggerating and not being entirely serious but I nearly died of boredom watching Kiarostami‘s A Taste of Cherry. And I like bleak films and remember spending 7 hours (in two sittings!) engrossed in a Roumanian film (I think) set in a rainy village with the saddest characters ever. Sadly, I can’t remember the name. Anyhow, this month’s dancer is not as good as my previous ones but I love the absurdity of the scene, and I love how she lets her breasts have a life of their own. I also love the arrival of the children to an entertainment that is not quite suitable, at least not when she is jiggling her attributes!

Ps. Just had a comment from a lovely Norwegian blogger telling me the title of my never ending Eastern European film, Sátántangó. It is Hungarian and not Roumanian and it may go on forever but it is brilliant; and the opening scene, with the papers blowing in the wind, is beautiful.